Much has been written about Harvey Weinstein and allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. But much like Bernie Madoff became the symbol of Wall Street corruption, Weinstein’s abysmal behavior is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Hollywood’s sexism, bigotry and hypocrisy.
While patting themselves on the back for progressive values, many of the Hollywood elites have engaged in not only sexual abuse of females (and males) who work for them, but also blatant ageism and racism.
In 2016, Chris Rock hosted the Oscars, which had no African-American, Hispanic or Asian nominees, and launched the show with, “You’re damn right Hollywood’s racist!”
In 2010, 165 Hollywood writers settled a lawsuit alleging that networks, studios and talent agencies blocked writers older than 40 from employment on dramas or sitcoms. At the time, top-notch older writers would omit Emmy-winning shows from their resumes, fearful that it would give away their ages. The class-action suit was settled for $70 million.
Similarly, actresses are sometimes informed that they’re not young enough to play someone their actual age. In 2015, according to Vanity Fair, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, at 37, was told she was too old to believably play the love interest of a 55-year-old man!
Many on the right chortled when politically liberal Weinstein’s repulsive behavior was revealed. But they weren’t laughing when Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly were figuratively caught with their pants down at the network. Like Weinstein’s actions, Ailes’ and O’Reilly’s sexual harassment of female co-workers was an open secret at the company, but the men’s power to destroy careers made victims afraid to come forward.
In an age when everything is politicized, this behavior has nothing to do with left and right, and everything to do with power and money. And if you think it’s bad in show business, what about the men (and women) not in the public eye who abuse their power?
The victims of these entitled creeps aren’t famous, just ordinary people without a platform. Until we look at the bigger picture regarding such abuse, those victims will continue to suffer in silence.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.