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Will Hollywood Change After Harvey Weinstein?

October 23, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Harvey Weinstein - Dick Ebersol

For an industry dedicated to making dreams come true on the big screen, Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes nightmare is quickly coming to light. In a recent interview with the BBC, actor Tom Hanks was asked his opinion on Harvey Weinstein. Hanks was clear that he believes there is no way for him to come back from this and this is “a watershed moment,” and “a sea change” is coming. Hanks also believes that the name Weinstein is going to “become a noun and a verb.” He will be the poster boy for this cultural change, and his name “will become an identifying moniker” for the culture as it stands now.

Just the other day, Oscar-nominated writer-director James Toback was accused of sexually harassing at least 38 women stemming back to at least the 1980s. A Los Angeles Times report explains that some of the women were looking for jobs in the entertainment industry while others were simply approached and hit on by Toback. 31 of the women agreed to speak on the record, and they all detailed various incidents in which Toback allegedly made lewd suggestions, spoke about sexually explicit topics, and rubbed against them until he ejaculated into his pants or on their bodies.

“The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done,’” actress Adrienne LaValley said of a 2008 hotel room incident that ended with Toback trying to rub his crotch against her leg. When she recoiled, he stood up and ejaculated in his pants. “I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone.”

Toback denies the allegations but this developing story will have more to come.

It’s no surprise that men in power used their influence to rape, harass, and demean men and women with promises of fame or money. As more and more stories pop up, we’re getting a very clear picture of how some operate in Hollywood. Already the Weinstein scandal is bringing out the a truth that’s long been hidden. In the past two weeks, more than 40 women have come forward with allegations of rape, sexual harassment or assault against Weinstein since the New York Times first published an article exposing decades of his alleged misdeeds. Through a spokesperson, Weinstein has denied “any allegations of nonconsensual sex.”

As we find out “who knew what”, some are speaking out and admitting they could have done more. Director Quentin Tarantino, a frequent Weinstein collaborator, said in an interview that he had heard accounts of abuse by Weinstein and regrets not acting on it.

“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino told The New York Times. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things. I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” he added. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”

It’s also making many relook at past scandals that seem to have been brushed aside. Woody Allen’s upcoming movie contains some awkward scenes involving an older man having sex with young starlets, which is drawing fair attention. Allen has faced his own allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has denied.

Last week, Allen drew criticism when he said that it was “tragic for the poor women that were involved” and “sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up,” but warned against starting a “witch-hunt atmosphere” in Hollywood, where “every guy in an ­office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.”

Then we have the case of Roman Polanski. Marianne Barnard, a California artist, has come out with allegations that Polanski molested her two years before he fled the United States after pleading guilty to statutory rape.

Barnard was 10 years old at the time of the incident, which allegedly occurred in 1975. Barnard’s mother took her to meet Polanski at a Malibu beach. Barnard had done some modeling and at first thought nothing of the encounter. She said Polanski photographed her in a fur coat and bikini.

“Then he said, ‘Take off the bikini top,’ which I was comfortable with, as I was only 10 and I often ran around with no top on,” Barnard said. “But then he wanted me to take my bikini bottoms off. I started to feel very uncomfortable. Then at some point I realized my mom had gone. I don’t know where she went and I didn’t really register her leaving, but she was no longer there. Then he molested me.”

In 2002, 25 years after Polanski admitted to sexually assaulting 13-year-old Samantha Geimer but left the U.S. before being sentenced, the Academy awarded him an Oscar for best director for the Holocaust drama The Pianist.

Since Geimer’s accusations in 1977, three other women have accused Polanski, who has never returned to the U.S., of sexually assaulting them as teenagers. Bernard has filed a report with the sex crimes unit of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, according to The Sun.

So what comes next? Does Hollywood come clean, apologize, and reform? How can they condemn Weinstein while supporting Polanski? How many more people will come out with allegations and what other names will come out.

For years Corey Feldman has spoken about his own sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men in Hollywood. Is there an even bigger bombshell waiting to be dropped?

article topics :

Harvey Weinstein, Steve Gustafson