By: Madi VanWyngarden
The past few weeks have marked a flood of sexual assault charges against men in Hollywood, starting with film producer Harvey Weinstein. This October was a devastating month for Weinstein who has been accused of sexually assaulting women for decades. This was followed by even more charges against high-profile actors including: Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, dozens of directors, producers, and screenwriters. Allegations included claims from masses of celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ashley Judd with stories of inappropriate comments, groping, and rape.
The most devastating part of the story is that rumors of sexual assault in Hollywood have been floating around for decades, but it took one New York Times article on Weinstein to expose this dark side of movie making. Turning a blind eye to the problem has done nothing, but encourage this kind of behavior.
After the fallout of the Weinstein story, Twitter was flooded with the hashtag #metoo; the movement started when actress Alyssa Milano suggested that if everyone who had ever been sexually assaulted tweeted “me too” we could see the magnitude of the problem. Nevertheless, two weeks later Twitter reported that more than 1.7 million men and women had used the hashtag. With the whole world sharing stories of their experiences with sexual harassment we have to look at Hollywood and ask… what now?
While watching the downfall of beloved actors is shocking, this is the first step towards a better working environment for actors and actresses. In the past, many accusations by women against powerful men were quickly dismissed as“attention-seeking” remarks by women who “didn’t know what they were talking about.” This was especially seen after tapes of President Trump were released in which he said that he could grab women simply because he was famous. Yet nothing was done.
However, after the New York Times released an article about Weinstein’s history of sexual assault charges the women were listened to, they were not dismissed. Instead, they were praised for their bravery to stand up for what is right.
Following the accusations, swift action was taken against Weinstein, he was fired from his company and was removed from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Weinstein was a powerful man in Hollywood, with multiple Academy Awards under his belt. The action taken against him shows that no man is immune to justice when it comes to sexual assault. Hopefully, Hollywood will change its culture, and stop the inappropriate ways that were accepted for so long, if not, Weinstein’s story has shown that victims won’t be silenced, and the crimes of men and women in Hollywood won’t be covered up any longer.