The dam has broken. With each sexual abuse allegation, it seems Old Hollywood is on the brink of demise. Those we once admired, looked to for moral guidance and political opinions—we can trust them no longer.
We laughed in agreement when Kevin Spacey called Donald Trump a “disease”. Now we sit back and question how we could ever have listened to him. Harvey Weinstein was more obvious with his dislike of Donald Trump—claiming Trump “appeals to the worst in us” and that he supported the New York Times because “the way they’re burying Trump, I’m going to take 10 subscriptions!” Now… Weinstein has even less of a reputation to uphold than Trump.
Now we have George Takei, accused of sexually assaulting a male model back in the 1981. Unlike Spacey, Takei denies the accusations. However, Takei, before the accusation, believed he had the moral high ground over Spacey, saying Spacey was wrong for utilizing the same playbook Takei himself now uses:
When power is used in a non-consensual situation, it is a wrong. For Anthony Rapp, he has had to live with the memory of this experience of decades ago.
For Kevin Spacey, who claims not to remember the incident, he was the older, dominant one who had his way. Men who improperly harass or assault do not do so because they are gay or straight — that is a deflection. They do so because they have the power, and they chose to abuse it.
Yikes. But he is not the only celebrity hypocrite in the current year. The Great Hollywood Sex Scandal of 2017 has proven that those who make their fortune within the City of Angels are not the pure, moral idols we believed they were.
Now another wave of sexual abusers have been outed—among them, Takei, Louis CK, Ed Westwick, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss—there are many questions to be asked, and not all of them are positive.
For one, why are there so many sexual abusers in Hollywood? This is not a lone instance, this is many well-known—and some not-so-well-known—faces being accused of everything from heinous sexual acts to somewhat minor indiscretions. How could people not know? Are they mere actors, pretending to not know their close buddies were all not-so-secret sexual predators? Are they trying to cover up their own acts? As evidenced by alleged celebrity predators like Weinstein, Spacey and Takei, projection seems to be the name of the game. These men were overtly morally superior, believing they were better than everyone else, despite their own substandard behavior.
Secondly, we must question whether this will lead to an actual witch hunt? What started with Harvey Weinstein, where there was obvious proof of his wrongdoings, has now devolved into seemingly every man in Hollywood being accused of something, whether it’s flirting with a woman (Hoffman) to outright pedophilia (Spacey). Regardless of the severity, they all seem to be taken with the same levels of seriousness. Television shows are being taken off Netflix, careers are being destroyed, off mere allegations. Why are we not waiting until these men have their day in the courtroom, where tangible evidence of their misdemeanors are shown instead of just allegations? Of course, many of these same people (like Spacey) have admitted to criminal actions, or there is tangible evidence (like Weinstein), but as more and more famous men are accused every single day, we have to juggle the fine line between sympathy for the victims and not devolving into a senseless, bloodbath of a witch hunt.
This is not an attempt to victim blame, but an attempt to retain rationality in an onslaught of the Listen and Believe culture that is so prevalent, it damns a person believed of wrongthink before all the facts have come to light. If we want the victims of these horrible men to see justice (which is already difficult, as the alleged abusers have money and influence on their side), we must not lose sight of what the problem is.
The problem: Rich and famous people (usually men, but not always), who believe they can just do what they want without consequence. We seem so focused on braying for blood that we don’t seem to care that these abusers are not facing repercussions for their crimes. Harvey Weinstein spent one week in a rehabilitation facility before claiming to have been fixed. Will he ever see a courtroom?
As long as we allow celebrities to maintain their massive stronghold of influence, their predatory behaviors will not stop. All that will happen is more and more will be accused, and face no true penalties in the real world (the wrath of social media, while volatile, is not comparable), until the dam finally loses its last trickle of water. Will they have seen a courtroom or an orange jumpsuit? Will they be found innocent or guilty? Will we even care, or do we only care about the temporary justice that comes with a public witch hunt?