Harvey Weinstein has returned to Hollywood through a new outdoor installation that is raising eyebrows around town.
Ahead of the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, Calif. this Sunday, a golden statue of the industry pariah has emerged not far from the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center, where the Academy Awards will be held. Located on Hollywood and La Brea, the statue depicts Weinstein sitting on a casting couch in a bathrobe, while holding a phallic Oscar statuette near his crotch and inviting pedestrians to sit next to him.
L.A.-based street artist Plastic Jesus has previously tackled the seedy underbelly of the entertainment world through past installations, like the crucifixion of Kanye West and the Oscars statue snorting cocaine. His latest work with Joshua “Ginger” Monroe is no different.
A multitude of women in Hollywood had come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and sexual assault, spanning decades. Weinstein, who has sought treatment at an Arizona facility, has repeatedly denied any instance of nonconsensual sex, but the claims helped spark the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
“Whilst many thought the ‘casting couch’ was a thing of the past it was clearly still a part of the Hollywood culture,” Plastic Jesus wrote in a statement on Instagram. “For many years the exploitation of many hopefuls and established names in the industry was brushed under the carpet with their complaints of harassment and sexual abuse being ignore or worse. Hopefully now in the light of recent allegations, against many leading figures in Hollywood the industry will clean up it’s act.”
Plastic Jesus and Monroe built the Weinstein statue over a two-month period, aided by donations from numerous individuals. The pair shared behind-the-scenes photos, as well, of the preparation process.
This marks the second piece of anarchist artwork to show up in Hollywood in advance of the Oscars.
Inspired by the awards contender Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, street artist Sabo and his team took over three billboards in the area this week to address sexual abuse and misconduct in the industry.
As Sabo explained to EW, “My ultimate goal for these billboards is that maybe I might break the actors’ façade during the [Oscars] show because I know that if they had it their way, they would act as if nothing was going on and nothing happened, and they would have their show and be done with it.”
It remains to be seen, of course, how those taking the stage on Oscars night will (or won’t) address the dark cloud hanging over Hollywood.