Hollywood and Sexual Harassment: It’s Time for Change

The Toxic Culture of Covering Up and Never Punishing Sexual Harassment Has to Go!

It seems like scandals and Hollywood go get along like peas and carrots. Over the years there’s been controversies over whitewashing, lack of roles on and off camera for women and minorities, plenty of drug problems, and so on. This year though the beast has shown it’s true form in the slew of sexual harassment allegations that have sprung up since Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a predator. In the past week alone some of the most respected actors, directors, and producers have had people stepping forward to share their stories of sexual harassment over the years at the hands of these “stars.”

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40 women have stepped forward with accusations against Weinstein.

There is no doubt that there is a toxic atmosphere in Hollywood when it comes to sexual harassment. The troubling thing is that there are numerous cases of “crying wolf” as well, such as the 2014 lawsuit against director Bryan Singer that he sexually assaulted a minor while in Hawaii. This case was dismissed when it was revealed that the plaintiff and Singer were never in the state at the same time. This isn’t to say that all claims are false, but that there have been people out there making it harder and harder for real cases to be taken seriously. However, the dam appears to have broken since Weinstein. More and more people are stepping forward to make accusations and it’s very much like these claims are legitimate.

Recently men in power ranging from Kevin Spacey to Dustin Hoffman to Amazon Studios President Roy Price have been exposed. Their accusations though are just the tip of the iceberg as the recent #MeToo campaign showed just how many in Hollywood have been victimized. It’s not just women though, as stars like James Van Der Beek and Alex Winters joined in the campaign. What only makes this horrible trend all the worse is the number of actors and actresses that a reporting they were harassed while underage. It’s heartbreaking hearing how many of these people who have been idolized for their talents are now having a light shined on their despicable behavior over the years. Unfortunately, none of this is new.

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I admired Kevin Spacey, but in the light of this accusation, I’m not sure how I can again.

Many are aware of the recent Bill Cosby news in which he faced an overwhelming number of accusations from women who he drugged and then raped. Roman Polanski has been living in exile from America for his assault on an underaged girl. The list goes on an on, and justice is seldom seen for the victims as Hollywood always moves to protect it’s own. In the wake of these new incidents though I can’t help but have hope that Hollywood will change its stripes. Still, it’s unacceptable that these hopeful changes are only being made because it’s finally having its dirty secrets exposed, not because the industry wants to protect the people in it.

As I said though, this is not a new thing for Hollywood. There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of these incidents exposed before (and who knows how many have been covered up) and here we are again. Hollywood needs to be held accountable by the people it works for and that’s us. We need to make sure that they know that is is completely unacceptable and that it needs to make immediate changes or else. Over the years, the guilds in the industry have gone on strike to achieve the changes they want, so maybe it’s time for us, the audience, to go on strike if our demands for the safety of men, women, and children aren’t met. In the past, Hollywood has shown that it only reacts when it’s money is in danger. So, it might be our responsibility to hit them where it hurts to ensure changes are made.

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All workplaces needs to be safe for everyone, including this one.

That might mean refusing to see movies that are made by actors, actresses, directors, producers, and so on, that have been accused of sexual misconduct until their victims get the fair trial they deserve. We might even have to take it further than that and refuse to see movies until changes are put in place to ensure people are protected. Honestly, that’s going to suck for me, since I love movies so much. However, my love for cinema is never going to be more important than the lives that have been ruined by these sexual harassment scandals. If it does come down to it, I’ll just have to pick up a book or go outside or even talk to people about non-movie related topics. If I can do that, then I know we all can do it. In the meantime, I propose we continue to let Hollywood know that we will not accept these actions by taking to social and telling them that we don’t want to have any more #MeToo stories at the hands of the entertainment industry. Let them know we will not stand for this any longer!