Since last fall, the backlash against rich and powerful men accused of sexual assault and/or harassment has been swift and powerful. Men who thought they could get away with such acts without repercussions are finally being forced to admit to their crimes. The newest men added to this dishonorable list is CEO chairman Les Moonves and comic/podcast host Chris Hardwick.
Last week, Mr. Moonves was accused of using the casting couch to fill his sexual needs in return for work. In June, Mr. Hardwick was accused of abusing and blacklisting an ex-girlfriend.
The accusations against Mr. Moonves are still fresh. Only time will tell if he receives the same statement as Harvey Weinstein or if he is exonerated. As of this week, Mr. Hardwick has been cleared of the charges.
I feel like at this point, our collective response should not be all fire and fury. But that also depends on the severity of the charge. The response to the accusations against Aziz Ansari should not be the same response to Harvey Weinstein. But that doesn’t mean that they can get away with it.
The message should be clear. Sexual assault and harassment by both men and women will not be tolerated. Those accused of such acts and found guilty will receive a punishment that fits the crime.
The black dog, as Winston Churchill put it, has struck again.
On Wednesday, the dog claimed the life of designer Kate Spade. This morning, the life the dog took was that of chef, author and television personality Anthony Bourdain. He was 61.
He was found in his hotel room in France where he was filming a future episode for his CNN series, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
Depression and mental illness is not a joke. At best, the person suffering lives as best they can. At worst, they take their own life, causing their loved ones to ask questions that can never be answered.
My heart breaks for those who knew him on a personal level, especially his young daughter and his girlfriend, Asia Argento. Ms. Argento is one of the woman who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.
I know what it is like to live with the black dog. It sits on my lap all day, every day. If your reading this post and you also have the black dog sitting on your lap, please get help. If not for your sake, but for the ones you love.
Sometimes it takes public shaming for things to finally change. The list of powerful or famous men accused of unwanted sexual assault has grown again. Morgan Freeman is the newest name on this dishonorable list.
Sixteen people have accused him of either sexual assault or inappropriate behavior. Four of those who have made such accusations are journalists whom Mr. Freeman has been interviewed by during press junkets. They have accused him of making inappropriate remarks during their interviews. Chloe Melas, who is the co-author of the CNN article linked to above, stated that Mr. Freeman acted inappropriately towards her while promoting his 2017 film, Going in Style.
Based on the evidence presented, I don’t think that Mr. Freeman went as far as Harvey Weinstein did, however, that does not exonerate him. Mr. Freeman’s actions and words are a symptom of a much larger cultural perspective that still views women as sexual objects, regardless of whether actions follow the words spoken.
As much as I respect Mr. Freeman for his career, sometimes we must make public examples of bad behavior to make it clear that such words or actions are unacceptable. Unfortunately, the public example that must be made in this case is Morgan Freeman, whose lapse in judgement reminds us all that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and those who still act in such a manner will be punished appropriately.
Filed under Feminism, Movies
The casting couch is not a new concept in Hollywood.
Harvey Weinstein took the casting couch to a new level. Yesterday he was arrested and charged with rape.
According to Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s lawyer:
“Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood,” he said. “Bad behavior is not on trial in this case.”
While it’s true that the casting couch has existed long before Weinstein climbed his way up the Hollywood power ladder, he certainly took advantage of it.
Karma is a b*tch, as is justice. Only time will tell if Weinstein is found guilty of the charges laid out against him.
If there is a silver lining in this case, it is that men who use their power in any industry are being sent a strong message about how they view and treat their female employees. Treat them with respect and dignity or face the consequences.
Since news broke last week that comedian and actor Aziz Ansari was accused of forcing himself on a woman, I have to be honest that this accusation is not so clear-cut for me.
By reputation, Mr. Ansari is far from the likes of Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein. He comes off as a genuine nice guy. I was honestly surprise when the woman making the accusation, known as Grace, seemed to putting him in the same category as Lauer and Weinstein.
My interpretation of the story is that it was a date gone horribly wrong. For whatever reason, Mr. Ansari believed that his accuser wanted to sleep with him, despite the verbal and non verbal cues that she allegedly says she was giving him.
The lesson I think we need to learn here is two-fold: first is that we have to stop teaching our daughters to only be caregivers. There is nothing wrong with that lesson, but we also need to teach our daughters that it is ok to speak up. Women were given voices for a reason, we need to use them. The other issue is that we need to teach our sons, especially when they get to age when they start to go on dates, on how to read the cues, both verbal and non verbal from their date. If their date is obviously uncomfortable or saying that they are not interested in having sex, our sons need to learn to read, understand and respect the wishes of their dates.
While the accusation against Mr. Ansari is not as extreme as others, it is still symptomatic of much larger cultural issue of how we treat our daughters compared to our sons and what we teach our daughters compared to our sons. To find a cure, we must diagnose the problem based on the symptoms. If the symptoms in this case are the treatment and education of our daughters compared to what their brothers are receiving, then the cure is equal treatment and respect for both sexes.
