What the Smiles Concealed

Posted January 5, 2018 5:24 p.m. EST

PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE JAN. 7, 2018. -- Designer Gabriela Hearst, left, and actress Laura Dern in Hearst’s studio in New York, Dec. 16, 2017. Dern, the star of “Big Little Lies” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” picks out her red carpet looks for awards season with an eye toward raising awareness of the sexual misconduct in Hollywood. (Nina Westervelt/The New York Times)

Red carpet photos conceal as much as they reveal. These are professional actors, after all.

Old photos, from awards seasons and film premieres long past, show victims of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged harassment captured in front of cameras with the man they now call their abuser. In recent months, many of these actresses have said they felt they had no choice but to smile and pose. The photos have become a metaphor for the difficulty of confronting or rejecting powerful men who harass or assault.

“I never showed Harvey how terrified I was of him,” Salma Hayek wrote. “When I saw him socially, I’d smile and try to remember the good things about him, telling myself that I went to war and I won.” (Weinstein has disputed Hayek’s account and denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.)

After The New York Times revealed Weinstein’s long record of harassment allegations, he and his advisers tried to weaponize some of those photos. Lisa Bloom, a high-profile lawyer who cultivated a reputation as an advocate for women, secretly advised the board of The Weinstein Co. to try to discredit the article with “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct.”

Her plan backfired, she resigned as an adviser to Weinstein, and those old photos now feel haunted, a reminder of the manipulation behind the glamour.