Fate of #MeToo now rests in our hands

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 4:29 PM

When “Goonies” and “Stand By Me” actor Corey Feldman attempted to discuss the sexual abuse of children in Hollywood on “The View” in 2013, host Barbara Walters exclaimed, “You’re damaging an entire industry!” However, damage to an industry that allows sexual abuse and misconduct to be swept under multi-million dollar rugs and defamation lawsuits sounds like justice well deserved.

Hollywood had the first spotlight of the #MeToo movement, which swept across the globe thanks to a tweet by actress Alyssa Milano. It stated, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet” on Oct. 15, 2017. Since then, millions of men and women have shared their stories of abuse through the hashtag, originally created by activist Tarana Burke, bringing awareness to an issue too commonly dismissed or forgotten.

Many came forward in the movement, but entertainers often feign surprise about the predatory behaviors of their co-stars in films and claim that the accused entertainer “never behaved that way toward me!” Yet, when we examine how widespread the abuse is, and how many people are coming forward, it just does not add up. Although this issue is out in the open right now, it is not willingly being addressed or pursued to the fullest extent by the people in the entertainment industry.

Directors and actors who have time and time again been accused of sexual abuse and misconduct, such as Woody Allen, Bryan Singer and Harvey Weinstein (one of the biggest guilty parties), are too often released on bail or their cases dismissed due to “lack of evidence.”

The Hollywood #MeToo movement also neglected a much more vulnerable population of entertainers — the children in the industry who are being molested and abused behind the scenes by directors, producers, actors and talent scouts. The 2015 documentary, “An Open Secret,” discusses the rampant abuse that child actors face in the entertainment industry. Not surprisingly, the documentary received no financial backing or publicity from anyone in Hollywood, demonstrating that money is placed above the welfare of innocent lives.

What little movement existed in Hollywood is unfortunately losing momentum, especially with disgraced entertainers returning to the circuit, such as comedian Louis C.K., who is hitting stages again after being accused of sexual assault by five women. Not to mention, a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement, actress Asia Argento, has recently been accused of paying for the silence of Jimmy Bennett, who she allegedly assaulted in 2013, when he was 17 years old.

Even more recently, in an interview from Porter Edit with Robin Wright, co-star of Kevin Spacey on Netflix’s “House of Cards,” she was asked whether Spacey deserves a second chance. Her response: “I believe every human being has the ability to reform. In that sense, second chances, or whatever you are going to call it — absolutely, I believe in that. It’s called growth.”

This leads us to the question: should people who have sexually assaulted others be forgiven? Should we overlook their treatment of others for the sake of their careers or for art’s sake?

I say, absolutely not. People who commit these heinous acts know that they are wrong. They can absolutely grow and learn from their mistakes, but because they abused their power and abused other human beings, they no longer deserve a platform. Consent is not a new or foreign concept to anyone who engages in sexual relations. Why should we support people who abuse and hurt others when we could support entertainers who don’t do that? These people, these abusers, are only sorry they got caught and that bad publicity damaged their careers.
We saw hundreds of young girls who suffered through abuse by U.S. Olympic physician Larry Nassar come forth, hundreds of girls who could have been spared if someone took action after the first accusation. Does he deserve a second chance just because he’s aware that what he did was wrong? Should we still let him work with the public as a doctor?

The people who you watch on screen are often not who you think they are. What you see about these celebrities is information controlled and filtered by publicists and the airtight seal of money arrangements — it is not the truth.

In the case of sexual abuse, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Listen to the survivors. If people are coming forward with painfully detailed stories of their abuse, trust that they’re telling the truth.

I urge you as consumers, as the financial backers of these pieces of entertainment, to be aware of who and what you’re supporting. There are thousands upon thousands of wonderfully creative and talented actors, writers, artists and musicians who do not abuse and prey on people. The internet has made it easier than ever to find these creators, and I urge you to embrace their work.

Livia Homerski can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: opinions

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