On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a bombshell report about Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul, detailing repeated incidents of sexual harassment and assault. Wynn denied the allegations. In one alleged incident he forced a manicurist to have sex with him and later paid the woman a $7.5 million settlement. It was, according the Wall Street Journal, part of a pattern:
[D]ozens of people The Wall Street Journal interviewed who have worked at Mr. Wynn’s casinos told of behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn. Some described him pressuring employees to perform sex acts.
The article describes Wynn exposing himself and demanding sex acts from masseuses who worked at his casinos, which have billions of dollars in annual revenue.
Wynn is also a close friend of Donald Trump, who also has denied allegations that he sexually assaulted at least 14 women. After Trump’s election, Wynn was installed as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
“I look forward to helping President Trump and his Administration make America greater again for the people who work hard every day,” Wynn said in a statement.
This is where things get particularly awkward.
This fall, the New York Times and the New Yorker exposed decades of horrific sexual assault by Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein. The Republican Party seized on these revelations, demanding that all the money Harvey Weinstein donated to Democrats be returned.
The Weinstein scandal put Hollywood’s hypocrisy in broad daylight. RT if you agree the DNC should return his donations.
— GOP (@GOP) October 9, 2017
Still no word from DNC on returning all of Harvey Weinstein's donations…
— GOP (@GOP) October 10, 2017
Democrats: put your money where your mouth is. Return all the Weinstein money. pic.twitter.com/3uQN0dm76A
— GOP (@GOP) October 11, 2017
Some Hill Democrats have given back their dirty Weinstein cash, but the DNC is still holding onto its $246,000… pic.twitter.com/fpLD7eouL1
— GOP (@GOP) October 6, 2017
— GOP (@GOP) October 6, 2017
Dear DNC, every Democrat has returned the Weinstein money, why won’t you? pic.twitter.com/bS9B1ontkX
— GOP (@GOP) October 19, 2017
Democrats, under pressure from all sides, ultimately did return much of the money they received from Weinstein.
Just six days ago, Wynn hosted an enormous fundraiser for Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Tickets for the event, which was expected to raise millions, started at $100,000. (Trump was unable to attend due to the government shutdown, but sent a video address.)
The conduct Wynn is accused of has striking similarities with Weinstein. Wynn, like Weinstein, reportedly lured women to be alone with him with a professional pretext and then pressured or forced them into sex.
Will Trump return the money raised at Mar-a-Lago? Will Trump return the $729,217 Wynn donated to Trump’s inauguration? Will Wynn remain the finance chair of the Republican National Committee?
Since 2012, Wynn has also given $2.5 million to the Republican Governors Association, $411,000 to the National Republican Senate Committee, $248,000 to the Republican National Committee and $100,000 to the National Republican Campaign Committee.
Weinstein, while an important contributor to Democrats, did not hold an high-ranking position with the Democratic Party. The Republican Party created a clear standard in response to Weinstein’s conduct. Now it’s time to see if they will live up to it.
UPDATE: The Wisconsin GOP told Politico it would donate Wynn’s $10,000 donation to “organizations that help victims of sexual harassment and abuse.” There has been no comment from any of the national Republican political committees.