by WorldTribune Staff, November 13, 2017
A liberal showbiz elite in 2009 proudly proclaimed: “Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion.”
The person who said it? Harvey Weinstein.
A moral reckoning has come to “an industry that likes to portray itself as America’s conscience while also allowing predators like Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, et al. to flourish behind the ‘open secret’ of their own evils,” columnist Sean O’Neal wrote for AV Club.
Fox News pointed out that Weinstein made the above statement about the same time he wrote a passionate defense of Roman Polanski.
“Sin and iniquity have been baked into the movie business since its very beginning, and we’ve always just sort of accepted it,” O’Neal wrote.
“You don’t have to buy into half of Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon to know that showbiz was built on lecherous men leveraging their power over young and desperate women (men, too, but mostly women) in order to behave like mad, unchecked Roman emperors.
“Weinstein is just a descendant of every mogul who’s stashed a ‘casting couch’ since the days of Louis B. Mayer – the guy made a teenaged Judy Garland sit on his lap while he groped her breasts and helped turn the town into, as Marilyn Monroe put it, an ‘overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses.’ That grotesque power dynamic – and the ‘you’ll never work in this town again’ culture of fear it creates – has lived long enough to become a clichéd awards show joke. It is the shadowy undercurrent beneath Hollywood’s glitzy veneer, and if this town is going to champion itself as some liberal bastion for equality, progressivism, and noble ideals, it must first reckon with all the creeps who not so secretly run it.”
It is starting to look like “this reckoning might finally have arrived,” O’Neal wrote.
“In the wake of the Weinstein allegations, encouraged by the way his quick toppling swiftly eroded that culture of fear, we’ve seen so more of those nasty little ‘open secrets’ thoroughly investigated and exposed than ever before. Some of these secrets were more open than others: We’ve known for years that Steven Seagal and Brett Ratner behave disgustingly toward women, for example, only to see those stories come and go with only minor controversy. We’ve spent just as long whispering about the rumors of Louis CK’s sick proclivity for forcing women to watch him masturbate, only to get lost in the debate over whether rumors, however many, are enough to believe.”
O’Neal continued: “Some, like Jeremy Piven, just seemed like they were probably assholes. Others, like Dustin Hoffman, just seemed like they weren’t, even when we had years of anecdotal evidence to the contrary. (In Hoffman’s case, I keep thinking of an interview I did years ago with Teri Garr, where she laughed off the fact that he would just ‘grab her butt’ while they were shooting Tootsie, as though it were just something she had to put up with—because it was.) Some, like Bryan Singer, must wake up every day now grabbing for their phones, waiting for that proverbial other shoe to drop.
“Although these are individual cases necessitating individual responses, we all must acknowledge that their shared existence was made possible by a business that has, demonstrably, long thrived on abuse. And together, they represent a purge that’s long overdue.
“It would be nice to credit this to some genuine soul-searching on Hollywood’s part. The truth is these things happened because of power and money and a dwindling thereof, with Harvey Weinstein’s stock plummeting to where he was finally no longer worth protecting, and the other accusations snowballing from there. Still, it’s happening. And it’s all part of a genuine ablution the industry has been forced to undertake, after so many years of preaching its own virtuousness, by no longer being able to remain so blissfully ‘out of touch’ – a slowly turning tide toward giving more than just lip service to the ideas of representation, pay equality, and no longer condoning or covering up for depraved monsters just because they get great box office.”