Friday, October 20, 2017

Harvey Weinstein May Now Be History in Hollywood, But ..........

Hollywood is notorious for the casting couch, which we now know includes pedophilia, statutory rape, rape, and other forms of sexual assault. Past studio moguls known for the casting couch include Harry Cohn of Columbia, Darryl Zanuck of Fox, and Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer of MGM. Errol Flynn and Roman Polanski enjored under age women. Arnold Schwarzenegger was no saint. They all did it because they could. Hollywood stood and applauded when Roman Polanski won an Oscar in 2002. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled Harvey Weinstein, but Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski remain members. Harvey Weinstein did it because they did. Harvey Weinstein, now sometimes nicknamed Harvey Swinestein, may be the lowest of the low, but he is certainly not alone. Harvey Swinestein may be a pig, but he is certainly not alone. Harvey Weinstein’s sordid tale of misconduct is revolting and repulsive, but he’s not alone. Hollywood is known for arrogance, bravado, bullies and egomaniacs. Harvey Weinstein excelled in these. He was arrogant and a bully beyond the norm, but he is not alone. Harvey Weinstein did it because he could, but he’s not alone. Dozens of actresses and models are coming forward with despicable tales of sexual harassment by directors and producers, and to a lesser extent, actors. Yet, no matter how reprehensible the tales are, they are not naming names. Alyssa Milano asked others to #MeToo if they were harassed. Scores have, including Monica Lewinsky. Sorry Monica, but a long period of consensual sex does not constitute sexual harassment. Therein lies the problem. First, without proof, they would be open to a defamation suit. Second, they remain scared of being cut off in Hollywood. Very few producers, directors and studio leaders are women, who could protect them. Directing and producing remains primarily a man’s world in Hollywood even though women and making strides. The men who protected Harvey Weinstein are still in power. A lot of directors and producers are undoubtedly consulting their lawyers these days. Everybody knew, but nobody acted. To do so would be to commit Hollywood suicide. Look at Tippi Hayden. She disappeared after The Birds and Marnie. She claims Alfred Hitchcock blackballed her in Hollywood because she would not submit to his aggression. She paid a steep price. Actresses warned other actresses, but it was on the Q.T. Few dared to go public. Jane Fonda said she knew a year ago, but is now ashamed of staying quiet. Yet she is not naming names. She’ll rather go to North Vietnam and pose on a North Vietnam anti-aircraft gun for propaganda against the United States rather than name names in Hollywood. Quentin Tarantino said he knew, but is now sorry he didn’t do anything. Yes, he did; he continued to produce his movies with Harvey. It was economic. It took the New York Times and New Yorker Magazine to bare the bare facts about Harvey Weinstein, but they could only do so because a few brave actresses were willing to talk. Hollywood cheered the fall of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly at Fox, ignoring its sordid record. Many actors and actresses sleep around. We should be careful to not confuse promiscuity with the casting couch. This problem is different from when Hollywood would not name the gays and lesbians in its community. It’s different because these directors and producers are hurting people whereas outing gays and lesbians could hurt their careers. Rumors always circulated to the general public about individual actors and actresses, but few people really cared. They weren’t hurting anyone. The Church covered up clergy abuse for decades and reassigned the priests to other parishes. The pedophile priests were hurting young boys. It’s not just Hollywood and the Church. Politics can bring out the worst animal behavior in some men, including Presidents Clinton, Johnson, and Kennedy while in office as President. Senator Teddy Kennedy was notorious for his philandering. Some members of Congress proclaim one thing, and do another. It goes down to the local level. Some politicians are susceptible to corruption and sexism. The stories are beginning to emerge in sports, especially in women’s gymnastics. Sexual harassment exists in many occupations and professions. Silicon Valley, in its short existence, suffers from sexism, if not sexual harassment. By no means, not all or presumably a majority of men! But one is one too many. Harvey Weinstein is now learning a fundamental lesson of success: Be nice to those you pass on the way up. You may see them again on the way down!

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