In the wake of the horrific allegations against Harvey Weinstein, it seems like each day brings new stories about sexual misconduct by some of the most powerful executives and actors in Hollywood. So when a story surfaces about a man in Hollywood doing the right thing in a situation that could have gone very wrong, it stands out. Such is the case with an account about David Schwimmer now being shared.
Film critic and corporate finance expert Nell Minow opened up to James Warren of Poynter.org about a particularly memorable non-incident she had with the 50-year-old actor and producer.
It happened in 2011, at the Phoenix Hotel in Washington, D.C., where Minow was asked to meet Schwimmer to discuss his film Trust.
Tragically, this set up sounds all too familiar — a woman asked to meet a powerful Hollywood man at a hotel under the guise of business. The subject matter of the film spoke to the topic of predatory behavior, too. Reportedly based on the real-life story of someone Schwimmer knew personally, Trust chronicled the account of a young girl who fell victim to an online abuser.
When Minow arrived for the meeting in the hotel's first floor restaurant, all seemed well enough. But when the hustle, bustle and chatter of the crowd started to hinder their interview, Schwimmer cautiously suggested they could move the interview up to his room.
Minow explained to Poynter that she didn't feel threatened at the time, but what Schwimmer did next solidified her peace of mind — he asked if she would like a third person in the room for the interview. According to Minow, the actor offered this up voluntarily and without hesitation.
"I haven't thought of that since it happened, but the Weinstein stories made me not just remember it but remember it in an entirely different context as an indicator of the prevalence of predatory behavior and as an indicator of Schwimmer's integrity and sensitivity," she said.
"This wasn't just about his being a good guy who would not have tried anything," Minow continued. "He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe."
Ultimately, Minow and Schwimmer did move up to his room and the interview went off without a hitch. In hindsight, though, Minow understands that it could have been a very different story had she been meeting with one of the Harvey Weinsteins of the entertainment world.
It goes without saying that women shouldn't have to applaud men simply for not sexually harassing or assaulting women. Still, it's important to lift up stories about the good guys like Schwimmer to prove there is some hope for Hollywood after all.
Thanks for being such a stand-up human being, Schwimmer.