Stop Rewarding Abusers In Hollywood

In May of 2017, Kathy Griffin made a decision that torpedoed her career. When TMZ released a picture of the Emmy-award winning comedian holding Trumps’ decapitated head, her life on the D-List seemed resigned to life on the No-List. She was fired from CNN, investigated by the Secret Service, and denounced by longtime friend Anderson Cooper for her actions. Though she had crossed the line before, with jokes showcasing extreme internalized misogyny and misguided racism, she had never faced punishment this severe. With no steady gigs flowing in, it appeared she would just be another memory of comedy’s past.

Griffin was fired from CNN after posting a photo holding Trump’s decapitated head.

At least, so it had seemed.

Griffin is on the brink of a comeback. After selling out Carnegie Hall in less than 24 hours, her career is not as dead as it appeared to be when she was fired from CNN. She met the overwhelming response of ticket sales with a thank you tweet, as is courtesy to do when your career has been resuscitated. Friends and fans poured love out to Griffin online, appreciative she was back on the comedy radar once more. Fellow comedian Bette Midler pointed out the backlash following the event for what it was, an injustice maintained by inequality, stating:

“Congratulations and welcome back! You were in Show Biz jail longer than the Stanford rapist was in real jail!”

It’s no secret women are awarded less chances to mess up than men. In the words of Griffin herself, “when you’re a woman, you get one f—up and it’s over.” Men who legitimately hurt and traumatize people don’t face nearly as much punishment as women do. In a field where everything is consistently observed under a magnifying glass, we’re given visibility to everyone’s mistakes, and consequently given the opportunity to decide how we prosecute them. Finally, now, is the chance to rewrite history. To change the narrative. Yet, for all the steps society takes forward, it seems like Hollywood is standing relatively still. Abusers are being cast in cartoons. Assailants are winning Oscars. Times are changing, certainly, but are we still perpetuating the same ideals? Regardless of progress?

DeadPool 2 is a comic book adaptation scheduled to release on May 18th. It’s predecessor, DeadPool, brought in around $500 million dollars in less than two weeks, indicating the next installment will no doubt be a blockbuster hit. Of the actors cast, T.J. Miller, who recently called in a bomb threat to La Guardia airport, is on the bill as bar manager Weasel. Despite being accused of penetrating a woman with a beer bottle, Miller will be playing on-screen in theaters across America for up to two months.

The solution seems easy. Cut these men from modern vernacular to set an example for those who follow. Yet, as time moves forward, roles are still rewarded. Recently, it was announced Jeffrey Tambor will star in Arrested Developments’ season return despite accusations of sexual harassment. The ex-Transparent star will still have transparency with loyal Arrested Development fans. Fans who will continue consuming media representing past offenders considering its long standing nature.

The question remains. What is the appropriate amount of time to wait before turning a blind eye to past transgressions? For James Franco, the answer was three years. When he won an Academy Award for his performance in The Disaster Artist, people were uneasy, but unsure why. It took Ally Sheedy to remind everyone of his history harassing a 17-year-old to have sex with him in 2014. It would be defiant to outright cut these people from the industry entirely, and many think this may be extreme due to anonymous defamation, but what message does it send to keep casting them? To keep rewarding them?

Hollywood is rampant with male entertainers. Comedy is one sub-genre of that. A field decidedly dominated by men, for men. Women have been told for years that being funny is synonymous with being undesirable. That being loud is wrong. At the hands of silencers, their desire to not speak up, for risk of losing their jobs, have silenced them further in to submission. From small-scale incidents, like when comic Marcia Belsky was banned from Facebook for saying “men are scum” to large-scale incidents, like when Katie Rich was suspended from SNL after a questionable tweet, women in comedy constantly facing stricter scrutiny than our male colleagues. Both now and then.

Jenny Slate was fired from SNL after dropping an f-bomb on live TV.

There is a long way to go when it comes to undoing an established history of awarding abusers and the conversation starts with how we handle them, both on a large and small-scale. Women in comedy consistently run the risk of bumping in to abusers in the scene or even getting sued by abusers in the scene. Reductress writer Jasmin Pierce faced this when calling out alleged rapist Aaron Glaser for having nonconsensual sex with an intoxicated woman. In the interview, Pierce reported she had been silenced by Glaser’s’ threat to sue her for $38 million dollars, stating “In my opinion, this was an attempt to silence me, and it was successful,” It is on the shoulders of women to shield others in the scene from traumatizing men. Abusers whose actions are ruled out because they’re “nice men” or “colleagues.”Abusers who are probably influenced by people like Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari.