One of the myths of rape is that the victim was asking for it. She was probably wearing an outfit that was revealing and maybe she was also a little drunk.
Unfortunately, this disgusting myth has become ingrained in our overall culture. It’s an excuse that allows the rapists to get away with their crimes and blame the victims.
A woman could be wearing almost anything and be raped. She could be wearing anything from a nuns habit or a burka to the tiniest of bikinis and that wouldn’t mean damn thing to the rapist.
In short, it’s not about what she is wearing or not wearing-its about perception and power. The perception is that women are second class citizens and there to be a sex object for a man whenever he feels in the mood for sex. The power comes from the perception and his view that he is better than his victim.
Earlier in the year, as the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, designer Donna Karan defended Weinstein and blamed the victims. Respected actress Angela Lansbury made a similar statement the end of November. Both women have since rescinded their statements.
Make no mistake, there have been amazing strides in both the feminist movement and recognizing the true nature of rape and sexual assault. But for every step taken toward true equality, there are men and women (which gets my goat like few things can) who blame the victims instead of blaming the perpetrators and making it clear rape/sexual assault are wrong and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Yesterday, it was reported that Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson was warned by Harvey Weinstein to not hire Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino for the film series because according to Jackson, “I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs,”.
The truth is that Jackson was eager to hire both women, but due to the fact that both Ms. Sorvino and Ms. Judd rejected Weinstein’s sexual advances, they were blackballed and Jackson was forced to cast other performers for the roles.
Pardon my french, but what the f*ck is wrong with Harvey Weinstein? It makes we wonder how breakable his ego is that he would prevent two talented female performers from working because they wouldn’t sleep with him? Weinstein is a bully; the truth about any bully is that they have deep emotional issues. They cover up those issues by being an a**hole to other people.
I am not a performer, nor do I have a desire to become a performer. But I have a sense of how difficult it is not only to start a career in Hollywood, but also how to sustain that career. I could apologize to both Ms. Sorvino and Ms. Judd, who are clearly gifted performers. But the word sorry can never do justice to the irreparable harm to their careers.
I can only hope that the culture of not just Hollywood, but America and the world will change. A woman will be seen for her abilities, in whatever career path she chooses and not for her body. She will be seen as a fully fledged human being who has the right to go to work without being sexually harassed and if she is harassed, it is her harasser who will take the blame and not the woman.
Hope is the key word here.
Filed under Feminism, Movies
The list of prominent men accused of rape/sexual assault/unwanted sexual advances has grown to add three more men: Russell Simmons, Nick Carter and Jeffrey Tambor.
Former teen pop singer Melissa Schuman from the pop group Dream has accused Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter of raping her more than a decade ago. Carter denies the allegations. Actor Jeffrey Tambor, the star of the television series, Transparent, will be leaving the show after two women have accuse him of sexual harassment. Music mogul Russell Simmons has been accused of assaulting model Keri Claussen Khalighi when she was in her late teens while movie director Brett Ratner, who was also in the room, did nothing to stop Simmons.
Sexual assault and rape are nothing new to humanity. These heinous acts have been going on since the beginning of our species. My hope in publicizing these acts and shaming the accused is that our society will finally make a change for the better. Whether it is a movie mogul or the manager of a fast food restaurant, men in power will think twice about dangling career opportunities in front of their female employees in return for sexual favors.
When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in October, the nasty truth of our society and how women are treated was brought into the harsh light.
The newest member of this quickly growing list is respected journalist Charlie Rose.
Eight women have accused Mr. Rose of making unwanted sexual advances toward them.
As painful as the newest revelation is, I believe that is absolutely necessary. This is an evil in our society that must be confronted. This is not simply about the power imbalance, but it is also about how women are seen and treated. The first step in resolving a problem is admitting that there is a problem. Now that we have been forced to admit that there is a problem, we must resolve the problem. Unfortunately, it will be easier said than done.
When the news broke last month that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault by a number of women, it was only the tip of the iceberg. The newest member of this not so honorable club is Al Franken, Saturday Night Live alumni and current senator from Minnesota.
In 2006, while on a USO tour, Leeann Tweeden accuses Mr. Franken of forcibly kissing her and having a picture taken of them while she slept. The picture is of Mr. Franken pretending to fondle her breasts.
Should Mr. Franken resign from? Honestly, I don’t know. In an ideal world, I would say yes, but considering that an empty seat in the Senate would create an imbalance that would tip in favor of the Republican, I say no.
At least unlike other politicians accused of similar acts (Donald Trump, Roy Moore), Mr. Franken has apologized and promised to make amends. But unlike his predecessors, there is pictorial evidence that is irrefutable.
The problem continues to be that women are still seen as sexual objects without thoughts, feelings and ambitions. Until the day when the concept is eradicated for good, then we will continue to be seen as and treated as sexual objects.