By Sam Anteau
As most are starkly aware, Hollywood has been undergoing a purge recently; beginning with numerous women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse, dozens of others have come forward to talk about their own experiences with sexual assault in Hollywood. This opened up a dialogue surrounding this subject in the entertainment city.
In many ways, this is a good thing. Conversation about sexual assault does indeed spread awareness and helps to create a more understanding environment. Only by pointing out the things that need to be changed can we actually begin to change them.
That said, in recent months, this conversation has become a performance, especially on behalf of male celebrities. A perfect example of this could be found at this year’s Golden Globes. The vast majority of those on the red carpet wore black or a Time’s Up pin (an organization aimed to end sexual misconduct in Hollywood) in a show of support to women who are survivors of sexual abuse.
However, it did come off as just that: a show. James Franco, someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct, was wearing a Time’s Up pin. Numerous male celebrities, including Justin Timberlake, Jude Law and Steve Carrell, were wearing the pins, despite having worked with Woody Allen, a notorious example of an accused sexual abuser in Hollywood. Despite this show of support toward women speaking out against their sexual abusers, these men have never denounced Allen, or even said they regretted working with him.
Perhaps most egregious, the male winners of the night all but completely ignored what was, frankly, a huge focus of the night. While Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Elisabeth Moss all discussed the unfair treatment of women, James Franco, Aziz Ansari, Ewan McGregor, Sam Rockwell and every other male winner stayed completely silent on the matter.
Here’s the thing, folks: women shouldn’t have to do this on their own, especially when they are so often the victims of sexual abuse in Hollywood. If you’re going to wear a Time’s Up button, if you’re going to wear all black as a show of support, you need to actually support women. Otherwise, it becomes a transparent attempt to appease largely-liberal Hollywood, a routine rather than a desire to make lasting change.
We, as fans of actors, also need to take responsibility for the content we consume and support. We need to be willing to push celebrities harder to be accountable, to criticize them when they don’t and to refuse to support those who do not align with our morals.
Every dollar, every view is a vote. If we don’t cast them with those morals in mind, we may very well end up funding a system that perpetuates sexual abuse.