Over the past few months, the Harvey Weinstein rape scandals have opened the door for more brave women and men to come forward and expose the ugliness that Hollywood has been covering up for years. Former child stars like Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood and Corey Feldman have been trying to expose the culture of sexual abuse for years. The most recent of which is Dominick Brascia being exposed as the person who molested the late Corey Haim when he was just 13 years old. Brascia was the one who accused Charlie Sheen (a known violent abuser of women) of molesting Corey Haim. Haim’s mother came forward recently to say that it was, in fact, Brascia who was the culprit.
For decades, the public has chosen to give the benefit of the doubt to their beloved stars and accuse the victims of trying to get a quick payout from the scandal. Bill Cosby still has a few fans left who defend him. There are people more upset that Kevin Spacey has been fired from their favourite TV show than they are about the boys he sexually assaulted. We have invested so much of ourselves into hero worshipping an image of these celebrities that the industry has built for them, that we would rather first blame victims before seeing this image fall from grace. This is the problem in our society that the Harvey Weinstein scandals have exposed. It’s turned a mirror towards our own ugliness and shown the truth behind why victims take so long to come forward; because nothing gets done about it, the victims are shamed and humiliated, the perpetrators are too powerful and Hollywood keeps rewarding monsters long after they’ve ruined the lives of many people. I can’t claim that I, in any way, know how the victims feel. I can only hope that the victims find justice and I can only express my anger that the entertainment industry has showered criminals with adoration. Need an example of how Hollywood has turned a blind eye to it all and continued to praise these animals?
Here are 5 times Hollywood has rewarded sexual abuse.
In 2010 Affleck was accused of sexual harassment and intent to harm by two different women on the set of one of his independent films. The case was settled out of court but the fact that he was accused of harming these young actresses was never looked into again. In 2016 the Academy chose to acknowledge him by nominating and eventually awarding him with the Oscar for best actor. Many critics came out to speak in opposition of this, saying “even just being nominated—will likely lead to Affleck gaining more power, money and influence in Hollywood. Granting men accused of hurting women more power, perpetuates a cycle of sexism in the industry.”
Ok, let’s first talk about Jimmy Savile. I promise it’s going to lead back to Hitchcock.
Jimmy Savile was a beloved British TV icon and national hero. The U.K. loved him so much that they named places after him, gave him a knighthood and erected a statue honouring him. However, after his death, the public found out who he truly was. Scotland Yard was quoted as calling him a “predatory sex offender”. No less than 214 offences have been recorded with at least 34 of them confirmed rapes. After this, his knighthood was taken away (though Wikipedia still lists him as Sir James Savile), signage with his name was removed, his statue was torn down and even his headstone was removed. Last Week Tonight host, John Oliver, explained it best – “Once we found out that he was a monster, we accepted that it was no longer appropriate to publicly glorify him.”
What does this have to do with Alfred Hitchcock?
Tippi Hedren, star of The Birds and Marnie, accused the late Oscar-nominated director of sexually assaulting her. I made a point of saying “the late Oscar-nominated” director because it is important to note that this woman only found the courage to expose him after he had died. He was so powerful and his reputation remains so powerful in the industry today that this is probably the first time you’ve heard of Tippi Hedren and still think “Oh but he wasn’t convicted”. Hollywood continues to praise his work without mentioning anything about how he treated women. Why has there been no investigation like with Jimmy Savile? Is Hollywood so desperate to maintain the public image they’ve created around Hitchcock that they don’t want to risk the truth coming out and bringing justice for Tippi Hedren?
On one occasion, Hedren claims in her memoir, Hitchcock came into her dressing room on the set of Marnie and “put his hands on me. It was sexual, it was perverse. The harder I fought him, the more aggressive he became.” (The Hollywood Reporter – Patrick Shanley)
Hedren never worked on another Hitchcock film. Her experiences with Hitchcock became the subject of the 2012 Emmy-nominated HBO movie The Girl. Emmy nominated and most of you reading this have still only heard of her now. That’s how powerful Hollywood is at sweeping things under the rug.
You know his films. No need to even mention his career. The only thing that needs to be said about this disgusting human being is that he molested his step daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was 7 years old. Allen’s biological son, Ronan, also came forward to defend Dylan by saying that he believes everything his sister said (Ronan was the journalist, who exposed Harvey Weinstein). Dylan Farrow has consistently been coming forward to publicly expose Woody Allen throughout her childhood and well into adulthood. Still, fans praise him, Hollywood honours him and his career flourishes at every turn. Even after he married his adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, he received numerous film accolades and was praised for his work. This is a guy who in a live interview stated that his marriage works because of the father/daughter relationship he had with Soon-Yi before they became intimate. We can’t be ok with this psycho grooming a child to become his wife. Even now, after Hollywood seems to be exiling celebrities involved in sexual abuse scandals, Woody Allen’s new film is still set to be released and celebrities around the world are still showering him with praise and begging to be in his films.