If we are going to truly progress in the wake of the #Metoo movement, we need to start with celebrities whose messages reach a wide audience of people, specifically, those perpetuating the problem. Take opportunities away from men who set examples for other men. We have laid a foundation for entertainment to thrive in the hands of abusers and now, have the chance to change that. If we don’t, men will grow up to understand that abuse can still go rewarded. That Kobe Bryant can allegedly rape a 19-year-old, settle a case out of court, admit their may not have been consent, and still win an Oscar. That Gary Oldman can allegedly hit his wife with a telephone and still win an Oscar. That Johnny Depp can also allegedly hit his wife and still star in a film that will play to a large audience of children.

To shape the future, we must amend the past. As we move forward, there are signs this double standard is beginning to change. People who have worked with Woody Allen are beginning to denounce him. Ridley Scott recast Kevin Spacey in All The Money In The World. To combat assault, we must eradicate the people fostering it for good. Make it harder for them to get jobs in the industry. We must protect those who need protection from them. Even if it costs us business.

By giving assailants roles, Hollywood is saying coercion and violence can still yield success. That eventually, conversation will die down and collective conscious will allow enough time to pass to forget these mistakes. They’ll still get cast as lovable side kicks in Marvel movies while well meaning people are benched for anonymity. Instead of allowing collective conscious to forgive, conversation should never stop. Every movie they’re cast in should feature links to news reports detailing past accusations. Otherwise we’ll end up with another event of James Franco. Another event of Johnny Depp. Another event of Gary Oldman winning an Oscar only to remind us that in the wake of #Metoo, we are still awarding abusers with negligence.

The film industry, like any business, thrives on connections. Big names bring in big bucks and soon, mistakes are forgotten. Forgiven. Being silent is being complicit. With Hollywood’s history of elevating actors despite allegations, the entertainment industry is in need for a serious makeover. Awarding these men with roles sends a message to a substantial amount of people, that past violence can still result in success. Conversation has changed and with it, so has decision. So should, decision. Hollywood should, and needs, to give roles to new people. It should allow visibility to those who can be a substantial voice in the #Metoo movement.

If we are ever going to make up for ghosts of entertainment’s past, we need to start making conscious efforts to combat assault. Starting at the top.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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contributor at Reductress. all around terrible person.
Edited by SaraiMW, alexbolano92.

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29 Comments

  1. Brian
    0

    It makes you wonder if an individual’s cultural contributions outweigh crimes.

  2. Bennie
    0

    Not just hollywood. In fact less hollywood.

    • Labbe
      1

      No just Hollywood. Churches both Catholic and Protestant. Children’s Homes. Other places that are not allowed to be mentioned.

  3. Letty
    0

    Trouble is people want things to be black and white. Evil charmless villains or goodlooking, morally upstanding, talented goodies. They can’t equate their charming, thoughtful, funny friend with someone who’d do that to a child, woman etc.

  4. Thu Self
    0

    Finally someone has the guts to say what I have been thinking.

  5. Thank you for saying this! You articulately stated why it was wrong to continue casting abusers/awarding abusers. Why the #MeToo movement isn’t something to scoff at/ignore. A lot of women I know argue that the people receiving end of the abuse knew what they were getting into/are just seeking revenge because they didn’t get as famous as they wanted. Having the power to start someone career, holding it over someone’s head in return for sex–or thinking you’re invincible and can violate those around you because of your namesake . . . I mean, it’s just wrong, isn’t it? I don’t care that that’s how Hollywood has operated for years and years. It’s shit. The whole world needs an attitude adjustment, idk. I’m exhausted.

  6. Bateman
    0

    Thank you for this excellent article.

  7. Elois
    0

    Anyone in Hollywood who supports the #metoo or #timesup campaigns, but continues to support Polanski is a shameless hypocrite.

    • Pike
      0

      It’s absolutely amazing who some of Polanski’s supporters are!

    • ttaan
      0

      For me it’s less whether they continue to support him or not and more that they ever supported him in the first place that makes them hypocrites.

