Kevin Spacey was recently accused of sexual harassment by an actor who was 14 at the time he says Spacey tried to take advantage of him. With that accusation the list of people who have “come out” about being harassed has increased exponentially. Broken wide open. Exploded.
In my post, “Of Harvey and Harassment” I talked about the ongoing saga of sexual accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood movie executive. Since that time many more women have come forth claiming Weinstein tried to talk them into acts that were not to their liking. Quite a few say he raped them. If even one of the charges against him is true, Mr. Weinstein is a bad man. The quantity and severity of claims indicate that he may be truly evil.
But the number of women who have bravely stood up has emboldened others. Charges have been waged against many other people, some by name, others just by general description, as a way for the claimant to gain some healing of the damage done to them. Besides the vast number of women, quite a few male actors have come forward. Stories have alleged harassment by both male and female perpetrators of virtually every standing in the business. With the accusation against Spacey, we can even add attempted child molestation.
Something occurred to me when I looked at a partial list of the women who have accused Harvey Weinstein, so I did a little research. It didn’t take long to establish a pattern. While admitting that I did not check everyone who has come out with accusations against Mr. Weinstein, EVERY one of the women that I DID check up on has done a nude scene in a movie. Many have done multiple such scenes, and several have acted in some pretty explicit sex scenes.
Now, before you accuse me of victim blaming, I’m not. I think a person should be able to go anywhere and do anything without being harassed or worse.
However, I live in the real world.
As I said in, “Of Harvey and Harassment”, which I uploaded on October 20 of this year, ultimately, YOUR safety is YOUR responsibility.
That’s not saying that, if you do everything right, nothing bad will happen to you. Neither am I saying that you can’t do things wrong and get away unscathed.
I’m saying, be careful and thoughtful. Don’t let yourself get coerced into doing something to put yourself at risk.
Now pay attention. Be pro-active rather than reactive. Weigh the risks. If you are a 240 pound former pro football player like Terry Crews your risk of going to a man’s room alone is much less than if you are a 100 pound former Miss California. You might point out that Mr. Crews says he was fondled at a Hollywood party but I’ll counter that his alleged perpetrator stopped as soon as he became aware that Terry did not approve. I venture to say that the same thing would have happened if the two were alone.
Remember the crocodile in my earlier post? You know, the one submerged in the river waiting for the baby zebra? That predator is looking for easy prey, the easier the better. He’ll go after the spindly-legged baby zebra before he’ll try for the herd stallion. However, if that baby zebra drinks from a shallow puddle way up on shore and the stallion wades out in the river, guess which one the reptile will go for. My point is that your behavior has a lot to do with whether you will be viewed as a potential victim or not.
The women who Weinstein knew were willing to get naked or put on a sexual act in a movie for money might have been the ones he thought were more likely to come to his room alone to talk about getting big pay. Maybe he thought, if they were willing to get naked for a high paying job, they would get naked for the CHANCE of getting such a job. And maybe they would be less likely to report him to the police for “trying something.” Maybe he thought, if they were willing to get naked in front of anybody who would watch their movies, what would one more matter?
Who hasn’t heard about the Hollywood casting couch? Nowadays it is used to describe men in power using the couch to “interview” comely actresses. But I’ve read that it originated from the practice of aspiring actresses who used the couch as a way to persuade men in charge to give them a chance to become stars. Which were the predators and which the victims?
In either case, sex was a tool or a goal. Whichever case, low morals was a big factor.
However you look at it, a young actress who agrees to meet Weinstein alone in his room is painting a target on her back, whether she means to or not.
According to an ABC/Washington Post poll released last week. ,more than half or all women in the United States have been subjected to inappropriate advances at work. Of those, 80 percent said the encounter approached the level of sexual harassment. One-third said it amounted to sexual abuse. “This translates to approximately 33 million American women being sexually harassed, and 14 million sexually abused, in work-related incidents,” the pollsters write.
I’ve worked with quite a few aspiring models in my photography work. If they asked whether they could bring someone along (called an escort in the modeling business) to our shoot, I told them they were welcome to. If they were underage, I insisted that they bring a parent, guardian, or other responsible person. I have warned aspiring models to be suspicious of anyone who refuses to let them bring an escort.
If you are a parent or guardian to such an aspiring model, actor, etc. you should teach them; make sure they understand the risk. More, be sure they don’t take unnecessary chances. Go with them to meetings.
In the case of Anthony Rapp, the youngster was at a party with Kevin Spacey and others. Rapp was only 14 while Spacey was 26. According to Rapp, Spacey picked him up and carried him to a bed where the older man tried to instigate a sexual act.
Spacey responded by saying that IF it happened he apologized because it was “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
The last time I checked, the legal system doesn’t have a, “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” defense. A drunken person, at some point, knew he was a risk of getting too drunk to act sensibly. You are legally responsible for anything you do, even if you are falling down, toilet hugging drunk. That might be called the, “tough patooty,” prosecution.
My next questions were, “Where were Rapp’s parents and why was a 14 year old at a party where alcohol was served?” The boy may have been entirely innocent in the situation, just doing what youngsters do, but a parent’s job is to protect their kids until they are mature enough to take care of themselves.
I have long felt that Hollywood is a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah but the weight of the recent allegations makes me think I may have had too high an opinion of the place.
I think cesspool might be more accurate.
Please, protect yourself and, for heaven’s sake, protect your kids. Think before you act. Don’t take unnecessary risks.