“Harvey Garbagestein”: Ad-Buried Bravery

“Things got very uncomfortable very fast.”

By: Hayden Gnat and Isabelle Odeh

Harvey Garbagestein, founder of Miramax production company known for making many famous movies such as Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Scream, and The English Patient was found guilty of sexual assault/rape after roughly 80 women bravely came out against him with their accounts of interactions they’ve experienced with Garbagestein. 

True Crime Obsessed recounts the Hulu Documentary, Untouchable, that came out in 2019 and was received with moderate reviews. Watching the documentary ourselves, we found the podcast to simply be a way for the two hosts to ride the coattails of the women who bravely put themselves out to the world for scrutiny after already undergoing an extremely traumatic sexual experience with “Wine-Garbage”. The entire 52 minute episode felt like a masterclass in capitalism. The entire episode was littered with ads and self-promotions for their own Patreon account. It felt like you couldn’t go 5 minutes without hearing an ad for some subscription or mention of their “ad-free” Patreon. This culminated into the creation of an episode that ultimately felt detached from the source material. Untouchable is a brave account of only a few women who have been affected by Garbagestein’s horrid actions from the late 1970s to more recent years.

The podcast covers everything mentioned in the documentary, almost a little too closely; they offer nothing new themselves. Instead they provide personal commentary and tasteless jokes in the name of salaciousness. Even worse, during these ad-filled, salacious commentary moments they interspersed the episode with audio clips from the documentary. This made the podcast episode feel cheap and as if the two hosts were relying heavily on other’s to make their points. They weren’t driving the episode, thinking possibly that the source material would do the work for them.

We debated between ourselves when discussing the success of this episode. As previously stated, we had some issues with the manner in which some of these extremely sensitive subjects were discussed, but at the same time we found that these podcasters were shedding light on a story that focused so heavily on how censorship, NDAs and power dynamics came into question. There is something commendable about spreading one’s own platform to help spread the stories of those who have been affected by someone else’s horrible actions. For instance, one of the major points of conversation in the podcast was the power dynamics between Garbagestein and the women he targeted. They touch on a few key details in the case that really resonated as a first-time viewer of Untouchable. The first major detail is the account of the woman who met with Garbagestein a second time, this time police-wired, after an earlier encounter that led to assault. The second moment was the fight between two reporters at a party for a once famous MTV VJ – “Duffy”. This moment is crucial because it’s a physical altercation that happened in the public, was captured in candid camera and led to one of the greatest evil boss quote ever (“I’m so glad I’m the f*cking sheriff of this sh*t-ass f*cking town”). Seriously, what a perfect quote to fully encompass who Harvey Weinstein was and is. This moment is so crucial also because up until this documentary was aired, no one had ever heard of this event or seen any of the alleged photos from that night. This directly gave a viewer a look into the immense power everyone was talking about when talking about Garbagestein. And while these moments were crucial to the source material, they weren’t for the podcast. Instead they seem like plot points that they are having to hit to move forward in their narrative. Furthermore, they continued to plague the entire episode with more ads. It felt as if the ads were the star of the show were the ad placements, while the actual crimes were merely an accessory.  

In short, the True Crime Obsessed episode: “Untouchable” was a nice attempt at trying to provide a voice to those who’ve previously been silenced, but ultimately fails by trying to shove too many tasteless jokes and ads into the short amount of time. This leads to the two hosts once again muffling the voices of the victims, ultimately burying the braveness that these women had to show to hold Harvey Garbagestein accountable for the atrocities he committed. 

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