Three weeks ago to motivate myself to finish my screenplay I decided to arbitrarily proclaim that I want to win an Oscar in order to provide some accountability for my writing. About 2 weeks and 6 days ago revelations about sexual abuses in Hollywood started to come to light – well that is not exactly true, they have been reported for decades but only now have we started listening.
While the idea that one of the (previously) most lauded producers in Hollywood happens to also be
allegedly a prolific sexual abuser might come as a shock to many, from people in the UK this idea is not so surprising though. That is because we have already had this moment. Only a few years ago, as is happening today, revelations seemed to come out daily about your favourite actors, presenters and comedians. In fact, one of the UK’s most prolific sex offenders also happened to be one of the most loved TV personalities of the era. The parallels to the recent revelations are no coincidence as the ingredients for abuse are all there.
So if you’re going to make one big sexual abuse Hollywood shaped cake what are the ingredients you need?
Well, first of all, the base is covered, because the overwhelming majority of all sex offenders are men and in what was, and arguably still is, a patriarchal industry – almost all the ‘movers and shakers’ are men. The second ingredient required is power, and if you haven’t looked up the dictionary definition of ‘mover and shaker’ lately, it pretty much means they are everything when it comes to people’s careers i.e. extremely powerful. A power that includes not only making careers but breaking them too. The financial structure of the Hollywood industry is a free market capitalistic one, meaning all the money flows upwards, so if you make it you will not only be doing a job you have always wanted but you will also have more money than you could ever imagine.
Except you won’t.
This free market capitalistic model is the same structure as seen in the unregulated illegal drug industry. Think of the number of drug dealers, pushers, suppliers and mules there are and then look at the amount of drug lords there are. It is a pyramid and the money always flows upward. The chances of anyone actually reaching the top are extremely small meaning the vast majority of drug lord hopefuls are left with all the risk and no money. Drug lords use their wealth and power as bait, they leverage it and make the people lower down the pyramid do things like murder, rape and steal for their own benefit. If the footmen do these things they will edge their way up the pyramid; refuse and they will go nowhere.
That is essentially the same structure seen in Hollywood. The vast majority of actors have no money and they are left with all the risk. To progress up the pyramid they are open to exploitation. Which is a very polite way of saying producers (and actors) use(d) their wealth and power to rape, assault and deprave people for their own benefit under the guise that it is helping the person they are exploiting.
First and foremost* the bravery of the victims to speak up in the face of such a system should be commended, the physical and emotional pain they must feel when opening up about these abuses cannot be understated. Also by speaking out, they know that unless the system changes their careers are over*
and will be vilified by other men who blame them for being raped. The more people that speak out the quicker we will see justice and change.
All implicated companies, actors and producers will, however, scramble to cover up what they can, that is for sure. This is what happened in the UK and even the mighty BBC was one of the organisations that systematically protected sex abusers by never reporting what they knew. Also prepare for directors, managers, actors and other industry workers to suddenly have a terrible memory. They will remember when Marlon Brando gave them a broach to say thank you for giving him a lift to the airport in 1965 but they won’t remember the numerous allegations of rape and abuse throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Another problem with Hollywood is that it is racist, and considering the alleged abusers (so far) are all white men this does not bode well for the victims (or the industry). Of course in a country where the racist president
cares about his population and women in particular, I am sure we can expect a full in-depth enquiry to be called along with wide-ranging regulations to protect children and adults from abuse in the future currently has a list of alleged victims that is longer than Harvey Weinstein and has been caught on tape proclaiming to assault women, meaning we will see zero action from him.
So where will the change come from? Well, more than likely that will be left to the victims to fight for. For all the empathy and understanding they will get the people in power are the people accused, so the responsibility of change is down to the people who are responsible for the abuse. The organisations that enabled it will want to distance themselves (obviously) and to do so will say they had no part in it and don’t need to change – or that there were just a few ‘bad apples’, again, so they don’t need to change.
As for the writing of my screenplay, I haven’t made a lot of progress this week, which translates to editing the format of 3 pages. I will finish it though and I will do my best to win an Oscar. I’d just like to reiterate, however, that the aim for me to win an Oscar is not to be surrounded by these racist, patriarchal sexual abusers but rather ironically for something they have never had – accountability.
*I realise I’m saying that not first or foremost, and in the middle of the article.
*Ask Colin Kaepernick, who experienced this in different circumstances but in an industry that is refusing to change.