      It’s one thing (perhaps understandably) not having the courage to speak up about Polanski, it’s another thing altogether actively choosing to work with a self-confessed (and seemingly unrepentant) rapist or giving him a standing ovation at the Oscars.

  8. Rollan
    0

    Hate the artist, not the art. Once any creation is complete it ceases to belong to the artist and instead belongs to the world.

  9. Darrick
    0

    Hollywood is a cesspool of fake, unprincipled people who will do anything to go far in their careers ( exceptions are there but few and far between )

    An industry where gossip and rumours are abound, there is no way at least the A Listers didn’t know about Weinstein for decades before it came to light to the general public ( there could have been major change a long time back if they actually truly cared and were willing to risk their careers to clean the industry ) but turned their blind eye towards it because in true terms they never cared and even their perceived support for victims now is just for show, they know where the wind is blowing and are happy to go along with it, in a few years it will all die down and it’ll be back to square one )

  10. Harkin
    0

    I am a firm believer in the presumption of innocence, BUT things are not looking good for many in Hollywood.

  11. Barbee
    0

    The usual double standards in life. If anyone thinks the entertainment industry is different they are very naive.

  12. Both James Franco and Kevin Spacey appeared in new trailers this week. As this article points out, Hollywood should absolutely not be giving them roles.

  13. This article is great. Thank you for discussing the differences between the standards for men and women in Hollywood. I feel like articles about celebrities’ misconduct often neglect this.

  14. Amyus

    An interesting, apt and timely article in itself covering a subject that needs, even demands much needed attention in order to expose the cesspit that is the Hollywood studio system. Whilst I recognise that you have focused on Hollywood in particular, your subject could be extended to cover the wider issue of the sexual predation of actresses across the globe. For instance, there was the 2011 suicide of the Korean actress Jang Ja-yeon, who left behind a seven page note detailing the abuse she suffered at the hands of her manager (see: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/09/entertainment/la-ca-cultural-exchange-20110109). Her case is but one of many similar stories. Sexual abuse is also (allegedly) rampant in Bollywood and the European film industry, in fact wherever there is a young, aspiring actor/actress there will inevitably be those who will presume a ‘right’ to predate, for whatever perverted self-reasoning. If the sacred cows of Hollyweird, Bollywood et al need to be sacrificed to clean up the film industry in general then so be it. Thanks for an interesting read.

  15. Kasha
    0

    Polanski and allen were untouchable not in the way weinstein was through sheer power but trough admiration. Those who supported them cant hide behond the hollywood sign

  16. Gil
    0

    Great article, thank you. It’s not clear cut enough for me to disentangle the art from the artist in every instance.

  17. cooolmule
    0

    This cons across at first as a powerful article, but we need to go further in the discussion, we need to understand the attitude itself. The attitude to the art itself.

  18. Xenia
    0

    Hollywood is filled with creeps and hypocrties, that is all that’s clear.

  19. Ocie
    0

    Hollywood – How can you tell when they are not lying?

  20. James Franco won a Golden Globe for The Disaster Artist in 2018, not an Academy Award in 2017. Love the article, just trying to help! 🙂

  21. SaraiMW

    An important discussion to be having about the attitudes within Hollywood. I think this is a topic that will require a series of discussions looking at different aspects before any really true picture can be formed. However, it is important to note that as Amyus above points out, this is not an issue confined only to Hollywood.

  22. Interesting to think about how so many people underestimate the evil and hypocrisy within Hollywood. In order to stop these abusers we must be continuously aware of the harsh effects of these men’s actions.

  23. Yvonne T.

    This may take one back to “The Fappening”, when celebrities’ leaked nude photos came to light and most of the attention went straight to women. It is absurd that there is still a huge inequality gap in many aread between men and women.

  24. A good piece. I was thinking of Michael Jackson sleeping with young boys. When his songs come on the radio I feel the need to change the station. Will Rosanne Barr be allowed to return someday?

  25. Pamela Maria

    very important article. I think it would also be worth pointing out that women, in general, are mistreated in Hollywood. During the height of the #metoo movement, many actresses cited examples of degradation they sustained to get a role. Or how women who work in the industry are looked down upon by male counterparts. The entire Hollywood bubble needs to be popped and re-formed, but as you’ve mentioned, we should definitely stop with rewarding abusers.

  26. A very poignant insight into the dark side of the “Hollywood Ecosystem”, really shows the double standards we hold many to.

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