By: Brett Slaughenhaupt – Staff Writer
And another one bites the dust.
That is to say, another powerful man in Hollywood–in this case, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey–is added to a quickly growing list of men accused of sexual assault (and in Spacey’s case, pedophilia). To put it lightly, Hollywood is in a state of crisis. As an industry, they are quickly losing the faith of the public at the rate of which its biggest names are being called out for acts of sexual transgression.
There have always been hushed conversations about the issues Hollywood has with sex and consent. We see it in the way past references made by other actors or via pop culture come up after an actor is formally accused. In a video from 2005, Courtney Love said in an interview, “If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party in the Four Seasons [hotel] don’t go.” With Kevin Spacey, “Family Guy” made a sly reference in an episode from 2005 about escaping Spacey’s basement that may or may not connected to current allegations. We do know his accuser has been speaking publicly about the incident since it happened.
But these are just two of many other often laughed-off references made of men abusing their power in Hollywood. It took decades before Bill Cosby, accused by multiple women of his transgressions, was noticed by the public. On a larger scale, rumors of pedophilia rings have been around for decades further, with Corey Feldman and Elijah Wood, both famed child stars, speaking out.
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) October 30, 2017
One would be remiss to ignore the hypocrisy of it all. After all, those in this line of work–specifically, its outspoken liberal actors–have taken it upon themselves to preach the importance of progressive politics: feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice and the general equality of all. While these ideals of an equal society are good, how do they sound from a segment that is now tampered by its own problems of assault and the victimization of countless women, men and children? It is difficult listening to Kate Winslet speak out against Weinstein, knowing that she most recently worked with the infamous Woody Allen. The statements they make are important; they just ring a little hollow.
However, it is important to ask ourselves if our focus and judgment of the responses of Winslet and her peers in the Hollywood industry is too limited in scope and hypocritical, itself. These issues neither started in Hollywood nor will they end there, so it is wrong to look to Hollywood as the sole player. Before it was Weinstein or Spacey, it was Bill O’Reilly, defamed Fox News Host. And before it was O’Reilly, it was Donald Trump, our very own Pu**y-Grabber-in-chief. And before him, it was high ranking executives at Uber. And so on; and so on.
That is not to say “gotcha!” back at the conservatives, “you have a sexual assault problem, too!” Rather, it is to say that sexual assault and other instances of abuse of power are not just Hollywood’s problem, but a struggle that exists all throughout America. From politics to business to education to the arts, people are facing instances of inappropriate workplace behavior and power-based personal violence. And that is what it is: not attraction or sexual lust, but an abuse of power.
As the number of “#metoo”s from women and men across social media platforms rise, we see that these assaults are not limited to a specific environment, nor are they limited to a specific population of people. It is everywhere, and it is harmful. With survivors of sexual assault both in the workplace and outside of it speaking out, we are able to realize the full extent to which this problem exists. Public awareness of sexual assault may be on the rise, but that is because we are finally beginning to discuss the issues in such a public way – not to mention the agency the internet has graced us with in allowing us to tell our stories on our own time.
Making sexual violence Hollywood’s problem keeps us from reflecting on how it presents itself in our own lives. While we continue to be shocked by our latest celebrity crush’s transition from sex appeal to sexual assaulter, we must also look into our own sphere for existing problems. That is how we can begin to make a change.
Photo Taken from Curbed LA