Artists made a public statue of Harvey Weinstein as a statement against harassment ahead of the Oscars

Days before the 2018 Oscars, there was a different kind of gold statue sitting on a red carpet near L.A.’s Dolby Theatre. It was Harvey Weinstein, or a gold approximation of him, wrapped in a gaping silk bathrobe, seated on a couch, and clutching an Oscar trophy.

The striking installation, entitled “Casting Couch,” showed up on Hollywood Boulevard on Thursday, March 1st, and the artists behind it say they wanted to keep a light shining on the industry’s “underbelly of darkness,” particularly as moviemakers celebrate one of their biggest nights of the year.

Hollywood’s simmering sexual misconduct issue reached a boiling point several months ago, when a flood of allegations against megaproducer Harvey Weinstein first hit the news. Since those truth gates burst open, allegations of misconduct have surfaced against powerful men in a variety of industries and colored conversations and events from courtrooms to the Golden Globes.

According to ABC News, “Casting Couch,” a reference to some moviemakers casting roles in return for sexual favors, is the work of Los Angeles street artist Plastic Jesus and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, the guy known for the spate of naked Donald Trump statues that popped up around the country in 2016.

"There's so much about Hollywood that's great and celebrated in the Oscars," Plastic Jesus told ABC. "But there's also this underbelly of darkness within the industry that we often sweep under the carpet or ignore."

It’s unlikely the topic will be ignored at the Oscars ceremony itself.

After the Golden Globes’ sea of black gowns in support of the #TimesUp initiative and the white roses and heartfelt performances at the Grammys, the #MeToo movement is sure to come up at the Oscars. Multiple news outlets reported this week that host Jimmy Kimmel wouldn’t be discussing #MeToo at the show, but it was later clarified that yes, he would (as he should).

Down the street, the statue understandably got people talking, too. Online, some applauded the piece as provocative, while others complained it was in poor taste and giving Weinstein needless attention.

It sounds like stars won’t actually be walking by “Casting Couch” when they arrive to Sunday night’s event. And at least one reporter posted that the piece had already been taken down. We have a feeling that won’t stop people from talking about its timely message.

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