A mo­ment of reck­on­ing for Hol­ly­wood

En­ter­tain­ment Dark side of how movie biz treats women comes to light

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

If in a movie, Har­vey We­in­stein would prob­a­bly cut the scenes of sex­ual ha­rass­ment that have been de­scribed against him. They’re too cliché.

The ho­tel room se­duc­tions, the mas­sage re­quests, the co­er­cive sug­ges­tions. They are, as the Los An­ge­les Times ed­i­to­rial board called them, “clas­sics of the genre.” The en­coun­ters de­pict a Hol­ly­wood cul­ture im­me­di­ately rec­og­niz­able, one where power-bro­ker sleazi­ness is an ac­cepted and ac­knowl­edged part of the busi­ness.

Hol­ly­wood now finds it­self in a cri­sis, not just be­cause one of its most prom­i­nent moguls has been dis­graced and fired from the com­pany he co-founded, but be­cause the al­le­ga­tions against him de­scribe a dark un­der­belly of the movie busi­ness that has largely eluded scru­tiny. It’s a mo­ment of reck­on­ing for a Hol­ly­wood that has faced in­creas­ing scru­tiny over its treat­ment of women, from pay equal­ity to fair em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity be­hind the cam­era.

We­in­stein’s ouster may have been a long time com­ing, with al­le­ga­tions go­ing back to 1990 — he has yet to re­spond to any spe­cific al­le­ga­tions but, on Thurs­day, did apol­o­gize for the pain he’s caused. But by ap­par­ently bring­ing down such a piv­otal fig­ure, many see a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for the in­dus­try.

“There is a tec­tonic shift go­ing on with peo­ple hav­ing the courage to say, ‘No more,’” said Melissa Sil­ver­stein, the founder and pub­lisher of Women and Hol­ly­wood, an in­flu­en­tial blog that ad­vo­cates gen­der equal­ity in Hol­ly­wood. “The cli­mate about the con­ver­sa­tion in gen­der in Hol­ly­wood has clearly shifted in re­cent years.”

“There’s no go­ing back any­more,” added Sil­ver­stein.

The movie busi­ness has found it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to shy away from ques­tions about how it treats women. Stud­ies have shown year af­ter year how few fe­male di­rec­tors are hired for ma­jor pro­duc­tions. Just four per cent of the top movies at the box of­fice in 2016 were directed by women, ac­cord­ing to the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia’s An­nen­berg School of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Jour­nal­ism.

A pay gap, too, has been brought to the fore­front by vo­cal stars like Jen­nifer Lawrence and Emma Stone. The best-paid stars, the ma­jor­ity of the ex­ec­u­tive jobs and most of the film­mak­ers re­main over­whelm­ingly male in Hol­ly­wood.

Such a male-dom­i­nated cul­ture could have con­trib­uted to the con­di­tions that al­lowed the al­leged in­ci­dents in­volv­ing We­in­stein to oc­cur — and to re­main quiet.

“It’s been an open se­cret,” said Greta Ger­wig, who makes her di­rec­to­rial de­but in the up­com­ing Lady Bird. “It just makes me re­ally sad and it makes me re­ally de­pressed but not sur­prised. What can you say? I re­ally ad­mire Ash­ley Judd. It’s scary to do.”

On Thurs­day, The New York Times re­ported that We­in­stein reached set­tle­ments with at least eight women over sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions. Judd also de­scribed an in­ci­dent two decades ago in which she said We­in­stein in­vited her to his ho­tel room, greeted her wear­ing a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a mas­sage or if she would watch him shower.

Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette, Lena Dun­ham, Mark Ruf­falo, Brie Lar­son, Kevin Smith, Judd Apa­tow, Julianne Moore and many oth­ers have voiced their sup­port for the women in­volved. But oth­ers

men in hol­ly­wood need to change

asap.

Rose mcgowan

Dave Kotin­sky/getty Im­ages

the al­le­ga­tions against har­vey We­in­stein go back to 1990.

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