DISCLAIMER: I know people reading this may not think like me. I’m not attempting to trigger anyone, make light of their suffering, or support any system that targets vulnerable people and makes them stay quiet about it.
I have been pouring over breaking news story after breaking news story concerning, not only the acts of famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, but the news of who knew or didn’t know, interactions between actors and other power players and on and on.
I don’t know what to think…on one hand:
How is this new news?
I am in no way attempting to demean or belittle those that have come forward with these accusations of harassment or assault, I’m really not. What I will say, is that as far as I can remember, things that I have watched on film and television about the entertainment industry, journalism, politics etc. have included in some form, this idea that in order for people to get ahead, they would sleep with the producer, director, a politician, or a CEO, etc. And all of this was projected through a medium that is backed by a community that practices all of these things.
I watched an interview with Tom Hardy from some years back. In it, he was asked if he’s ever had sex with a man. Hardy laughed and then responded that “Yeah I’m an actor.” This is the assumption that, in order to get some of the roles that he had gotten, that he had to get down with somebody that was going to be in a position to cast him.
Corey Feldman has has been on for years about the sexual abuse of children in Hollywood and may have been part and parcel to Corey Haim’s early demise. In fact, it annoys me that these other celebrities are coming out with these small anecdotes about their own harassment, but refuse to name the person that was involved. These people are still in the shadows because their victims, still at their core, are afraid of the negative repercussions on their career.
She got this part because she slept with that guy.
He got the story because he slept with that woman.
It didn’t really ever seem to have a beginning or an ending. It just seems, from those that are watching from the security of their small little “flyover” states, that part of getting ahead in the glamorous lifestyle that is Hollywood, meant compromising your morals, your beliefs, and often your body. It is just simply the deal you had to make. It is the price of fame.
But that’s just Hollywood right? Not so much.
Pressure exists everywhere.
I’m from a town of about 12,000 people. If there is a case of sexual assault that occurs, it pretty much rocks the entire town. I have been privy to a couple of these cases, and one included a friend of mine that was assaulted by a police officer. I’ve been witness to as well as a supportive party, to the amount of ostracization from the community and the attempt to pressure people into not speaking out. The fact of the matter is: powerful people will levy their power to make sure they stay in power.
When the President was asked about Weinstein’s admittance of his behavior, he was asked if he found the behavior to be inappropriate. Trump responded by saying, “Oh he admitted that it was inappropriate.” Now, I know that this was an attempt to bring back the quotes regarding his leaked interview from a year ago where the infamous “Grab them by the pussy” was uttered. They wanted to compare Trump’s thoughts on that and Weinstein’s actions.
My only problem is, if Trump thought it was inappropriate, why wouldn’t he just say, “Yes I do believe that it is inappropriate”? I mean, Weinstein is a dyed in the wool Democrat. He’s about as liberal as they come. Trump could’ve just hung the party out to dry and really go after him. But he didn’t. I imagine that liberal Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump have a lot more in common with each other than the people that support them.
On the other hand…
I see a different dynamic now. I used to be one that would say to all those that believe in to be rich versus the poor, the state versus everyone else, or the Illuminati versus the world that “It was just a bunch of BS, they’re not after you.”
However, I did believe in the transition that happens when you go from being powerless to powerful, when you go from rags to riches. You’re now surrounded by people that have similar problems as you. They relate to you more than the people that you used to relate to when you were powerless and poor. You come into a community that is so used to getting away with whatever they want to do because they had that power.
You feel comfortable exercising the same judgment and recourse as all of those that had come before you.
I felt like the abuse in my hometown meant more because these victims didn’t have that same “unspoken rule” in Hollywood. They didn’t “know what they were in for.” I was, what I often accuse others of doing, believing celebrities weren’t real people. I mean, they were people, but not people people, ya know? But this wave of confession has come on, and I am still hesitant because of my deep rooted feelings that they are jumping on a bandwagon and want attention, or that they took money because it matters more than their own power. I am trying so hard to accept that not everyone raises hell when they’re violated.
It saddens me that people feel they don’t have a forum or support to come forward, and they let that become a small emotional inconvenience as they just try to get on with their lives. All the while, the cycle continues and victims nod to each other in recognition of their ordeal, “Well what can ya do? It’s hard to talk about, harder to relive and hard to explain.” A community bonded in silence is aggravating.
But who will lay on the sword? Who is going to sacrifice their future in something that they have wanted their entire life in order to be drug through the mud and seen as a pariah in the community for saying “Hey this happened to me and it’s wrong!”?
And who’s going to stand behind them? Who, even if they can’t relate, but still believe and support them, are going to march side-by-side with them and risk their potential stardom on beginning a campaign against people that have so many ties to the media and so many ties to the business that they want so desperately to be a part of!?
And worse, who among us that have nothing to do with fame is going to stand up and/or support? Who in your town of 12,000 that was sexually harassed or assaulted by an officer of the law, or a trusted physician, their manager, or hell, their own family member is going to stand up to all of the negativity that comes with it and fall on the sword and be that person that says “No more!”?
I know that because a lot of this has to do with Hollywood and that presses further into the amount of politicians that might’ve known about it, that more and more people are calling for more “powerful” people to speak out. However the powerful they refer to are just more high profile celebrities.
That’s not going to fix the problem around the country. This is not an instance of liberals versus conservatives, or the Hollywood elite versus the even higher than Hollywood elite. This is about an abuse of power that occurs often amongst men and women that don’t live anywhere near Tinseltown.
We don’t need celebrities speaking up in defense of everyone. We need our local law-enforcement, we need our local community, we need our family and friends to support us and back us. We don’t need someone that we see on the silver screen, we need the person sitting or standing next to us. This is the only way I can possibly think of that would allow for a person to stop the chain of violence.
It’s the only thing I can think of that will make them not take the money, and not sign the nondisclosure agreement. It’s the only thing I can think of to make sure that while it may not have begun with them, it damn sure will end with them.
Break up Big Hollywood
If you want to be big it’s New York or LA.
LA or New York! Pick one! Those are your only choices!
This is a common mantra, or at least has been for decades and decades. These beacons of glamour and fame with their Broadway theaters and red carpet premiers!
And largely because that’s where the money was. But is it so much anymore? Crowdsourcing, independent financing, grants for the arts…well maybe not so much anymore, but other services have allowed for those working outside of the bloated, big business of Hollywood and their ridiculous unions to make the projects they want. And better yet, not only are there better ways to get money to make these things, but there are more venues to distribute them and have them seen than ever before.
Content has exploded with the rise of the Internet and it’s becoming cheaper and cheaper to make that passion project with the same look of a real studio picture. To those towns that look at the artistic kids as weird, stop.
Encourage that creativity before they run to the lion’s den. I’m not a Bible guy, but Sodom and Gomorrah, where things so insane would occur because they had no connection with the real world outside of their walls, is pretty apt. I’m not looking at this from a religious standpoint, but a power/behavior stand point.
Let them feel comfortable creating at home. Support your neighbors even if you have differing lifestyles.
Everyone can be hurt.
Everyone can get scared.
Everyone can hide.
…Lend them a hand.