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Sexual Harassment in Hollywood

Updated: Feb 15, 2018

by Jonah Reilly

Columns Editor

In 1200 BC, Ancient Anatolian people known as The Hittites discovered that one could detract iron from its ore to create an opaque, hard, shiny material that could be used for a multitude of ways. It was donned metal. In 1826, Joseph Nicephore Niepce discovered that one could a movable mirror to reflect beams of light onto said material, engraving an image onto it. This act was donned photography.

In 1843, Anna Atkins used cyanotype printing to produce multiple photographs and string them together in a book. In 1874, Julia Margaret Cameron found a way to use this photo-book method to tell a story. In 1880, Eadweard Muybridge discovered that one could project a series of storytelling photographs to such a speed that it would look like a moving picture. It was donned “Sallie Gardner at a Gallop”, and is arguably cited as the film.

Technology has advanced from as soon as human beings had more than one cell. In our present day, there are countless movie theatres with countless moving pictures. People have boxes in their houses with countless channels with countless programs. Everyone has a computer and a television all wrapped up into a telephone that can fit in their pocket. People can forget that it all came from The Hittites pulling iron from its ore. Our evolution as a species is astounding, until one realizes that in 1200 BC, women didn’t have equal respect. In 1826, women didn’t have respect. In 1843, women didn’t have respect. In 1874, women didn’t have respect. In 1880, women didn’t have respect. In our present day? Women don’t have respect.

Eyes can be rolled at this notion, the terms “feminazi” can be hurled, it doesn’t change the fact that this is the situation we’re living in. Sexism and sexual harassment is infesting Hollywood, and it’s trying to be covered up, like putting duct tape on a foundation crack.

This issue has reared its ugly head with the recent accusations against actors such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, and too many more. These accusations are appalling, disgusting, revolting. The only thing worse than these accusations is the fact that sexism in this industry has been largely ignored up until this point.

Of course, there is the typical ridiculous expectations held against women in the business. Women are expected to be thinner, younger, and quieter. During the filming of “The Wizard of Oz”, Judy Garland received abuse that was absolutely disgusting and utterly atrocious. When Garland tried to eat a snack, producers would literally smack food out of her hand as she held it to her mouth. When Garland giggled at Bert Lahr during the filming of the Cowardly Lion scene, the director got so frustrated he slapped Garland across the face. Did the actors playing the Tin Man, Scarecrow, or Cowardly Lion get food smacked out of their hands? Did they get physically abused simply because they laughed at something that was funny? No. In fact, the actor playing the Wizard himself was allowed to bring his flask onto set and drink in between takes. This heinous maltreatment is disturbing and appalling, and to suspect its intent was anything but misogyny is ignorant.

If you don’t believe in rumours that may or may not have happened behind the camera, just turn on your television to see the expectations held against actors versus the expectations held against actresses. Take a look at shows like Modern Family, Doctor Who, Friends, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. All of these shows have couples that age differences range from 11 years apart to 26 years apart. In all of these examples and a revolting amount more, the female in the relationship is always younger. Age isn’t the only issue, look at shows like Family Guy, The Simpsons, Married with Children, Everybody Loves Raymond. All of these and many, many more have the same simple-minded plot. A relatable average joe, who happens to be a complete slob and loves watching sports and drinking beer, deals with his goofball group of dude-friends, his eccentric son and daughter, and his nagging, but conventionally attractive, and alarmingly underwritten wife. Remember that show with the woman who was a complete slob, loved drinking beer and watching sports, and had to deal with a nagging, but conventionally attractive, and alarmingly underwritten husband? Yeah, neither does anyone else on the face of this planet.

However, the problem reaches through the unbalanced screen and into the shocking treatment via men in the film and television industry. Judy Garland’s mistreatment in The Wizard of Oz was disturbing and jolting, but that was the 1930’s, right? This is 2017, right? We’ve evolved as a species, right? This stuff doesn’t happen any more, right? Victims of Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Russell Simmons, Mark Schwahn, Andrew Keisberg, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Ed Westwick, Brett Ratner, Jeremy Piven, Andy Dick, Kevin Spacey, Mark Halperin, Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Affleck, George Takei, Charlie Sheen, Steven Seagal, even former president George H.W. Bush, and too many more. These accusations vary from verbal harassment, unwanted groping, and even rape.

These revolting human beings who dare to call themselves respectable in any way are utterly sickening. These dogs who call themselves men make me ashamed to not only be a man, but to be a human being at all. These nauseating slimes believe that they have a wolfish claim over the female body, and for what reason? Because they’re (formerly) respected in their craft? Because they’re men, and therefore women should be subsequent? What gives these snakes a right to use another human being’s body for their own will, without consent? What makes them think it’s okay to put their grubby hands on the most intimate parts of someone else’s body?

Worst of all, why are the fans of these scummish humans so quick to deny the claims? We get it, you think Ben Affleck is a great actor, (although personally I can’t imagine why someone would think that) However, when there is video evidence showing Affleck groping a helpless girl that you can access as simply as typing in the search bar of YouTube, it might mean that something actually happened.

Women aren’t the only victims of this scandal. George Takei is being accused of sexually assaulting former model Scott R. Brunton. Kevin Spacey has been accused by fifteen different people, all men, most who were underage at the time of the assaults. For those who are too blind to see the threat of these attacks: I’ll dumb it down. If some random old guy ran up to you and grabbed your genitals, I’m assuming you wouldn’t be too happy about it.

It might not seem like much to many of those who haven’t been assaulted in this type of way, but this stuff ruins lives. Victims of abuse are constantly haunted by the memory of this happening. Every time they close their eyes they can replay it in their minds, every time they breathe in they can smell the room in which it happened, and then everything can just come whopping back full force like a punch in the throat, and they have to relive the horror of your body being stolen from you and used to someone else’s disgusting urges. What could possibly make this worse? Seeing their face plastered on every poster, seeing them win awards and acclaim across the board for their craft, when only you have known the darkest side of them, seen the Mr. Hyde to their Dr. Jekyll.

To conclude, it’s time to eliminate the dynamic of women and men in film and television. Make the roles of men and women equal, and recognize Recognize and stop excusing sexism and sexual abuse of any kind. Some of the accused, such as Louis C.K. and Jeffrey Tambor, action has already been taken, and they’ve been pulled from ongoing projects and publicly shamed on social media, but this is not the case with enough of the accused. Whether it’s because there’s less victims speaking out, or because not enough light has been shown on the cases, immediate action has not been taking.

These actors and producers are still at work, making films and television shows that might be critically acclaimed and might be award-winning, but made in some part by people who are corrupt in so many absolutely outrageous ways. These pigs don’t deserve fame, they don’t deserve recognition, they don’t deserve anything other than to be seen as the criminals that they are. Even those who have been pulled out of projects and shamed will probably have a “comeback” in years to come. Chris Brown, who beat his girlfriend to a pulp for crying out loud, was only gone from the public eye for a a few years tops, and then was welcomed back into fame with open arms. As the entertainment-viewing public, we can not allow this to happen. These men are nothing more than sexual predators, and should not be viewed as anything but. Assailants such as these men should be forever absent from anything resembling the widespread media, and should remain dormant and out of work like the dust-collecting skeletons they are certain to become.

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