Wednesday, November 15, 2017

EDITORIAL: Has Hollywood Gone Too Far???

What do you think of when you hear the word "Hollywood"? Fancy dinners, powerful people, influence, wealth, beautiful women... the list goes on and on. Hollywood's been in the news recently and the reasons are despicable. There have always been whispers of sexual harassment in Hollywood. Some say, "What's the big deal"? because sexual harassment has always existed and not just in Hollywood.

However, more light has been shed on the issue of sexual harassment in Hollywood due to recent scandals, including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, and many more. Some readers may not be familiar with some of these people, particularly Weinstein and Ratner, but they've definitely heard of the movies they've produced.

Actresses have been speaking out about sexual misconduct since the '40's, but its only recently that people have begun to listen. In an interview with Mirror, legendary actress Maureen O'Hara said that she was labeled "a cold potato without sex appeal," because she refused to accept Hollywood's culture of sexual harassment.

Weinstein's been accused of sexual misconduct by several actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Ashley Judd. These women are well-known actresses and are definitely not hurting for money, they have nothing to gain by lying about his sexual misconduct, and I absolutely believe them.

Of course, I was saddened and disturbed by the number of women who accused him of sexual misconduct. However, when actor Anthony Rapp came out and said that Kevin Spacey had forced himself on him when he was only 14 years old, my heart broke. Spacey is so talented and I worked on House of Cards as an extra. He was accommodating and not the least bit egotistical. But, his apology to Rapp was patronizing. He claims to have been drunk and doesn't recall the incident. No amount of alcohol excuses the sexual assault of a child. Spacey even went as far as to use these allegations as an opportunity to come out as gay. His apology was an insult to the entire homosexual community.

Actors are humans just like us, just with more money and power.  But, their celebrity doesn't give them the right to exploit others for sexual gratification, or any other reason for that matter. Sexual indiscretions have always existed in Hollywood; its just being revealed because victims are finding the strength to come out with their stories. I found it hilariously ironic that Woody Allen came to Weinstein's defense. Allen married his adopted daughter and is known to make films about older men having relationships with underage girls.

After the Weinstein scandal made headlines, more actors were accused of sexual assault including Dustin Hoffman and Danny Masterson. I find this trend disturbing and dangerous. It's disorienting for me to hear that actors I've enjoyed watching onscreen are possibly committing sexual assault.

Actors aren't the only ones who've been accused of sexual misconduct.  Producer and director Bryan Singer has been accused of molesting young boys; which I find highly disturbing. Five women accused well-known comedian Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, according to the New York Times. He ended up releasing a written statement that the accusations were true. FX Productions, who have worked with Louis C.K. and his publicist have cut all ties with him.

There have been murmurings of powerful men in Hollywood molesting young child actors for a while as well. I first learned about this after Corey Feldman said he was molested in the '80s. He's working on a film that will expose an alleged pedophile ring in Hollywood. The public's been in the dark about what goes on in Hollywood behind closed doors, and I believe Feldman's film will definitely help to expose the truth.

I also read an interview in Vanity Fair where Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair told their own stories of sexual harassment by writer-director James Toback, known for films like Bugsy and The Pick-Up Artist. Both women were at the beginning of their acting careers and reluctant to say anything. I don't blame them. They are the victims, not Toback. According to the New York Times, more than 200 women have come forward accusing Toback of sexual misconduct.

Sexual harassment and misconduct isn't just a problem in Hollywood and women are not the only victims. As a society, we are at a crossroads and hopefully, something good will come from all this darkness.  This type of behavior gets overlooked or pushed aside so much. Growing up, I thought this type of behavior was normal. People with power dominated people with none and that was just the way it was. For this type of behavior to end, there needs to be communication between men and women. Be honest with your partner about what makes you uncomfortable. If something makes uncomfortable, please speak up. If the other person ignores you or belittles you because of it, then they are not for you. You deserve better. We all deserve better.

As a victim of rape and molestation, I empathize with these people coming forward. I remember feeling powerless and scared that no one would believe me. We need to take back our power and not let this happen to future generations. Is it possible for this behavior to be stopped? I honestly don't know.

I'm proud of all the victims who've told their stories. Hopefully, this will encourage others to come forward and their abusers will be punished for their actions.

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