There is a Big Story in Monday’s New York Times: “Harvey Weinstein’s Fall Opens Floodgates In Hollywood.” Except for the fact that not a single floodgate is open, that headline is deadly accurate.
There is a Big Story in Monday’s Hollywood Reporter: “‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Showrunner on Harassment in Hollywood: ‘It’s Not Just Harvey.’” Except for the fact that it is “just Harvey,” that headline is deadly accurate.
There is a Big Story in Monday’s Daily Mail: “Oscar-Winning Actor Accused of Assaulting a Broadcaster’s Loved One.” Except for the fact that not a single Oscar-winning actor is accused, that headline is deadly accurate.
There is a Big Story in Monday’s BBC: “How ‘MeToo’ is exposing the scale of sexual abuse.” Except for the fact that Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo hashtag is exposing absolutely no one, that headline is deadly accurate.
How can the New York Times claim the floodgates have opened when not a single name is named other than Harvey Weinstein? How can the Hollywood Reporter claim “it’s not just Harvey” when the only name named is Harvey? How can the Daily Mail claim an Oscar-winning actor has been accused of something when no Oscar-winning actor is named? How can the BBC claim that #MeToo is exposing something when no names are exposed?
Do not confuse this with a scold. I am not here to scold anyone. What it must be like to be a victim of sexual abuse is unimaginable. So I am not here to accuse or point fingers at those who have suffered through such a thing.
This is just me doing what I do, observing….
And what I am observing is a Hollywood culture already returning to the pre-Harvey days when abusers are enabled through silence.
The sad truth is that none of the above is news. The idea that young actors (male and female) are abused in Hollywood is something everyone already knows. Reporting your abuse or someone else’s abuse is, and I take no pleasure in saying so, a dog-bites-man story.
The only way things change is through the naming of names.
If the #MeToo approach in any way helps those who have been abused and harassed, lets them know that they are not alone, allows them to unload a bag of rocks they have been hauling around forever, that is a wonderful thing. No question.
But until names are named, that bag of rocks is merely being bequeathed to the next generation of young actors.
Silence has been the abusers’ enabler since time began, since Hollywood began. And right now every abuser and harasser in Harveywood is looking at the #MeToo Twitter hashtag, reading the stories linked above, and feeling all warm and snug in the knowledge that nothing has changed, that nothing will change, that once again they are safely hidden within a culture where no one comes forward.
Whether or not #MeToo actually affects change or simply becomes its own version of the AIDS ribbon, a status symbol, a Tinseltown “in thing,” just another chic Hollywood trend, is, unfortunately, up to the victims.
Coming forward requires enormous courage. Naming names requires even more courage. No one can blame you if you can’t.
But this is your moment. If these abusers are not hauled out into the sunlight now, they never will. And it will be business as usual in Harveywood…