In the past few weeks, there have been several news items on CNN and Fox News, usually buried toward the bottom of the page, covering the long-standing problem of sexual perversion in Hollywood. Just today, Fox News posted yet another of these pieces, entitled “Are Hollywood Stars Enabling Sexual Predators By Not Naming Names?” The article goes on to narrate various celebrity accounts of “casting couch” incidences, of sexual advances, rapes and even Pedophelia as being a constant issue in “Tinseltown,” and having been so for decades.
(SOAPBOX=FAST ON) Now, I usually delve into the specifics of a situation from off of the soapbox, before climbing up and doing the usual “pontifications.” This time however, I feel like we need to perform some sort of “fast attack,” and get right to the meat and potatoes of the issue.
So, are Hollywood stars (or other industry insiders) enabling sexual predators by not naming names, like the title of the FNC article asks? Short answer: YES. I would even go so far as to say that, not only are they enabling these douchebags, but by not naming names and telling someone what they know, they are by their inactions, condoning and perpetuating the abuses. These Hollywood people know what’s going on, yet they keep their mouths shut, sometimes because they don’t want to lose that multi-million-dollar movie deal, or negatively impact their marketability in the industry. My fine young readers, that’s called greed. Not only is it being greedy, but also compounding one wrong with yet another; a lie. (A lie of omission is still a lie!)
One of my favorite “righting of the wrongs” quotes comes from Elizabeth Gaskell, nineteenth century writer and equal rights advocate. In the foreword to Gaskell’s first novel, “Mary Barton,” Macdonald Daly recounts a conversation between Elizabeth and Edward Holland, in which she stated;
“My poor Mary Barton is stirring up all sorts of angry feelings against me in Manchester, but those best aquainted with the way of thinking and feeling among the poor acknowledge its truth; which is the acknowledgment I most of all desire, because evils being once recognized, are half way on towards their remedy.”
In the case of “libidinous lasciviousness” in Hollywood, I think there’s more to it than just identifying the problem. The evil has been recognised, but the source not completely identified. For this problem to truly be “halfway on towards its remedy,” these victims have to start reaching deep down in their gut, drawing up some courage and naming names.
Now what I am about to do may leave a bad taste in some of my readers’ mouths. As this weblog is still a rather small enterprise, there’s not really much to lose by saying what I am about to say, so I’ll just come out with it; WE are part and parcel of this issue as well. Every time we rent or buy a movie. Every time we pump money into the Hollywood entertainment “machine,” we fund this issue. Oh, it’s not like we’re walking up to director or producer “so and so,” handing him a G-note and telling him to go make unwanted sexual advances on a young child actor or actress on our dime. No, it’s a more convoluted chain of funding than just that.
So how do we as consumers and patrons help put a stop to this problem? I asked my spouse this question just today, because I had reached a point of “writer’s block.” We discussed a boycott of Hollywood, and how it would be tantamount to “mass punishment, bathwater and the baby” thinking. By depriving the entertainment industry of our dollars, we would be making the innocent pay alongside the genuinely guilty.
So, what do we do? I wonder just how many of us would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Hollywood talent, and back these people up if and when they came out and started dropping names in the effort to clean house. (I know I would, and with the publishing of this article, I am!) What else? Every one of you, my fine young readers, that also spends a considerable amount of money on any aspect of the Hollywood entertainment industry, should be asking yourselves these questions. I know I am. This is one aged specter that needs to be exorcised from the entertainment industry, for everyone’s benefit.
ADDENDUM: After this article went to press, I had the unique opportunity to exchange some thoughts via email with Alison Arngrim, who portrayed Nellie Oleson on “Little House on The Prairie” and now serves as part of the grassroots policy board of Protect Dot Org. She shared that I seemed “unclear as to why everyone on earth doesn’t just jump up on TV and name the person who raped them.” (Thank you Alison, and again I apologise for not mentioning your courage in identifying and confronting your attacker.)
I wouldn’t expect everyone to resort to that type of public “outting” of the perpetrators, however I would definitely encourage the establishment or shoring up of support systems and networks for combatting this most detrimental of issues plaguing the industry. Alison also brought up the fact (and yes, it’s a fact!) that several of these perpetrators who have been identified, don’t ever really feel the full sting of justice’s strap. That’s where our laws and punishments need to be changed and strengthened. (Don’t ask me how I would punish child molesters, because you might find my “burning barn” scenario a bit hard to palate!)
Granted, there’s a lot to this issue that I personally am not aware of, being just a small-potatoes blogger from Central California. The point is that the more we all talk about this, the more open publicity it gets. The more we discuss the aspects, the more likely we’ll be to come up with viable solutions.
“We face the truth, we see it clear, with no disguise.” (Yes, “The More We Live, Let Go” c1991, Arista Records)
Further reading on this topic:
“Former child stars reveal sex abuse in Hollywood” (Daily News and Analysis, retrieved on Dec 14th, 2011)
“Recent Charges of Sexual Abuse of Children in Hollywood Just Tip of Iceberg, Experts Say” (Fox News, retrieved on Dec 14th, 2011)