Al­le­ga­tions slip­pery slope

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Pre­da­tion of women is ab­hor­rent, un­con­scionable. Any­body charged and found guilty should be strung up by the goolies then biffed into prison and the key thrown away.

How­ever, with the re­cent al­le­ga­tions of inap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual ad­vances to women by the likes of Har­vey We­in­stein et al, I re­ally won­der why we need the law when the court of pub­lic opin­ion seems to have taken over.

It seems that be­ing found legally cul­pa­ble is no longer a re­quire­ment and all one has to do to bring some­body down is to make an al­le­ga­tion and the masses will back you up through so­cial me­dia. It ap­pears that ev­ery po­ten­tially vin­dic­tive, washed up ac­tor/ac­tress will have a say by blindly sup­port­ing spu­ri­ous claims through so­cial me­dia just be­cause they can tap a but­ton on their smart phone.

The film in­dus­try was, I thought, in past decades re­liant on sex one way or the other. It was the cur­rency of the time ac­cord­ing to Sir Ian McKellen talk­ing re­cently at the Ox­ford Stu­dent Union. His rec­ol­lec­tion is that a lot of women would will­ingly of­fer sex to progress their ca­reer. Sex as a cur­rency was nor­malised by both gen­ders. An im­broglio of Ro­man pro­por­tions it seems. To be fair, I’m sure there were women who stuck to other prin­ci­ples and walked away from the sala­cious side of the in­dus­try too.

It makes me won­der how long it will be be­fore we see claims from some ag­ing hip­pie about un­wanted at­ten­tion at Sweet­wa­ters or the Big Day Out maybe. Not dis­sim­i­lar to the bare­breasted woman at Rhythm and Vines where surely the les­son is if you’re not hav­ing those kind of par­ties, don’t send out those kind of in­vites.

Now the Green’s Women’s Min­is­ter, Julie Anne Gen­ter has an­nounced a na­tional regis­ter of work­place sex­ual mis­con­duct to be man­aged by the Min­istry of Busi­ness In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment. Now that’s all our small busi­nesses need, more com­pli­ance.

SWAG (Screen Women’s Ac­tion Group) is a New Zealand group ded­i­cated to stop­ping un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances in our film in­dus­try. Ex­cel­lent, be­cause there re­ally is no place for any gender bias in any re­la­tion­ship whether in the cast­ing room or the pay packet but to go back over decades where im­pro­bity, sex and by in­fer­ence drugs and al­co­hol were ram­pant, would be a mis­take.

John Sargeant

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