It’s been widespread major headline news for the past year. Powerful celebrity figures being accused of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and media. The stories center primarily on men who have allegedly abused or harassed people in lower positions of power. As the list continues to grow everyday with no end in sight the question remains, why has this been allowed for so long? When is Hollywood going to be held accountable and answer for the behavior of their employees and partners for decades long systematic culture of sexual misconduct and sex crimes that were allowed to happen in the entertainment industry without any recourse?
The allegations against some of these male entertainers are not about things that happened in private; they are about things that allegedly happened in public, in front of witnesses and in some instances — even in front of cameras. These men were able to behave in a way where none of them feared there would be any consequences or repercussions for their behavior. The only way this could be possible is by way of sex being deeply embedded in Hollywood workplace culture. As one Hollywood screenwriter put it, “Everybody knew, but we were too busy having a good time!” This admission is an honest look into what was going on–but it’s a horrible excuse where the end doesn’t justify the means. I can’t go out with a friend and they kill somebody and I watch as it happens and say nothing without being charged with accessory. So, why is Hollywood able to do so with sex crimes? It’s just one of the many things that make you question the very foundation than an industry like Hollywood is built on and if it’s been a safe one in all these years.
Many people credit the #MeToo campaign movement for bringing about awareness and a call-to action for rape, sexual misconduct, harassment that has existed in the entertainment industry for years and years. However, #MeToo has only seemed to target the entertainment industry and has skipped out on bringing a call-to-action to sexual misconduct that takes place widespread in other industries. I know this because I’ve checked. The #MeToo movement hasn’t touched the sex trafficking industry. There should be much more to aim for if they want their message to be effective. But, so far, what we’re seeing take place are a bunch of famous men losing their careers. This isn’t a bad thing but it doesn’t quite solve the problem. Which could only make one ask if this is really a call to action or is it virtual signaling that is deeply rooted in capitalism where the power structure is trying to reassert itself in their quest to seize power from the traditional holders of power in this country. Many of the accused have allegations pending that remain unfounded but they have been already demonized courtesy of the media without probable cause or any real evidence. In some cases there is outright sexual assault. But, there are some allegations with descriptions of a bad date between two people who wanted very different things and a few others where lot of excessive flirting took a conversation into an uncomfortable direction.
While many allegations have struck the nerves of some following the stories it also confuses others who see some of the encounters as a reach. The overall consensus points to how deep our sexual problems run and how we need to create norms that work for everyone.
In my opinion, #MeToo hasn’t done a great job of pushing conversations about reform nor has the very media who has taken to investigating many alleged claims. In fact, it’s safe to say that both have become like a poorly run police department. While it exists for a noble cause, it has ended up abusing its power for the wrong reasons by persecuting an entire community–demonizing famous celebrity men specifically. This is because going in the social movement’s most famous vocal front-people never laid out a real objective. There was no legitimate vetting process, no standards or any real oversight. Because of this, like with cops, people have become annoyed with them and it has made it very difficult for anyone to trust them anymore. This will soon render their agenda meaningless as we’ve seen in the past with other social change movements e.g. Occupy Wall Street. Remember them? This isn’t about cushioning men (and women who have slept their way into the beds of their male students) from the harsh truth about their behavior but rather genuinely trying to figure out what is the best solution to the problem we’re trying to solve. If we really want to put a stop to sexual misconduct in Hollywood or any workplace or community it should begin with the dismantling and complete restructuring of the environment where this kind of sex culture is allowed to thrive. Sexual deviant behavior and misconduct is not going to stop until there is real policy in place and it is no longer culture.
Right now, our social climate carries an attitude that sits somewhere between two extremes; one where we’re scoffing at sexual misconduct and harassment out of one side of our mouth while jamming to our favorite trap songs reciting sexual disparaging and misogynistic lyrics towards women out of the other side in addition to celebrating films like Call Me By Your Name. This film was nominated for an Academy Award this year. The story centers on a grown adult man who has an affair with an under-aged teen boy. If we want real reform there should be no exceptions to the rule.
by Faye Bishop