Marlon Brando & Bernardo Bertolucci:
Marlon Brando & Bernardo Bertolucci conspired to film a non-consensual rape scene in Last Tango In Paris.
19-year-old actress, Maria Schneider, spoke about this on numerous occasions in interviews but her outcry fell on deaf ears. She said that the scene was not in the original script and while the act was simulated, her tears were real. Director Barnardo Bertolucci defended himself by saying that there was no real violence but that he kept Schneider in the dark about the scene and didn’t want her to know “what was going on, because I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to react humiliated”. He claims that he and Brando did it for the sake of “authenticity”. Marlon Brando was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor and Barnardo Bertolucci nominated for best director for this film.
This again brings up the debate of consent and why Brando and Bertolucci were allowed to get away with this, praised, rewarded and the victim was shamed into keeping quiet.
If we look at the example of Vanessa Williams, we can clearly see the double standard prevalent in the entertainment industry.
Vanessa Williams was the first African-American to win the Miss America title in 1983. Near the end of her reign, unauthorised nude pictures of her were published in Penthouse magazine. After pressure from the Miss America Organisation, Vanessa Williams resigned her title. She was, however, too smart and too talented and too strong to let this stop her from continuing to achieve a prolific career in film, TV, music and fashion. A statue should be erected in her honour.
So why was she crucified for nude pics published without her consent but Brando and Bertolucci didn’t see any repercussions for their actions? Should the academy not have stripped them of their achievements like the Miss America Organisation wanted from Vanessa Williams after her “scandal”?
This is probably the most famous case of Hollywood rewarding sexual abuse. Roman Polanski admitted to sex with a minor but after finding out that the judge was planning to prosecute him for the full sentence of child molestation, Polanski fled the country. Many articles use tame language to describe the course of events. They say he had “inappropriate relations with a teenager”, avoiding the truth of saying that he drugged and raped a 13 year old child. He admitted to it and even while the FBI and Interpol have an open case against him, Hollywood continues to glorify him. He has since won numerous Academy Awards.
If you read his Wikipedia page, the first thing that gets mentioned is that he’s a French/Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. This is an injustice to the victim whose life he ruined. His Wikipedia page should simply start with “Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański (born 18 August 1933) is a child molester who is a fugitive from the U.S criminal justice system.
Hollywood needs to clean house and start publicly stripping these monsters of their accolades like they did with Jimmy Savile. They live for their reputations and we as a society need to stop glorifying these demons if only to give some kind of justice to the victims. Find them, expose them, convict them and bury them under the prison.
That is all.
Thanks for doing this. I know the risk branding-wise. Thanks exe
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This is a really good article. Both sexes were presented equally – an accurate description of how this is not only an issue that women face but men too.
It’s disgusting that we commemorate people who have harmed and harassed others to get where they want. These people of power should not only be stripped of their titles, they should be castrated and put into a mental hospital because only a sicko can do these things. They do not deserve the fame and glory that has been placed upon them. It doesn’t matter how artistic and wonderful your work is – if you cannot keep it in your pants then you should not be working with people – the same applies for people who are classified as child predators – they will never be able to be released into a normal community again. Why are these same standards not applied to people of fame.
I hope for the sake of all actors (who are professionals and experts in their fields) that this Harvey Weinstein case will allow for some form of transformation with regards to standards and contracts in the industry. Unfortunately this is not an issue that only the entertainment industry faces but something that is a true problem in society as a whole.
What we need to be asking is where is this form of behavior and sexual preferences coming from? Is it the way these men have been raised? Is it what they were exposed to when they themselves came into the industry? Is it what children watch on TV or how society has inflicted it’s gender roles onto them from a young age? What is the true fundamental root of this sick behavior – here is where we need to address, act and rectify. For too long women and children have been seen as the inferior and yes, gender roles have been changing over the years, but there is not enough support that will allow victims to feel like they have the power and not the predators. A victim of sexual abuse has the power to destroy someone life, career, marriage etc. but they cannot do it on their own.
I do believe that we are more equal now across the globe than we ever have been, but this is only the start. There is still a lot more work, exposure, awareness and teachings that needs to be done so that this can progress and essentially one day we will have standards that are met in all industries.