sexual abuse

Opinion: Sexual Abuse in Hollywood and The Mythical Ally

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Alex Velazquez

Writer, photographer, dog lover, professional fangirl, tone-deaf music lover.

I don’t know about you, but I am thoroughly enjoying the avalanche of Hollywood perverts falling one right after the other faster than they can call their lawyers. I’m also enjoying the outpour of community support, which is crucial in instances where the abuser has endless resources, legal or otherwise. However, I’ve got a bone to pick with the so-called allies tripping over themselves to post on every social media platform available just how disgusted they are with the “recent allegations” and how they stand with the survivors of sexual abuse.

I don’t doubt they are sympathetic and whatnot, but you have to wonder just how deep their sympathy runs and how genuine it truly is.

sexual abuse

Recently, amidst the Weinstein shit storm, Quentin Tarantino released a statement in which he admits as a long time friend of Weinstein’s, he was aware of some circulating accusations. He is quoted saying,  “I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk,” he said. “As if that’s O.K. That’s the egg on my face right now.” According to Tarantino, and others close to Weinstein in various public statements, there were rumors about Weinstein’s behaviour, citing in particular an instance where Weinstein assaulted actress Mira Sorvino, who Tarantino was dating at the time. The incident was not taken all that seriously, Tarantino chalking it up to a harmless infatuation. Like his renowned scripts, the statement is so tight, it’s hard to poke any holes through it. Still, it’s difficult to read it and not do so skeptically.

sexual abuseMatt Damon has also voiced his utter shock and disgust at the whole thing despite being accused of helping Weinstein kill a similar story years ago, stating, “As the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night.” Good old “but I have daughters!” defense. Let me tell you, Josef Fritzl didn’t let that stop him. Your daughters should not be your get of jail free card, your daughters are not here to be your morality crutches, okay? But let’s not get into that. What’s troubling about public statements such as these is that they come from sources that are and should be questioned. How disgusted is Matt Damon really when he’s been Casey Affleck’s strong supporter through multiple accusations of sexual harassment by women he’d formerly worked with? Where was his support for the women then? Is public support only relevant when it hits close to home? And by home, I mean career.

Being an ally is more than voicing a well-prepared statement because others are doing it. It is more than making sure that your Twitter followers know where you stand because you’ve got a movie coming out soon.

sexual abuse

There are better, less shady ways of being an ally. Here are some suggestions: stop giving Mel Gibson roles in family films aimed to soften his image and make the public forget he was once recorded telling his girlfriend at the time,  “You’re an embarrassment to me, you look like a f—ing pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n—ers, it will be your fault.”

sexual abuseStop working with Woody Allen, who has been accused of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter and is married to his adopted daughter–to his account, a successful relationship he credits to having been a father figure to her to begin with. I’ll wait while you vomit. And for the love of god stop working with Roman Polanski, who raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and has been living in France since being found guilty to avoid imprisonment.

sexual abuseTake responsibility for your inaction, or better yet, ACT, say something, do something if the thought of sexual assault and rape really does disturb and disgust you. You shouldn’t have to wait until a good friend or colleague does something and the public’s got their eye on you.

I am tired of giving men free passes, tired of alternate versions of ‘boys will be boys’. It is no longer acceptable to not come forward about sexual abuse. It is no longer acceptable to blame it on environment or different eras or mindsets. It’s no longer acceptable to not take responsibility for your friends and acquaintances, because knowing makes you an accessory and it means that to whatever degree you condone this behavior. Be a true ally and speak up.

I’m not saying we should be completely cynical; after all, the stance of public figures does matter and can help or hurt the situation, but hyper-awareness of the source of support should be taken with a grain of salt when so called allies can stand to benefit from both the victim and the abuser.

One comment

  1. Great article. Thanks for putting into words exactly what I was thinking. These ‘allies’ will be remembered for the short media soundbites against this ‘terrible behaviour’ when his shit storm eventually dies down and they can get back to their comfortable places in the patriarchal system. I’m cynical!

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