By Brian Harris, Staff Writer
Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Dustin Hoffman. Brett Ratner. All those names used to remind me of their body of work. Now, things are a bit more complicated.
It’s been almost a month since the Weinstein story took the entertainment world by storm, and the results have been immediate and terrifying.
A-list actors, producers and directors have been accused of, well, a whole litany of things. Sexual harassment in some cases, assault in others. And while many around me have had their mouths agape in shock at these latest events, to be honest they haven’t really surprised me.
Now don’t get me wrong, the story of a then-26-year-old Kevin Spacey drunkenly seducing then-14-year-old Anthony Rapp horrifies me, as has each and every accusation among the ever-growing lists. Horrifying? Absolutely. But surprising? I don’t know, I suppose I’ve thought of Hollywood as a bit of a cesspool.
I’m sure there are some fantastic upstanding citizens among the A-list crowd, but I’ve always been equally as sure deviants and criminals run rampant right under all of our noses. And that, in and of itself is insane.
I mean think about it, here we have an industry that to many is inherently associated with vice and nobody really cared until these stories broke.
That to me shows something even more dangerous than a couple of lone psychos running amok.
It shows me an environment where criminals like Weinstein and Spacey can presumably run rampant. It shows me that this might be systemic for Hollywood.
Look at Spacey before these allegations, a beloved member of the film community, a gifted actor and generally adored A-list personality. No one is going to want to be the one to come forward, Kevin Spacey (and many of the recently accused) have the power to end careers! And it’s that position of power that seemingly lets them get away with their heinous acts.
No one wants to jeopardize their hard-fought livelihood, and in an environment like that scum like the accused can use their positions to get what they want and threaten to destroy anyone who says otherwise.
And I think the proof is right there in front of you. The allegations haven’t stopped, new names, new victims, new accomplices, it’s all leaking out, slowly but surely. What’s even sadder is that its less a revelation but a depressing confirmation of what I had always assumed, that a life of excess and fame can more often than not lead downward.
But what happens now? Well, I think the “cleaning house” of Hollywood right now is exactly what’s required, but I don’t know if it will fix the problems so ingrained into not just LA but our culture as a whole. If we continue to treat celebrities in a way akin to idolizing, then I can’t see any kind of permanent fix in sight. It seems to be the power trip that brings many down this path, and unfortunately, in this age of constant media obsessing and consumption, there is seemingly no way to fix our perception problem.
Which leaves it down to the people running the show in tinsel town to actually care and look into these kinds of issues with some degree of scrutiny. And knowing Hollywood, with their minimum effort, maximum profit mentalities, I’m not sure they’ll care once the public has moved on to its next mutual outrage.
Which means we just have to keep at it. If the bigwigs over there only care about their bottom lines, then let’s make sure that bottom line involves hiring people who aren’t criminals. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem too unreasonable a request to me!