Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Join us each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinsel Town’s A-listers and their wacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
J.K. Rowling Spreading Transphobia
J.K. Rowling’s newest book, Troubled Blood, is garnering scathing reviews for promoting transphobia. The fifth installment in the Cormoran Strike series, written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, centers on the cold case of a woman who disappeared in 1974 and is suspected of being one of the victims of a transvestite serial killer, Dennis Creed. “One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress,” criticized The Telegraph in a review. The negative write-up started a new hashtag wave of #RIPJKRowling.
Vanity Fair said Rowling is “expressing her transphobic opinions” on social media and her website and “now appears to be bringing her TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) logic to a bookshelf near you … ” The publication also pointed out that this isn’t the first time the writer has delved into transphobia. The Silkworm, it said, has a female character, Pippa, stalking detective Strike and then trying to stab him. Strike thwarts that attempt, “revealing her identity as a trans woman, with Rowling adding in a description of her Adam’s apple and hands.”
That’s a bit of a petty complaint considering a writer’s job is to paint a picture with words, and describing the way a character looks, whether bald or with an Adam’s apple, hardly screams transphobia. As for the rest of the book, that will be up to Rowling’s fans to decide.
Cuties or Child Exploitation? Conservatives Incite Panic, According to Writer
By now you must have heard about the Netflix-streamed movie Cuties in which an 11-year-old Muslim girl rebels against the constraints of her conservative family and joins a girl dance group. Not just any kind of dance, though. No, these pre-teen adolescents are twerking, gyrating, and displaying inappropriate behavior (unless you’re a stripper of legal age), all while the cameras zoom in on their bottoms and suggestive moves. The film has received a lot of backlash, and rightly so, but somehow a Rolling Stone writer wrote a piece blaming conservatives for causing hysteria and being too sensitive.
“How ‘Cuties’ Is Fueling the Far Right’s Obsession With Pedophilia,” written by EJ Dickson, has the accusatory subtitle: “The fight against sex trafficking has become politicized, and the misplaced outrage could be protecting actual child predators.” The writer criticizes Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for calling for an investigation of Netflix for the obscene film and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) for her tweet that the film “will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles and help fuel the child sex-trafficking trade.” Dickson turned the responses to the movie into an us-or-them scenario, saying:
“In the hands of the film’s detractors, the discourse surrounding Cuties morphed from that of a complex film addressing faith, race, and sexuality, to a war between two opposing groups, one with obvious moral leverage over the other: those who support child sexual exploitation, and those who do not.”
“Sexuality” should not be associated with 11-year-old girls, and normalizing stripper moves sends a dangerous message, exploits children, and exposes them to sexual predators. Those on the left who embrace Dickson’s views seem to be blinded by the hate-the-conservatives campaign and can’t see what this kind of movie promotes.
“Accusing leftists of pedophilia has become the latest rhetorical cudgel among those on the far right,” Dickson wrote. You don’t have to be far right, or even a conservative, to see what’s wrong with Cuties. Instead of understanding the dangers of this film, the left seems to condemn its critics as small-minded Puritans.
Director Maïmouna Doucouré defended the movie, saying it was “feminist” and was meant to bring awareness about sexualization of children – in a film that visually sexualizes them, of course. “It’s bold, it’s feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents. It’s a real issue,” she said.
Exploiting children, in other words, to raise awareness of exploiting children.
The Rolling Stone writer wasn’t finished, making the gigantic leap of comparing conservatives’ disgust over Cuties with “satanic panic” — a moral hysteria about alleged widespread satanic ritual abuse, particularly in the 1980s. First, Dickson called out Newsweek for writing about the movie with a statement from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which Dickson claimed was done “without noting the organization’s roots as a religious right-wing group.” She went on to say that “one of the major differences between the Satanic panic and the current age of hysteria is that pedophilia allegations are being utilized in a hyper-specific and politicized way” and that “pedophilia allegations are a fairly common tactic used to discredit political enemies of the Putin regime in Russia.”
Leave it to the left to insert a Russian collusion conspiracy into a child exploitation outcry.
Cheers and Jeers
Sometimes, HollyWeird players make headlines for silly or bizarre happenings, so here is a collection of newsworthy doings — honorable and dishonorable — by the tenants of Tinsel Town.
Kevin Spacey Sued for Sexual Assault
Two people have filed a lawsuit against actor Kevin Spacey, alleging sexual misconduct and assault and battery. One of the purported victims is anonymous and the other is Anthony Rapp, who played Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets in Star Trek: Discovery.
Rapp said he was 14 when he experienced several instances of inappropriate behavior from the senior actor, such as Spacey reportedly climbing on top of him and trying to perform a sex act in 1986. Rapp also claimed the two had oral sex and intercourse.
“My stomach churns,” Rapp said. “I still to this day can’t wrap my head around so many aspects of it. It’s just deeply confusing to me.”
Spacey said he has no memory of the incidents. “If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” he said.
Tune in next week to see what else Tinsel Town has planned.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.