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There is a specter haunting America—the specter of Hollywood. For a century, studio executives and top celebrities have been controlling what we see in the media and exactly how we see it. This isn’t some sort of crazy conspiracy theory: there are no Reptilians or Rothschild quackery involved. If you don’t watch 2016 Ghostbusters, you’re a sexist. If you don’t pay to watch our television and movies and buy the junk we advertise, there is something wrong with you.
There is something seriously wrong with Hollywood. The same studios full of people telling huge swathes of the population that they’re sexist and misogynistic for not paying twenty bucks to see Ghostbusters has a serious sexism and misogyny problem. Harvey Weinstein, a popular Hollywood producer responsible for many films you’ve probably enjoyed, has been accused of sexual harassment. And the players of Hollywood have been covering it up.
This is not new. In 1921, aspiring actress Virginia Rappe was found at the apartment suite of fellow actor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, suffering from a trauma which later led to her death. Arbuckle was later acquitted of any potential role in Rappe’s death, but his career was irreparably damaged. Fellow actor Buster Keaton voiced his support for Arbuckle, leading to a reprimand from the studio. This is basically the same response studio execs have now to any “sex scandal”: They will blacklist only once the actor’s sexual indiscretions have gone public. They claim to have never known of the accused actor/producer/director’s indiscretions.
Don’t be fooled. The studio executives and bigwigs all know about the disgusting behaviors committed by any high-ranking sexual assaulter or rapist in their midst. In the case of Harvey Weinstein, most knew about his indiscretions, but he got away with it because he threatened or paid off anyone who could ruin his career. The media most definitely knew about it too. Lee Smith describes it this way:
One of the refrains you hear today from media experts and journalists is that they’d known about Weinstein’s transgressions for a long time. The problem, they say, was that no one was able to nail down the story.
Despite being fictional, Scream 3 likely had a grain of truth in its backstory for main character Sidney’s mother Maureen Prescott. Prescott, an aspiring actress, was gang-raped by a room full of producers at a party. This is not just fiction. Many people, now the veil of secrecy has been lifted, reveal of similar scenarios in regards to Harvey Weinstein. An anonymous journalist claims many famous actresses used to exhibit themselves to a very famous Hollywood producer. Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan says Weinstein once masturbated in front of her. Numerous examples abound, and not just the most famous accusers like Rose McGowan.
While the Virginia Rappe case may be the first example of the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse in Hollywood, it’s not the only one. Joan Collins claimed she lost her role of Cleopatra (1963), which she was set to star as the main role, because she refused to have sex with the studio head. Robin Hood’s Errol Flynn had a two-year affair with a fifteen year old girl, and was also accused and found not guilty of the rape of two other underage girls. When childhood starlet Shirley Temple was twelve, an MGM producer unzipped his pants in front of her and exposed his genitals to her. One of the most notorious cases involves Roman Polanski who pleaded guilty to “sexual intercourse” with a thirteen year old in 1977. He escaped to Europe, but much of the Hollywood inner circle still defends his actions. Same with Woody Allen.
This is not just a matter of “it was in the past”. The same figures in star-studded Hollywood claiming you’re a racist and misogynist if you voted for Donald Trump or if you didn’t like 2016 Ghostbusters being an utter mess…these same people are abhorrent rapists and sexual abusers.
The blatant hypocrisy of Hollywood is astounding. The same celebrities denouncing sexual abuse will not denounce the actions of a sexual abuser like Harvey Weinstein. So many of these celebs claiming to support victims of rape and assault covered up Weinstein’s actions for decades. Weinstein wasn’t exactly quiet about his actions, and so many are now saying they knew of his actions and just allowed it to happen. There are defenders in places—like the BBC—who usually denounce any form of sexism when it’s someone they don’t know. Someone they do know and like, for example Weinstein, Bill Cosby or Woody Allen, and so many are silent.
Thank you to those who have and constantly have denounced behavior like that of Weinstein. Unfortunately, you appear to be in the minority.
Turn on the television and you’ll see the smugness radiating on your screen—celebrities calling on us to stop the misogyny of Donald Trump and other instances of sexism from those they dislike. Go on Twitter and you’ll see celebrities complaining about widespread rape culture and ill-treatment of women around the globe. These same people have supported sexual abusers and rapists.
How do you expect us to take anything you say about sexism and misogyny seriously when you are much worse than those you denounce in Oscar speeches or by “owning” your adversaries on Twitter?
We should be taking abuse and rape seriously, regardless of the political leanings and friendships we hold with those accused. Otherwise, who are you to tell us about rape culture, when it appears Hollywood is the rape culture?
Pot, meet kettle.