“All sorts of wrong. All sorts of confusion.”
Such were the words uttered by the well known Australian entertainment reporter, Peter Ford in a recent interview concerning the Kevin Spacey sex scandal which came on the heels of the Weinstein Affair which unleashed a floodgate of sexual assault allegations that seems to be unraveling the whole of Tinseltown. Its an apt description, confusing and wrong. I shall not here recount the allegations alleged against Spacey and Weinstein as they’ve been endlessly plastered over the pages of circle-jerking scream-sheets, news programs and online blogs. The story was popular not just due to Spacey’s high placement within the Hollywood hierarchy and status as a beloved and talented character actor but also due to the fact that the alleged incident happened so long ago and was buried and kept quiet for such a extended period of time. The perpetual cry regarding the Hollywood sex assault allegations seems, in the main, to be some variation of, “What is truly disturbing is not just the allegations themselves but also the fact that the repressive atmosphere in Hollywood was such that women (and some men) were too terrified to speak up! Its the culture of ‘the casting couch!'”
Clearly bringing in a woman or a man to one’s studio and saying “Love to offer you this luxurious, cushy job in Hollywood and satiate your lifelong dreams… but first you’ve gotta get on your knees and open your mouth as I unzip my pants to show your dedication,” is a sleazy, unethical thing to do. Yet anyone can simply say, “No thanks,” and walk out. That individual also has the power to come right out and tell everyone that this event occurred. There are many reasons, quite potent ones, why one might not, fear being the primary motivator, but to say that these supposed victims of Hollywood’s “casting couch” culture “couldn’t speak out” is patently false. Of course they could speak out, they didn’t and in many of these cases, remained silent for years and years.
Now if you were someone who, for instance, knew what Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey were getting up to, whether masturbating in front of women’s faces in the former’s case, or groping and molesting young male actors, in the latter’s case, and you did absolutely nothing for no other reason than you were afraid to lose your job you are, in no uncertain terms, a coward. Such a individuals motivations may indeed be understandable, but that doesn’t mean that they are excusable as one is effectively saying, “My job is more important than the serial exploitation of myself and my colleagues.” To see a rape or molestation taking place and doing nothing, not even speaking a word in protest, is cowardice plain and simple and so declaring that this is “blaming the victim” is entirely true but that doesn’t mean its wrong. If you were propositioned by Weinstein to suck him off for a job and you said “ok” and then regretted your decision and didn’t speak out until years later and now expect everyone to not ask you why you didn’t say anything sooner – too bad. That was your own fault and your own decision and anyone who sheds tears for such individuals is wasting their pity on a profoundly cowardly and morally wayward individual. This is not to say that such individuals are just as morally culpable as Weinstein or Spacey, clearly they are not, but to say that one can never blame someone simply because they are a victim of some form of abuse of power is absurd especially if the so-called victim went along willingly with the crime for decades.
[no House of Cards puns were deployed in the initial nor final versions of this manuscript – you’re welcome]