The rapid descent of media mogul Harvey Weinstein from star maker to accused rapist incognito has the entertainment industry reeling as empowered victims continue to dominate the news media with accusations against the elite.
Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, and even 93-year-old former President George H W Bush have been accused of sexual misconduct. And the consequences? A variety of punishments meted; the ex-president apologized for what he did not remember, while Kevin Spacey, who also claimed memory loss, was immediately removed from award-winning Netflix drama, House of Cards.
Hoffman deflected like a pro, claiming, “anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”
Dustin must have gotten right with his maker since his television production of Death of a Salesman. Anna Graham Hunter was a 17-year-old intern on his set, and unfortunately for Hoffman, kept a detailed daily diary of his inappropriate and heavily sexualized conversations with the young girl.
The catalog of A-listers accused of sexual abuse is becoming unwieldy; Ben Affleck, Andy Dick (that’s an unfortunate name), and Jeremy Piven join a cast of characters that Harvey Weinstein’s blatant and criminal behavior gave credence to (you can view the growing list here). If he can commit atrocities against women, I can too. It’s a pervasive and diabolical culture that has been encouraged and protected like a favorite child since Hollywood was conceived. And all of this for the love of money and fame.
The avalanche of outrage from Hollywood Insiders has been both in support of victims and of their accused. The #MeToo campaign, initiated by actress Alyssa Milano, has taken social media by storm:
With her #MeToo campaign, actor Alyssa Milano launched a movement, encouraging survivors of sexual assault and abuse to come forward. “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” she tweeted.
Her goal, she says, was to get the numbers to a point where people couldn’t ignore it anymore. “I wanted to take the focus off the predator and put it back on the victim,” she says. “We’ve been hearing a lot about those who caused this kind of hurt and heartache and not enough about the victims who have to overcome and heal. I feel like to be able to do that; you have to know you’re part of a community that can support and stand beside you. This is a community that is very large.”
And then we have Woody Allen, a man who married his adopted daughter:
“Woody Allen served as the imperfect messenger for those cautioning against what he termed a “witch hunt.” His warning was in line with the thinking of some executives, who said they were wary of false accusations getting easy play on social media.”
Imperfect, indeed. But the message cautions that passionate accusations may need to be tempered with facts—or at least criminal cases being brought by victims through law enforcement.
Alec Baldwin jumped into the fire with his insensitive interview on PBS News Hour where he claimed that “everyone in Hollywood had heard the rumor” that Rose McGowan was raped by Weinstein. It had been on the gossip circuit for years.
“And, last but not least, you heard the rumor that he raped Rose McGowan. You heard that over and over. We have heard that for decades, and nothing was done.”
If he had just stopped there, maybe he would not have been run out of Twitter Town on a rail. But Baldwin loves the sound of his own voice and added, “It was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case.” And he essentially blamed the victim for justice not served. The backlash was deafening, and Baldwin slunk off to lick his self -inflicted wounds.
Meanwhile, Back in the Real World
Hollywood is rattled with the fall of their Emperor, Weinstein, who fled Hollywood to the serene Sonoran Desert for much-needed sexual deviant rehab. Although seeing as he has taken in a few tony places in Phoenix, namely Chestnut Fine Food & Provisions, in disguise; rehab might be code for vacation. Restaurant staff claim he was wearing a blond wig, orange makeup, and baseball cap. One can only speculate the reason for that getup.
What has always been an insiders culture of pay to play, or star, so to speak, has been exposed. It is with a great amount of hope that America witnesses a change in the lack of morality and responsibility to one of a lawful, and legitimate nature. But only time will tell if Hollywood’s self-introspection and seeming unacceptance of casting couch crimes will prevail. As musical artist Richard Marx wrote at the tender age of 22 regarding his experience with the LA scene:
“But the party is never over
Cause stars are always shining
Doesn’t matter if it’s day or night.”