Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood’s Hypocrisy

Hollywood is selling sex and abusing people in the process. Are we buying it?

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2014, Harvey Weinstein attends the season premiere of the Netflix series "Marco Polo" in New York. Weinstein faces multiple allegations of sexual abuse and harassment from some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

By Michael Brown Published on October 13, 2017

My purpose here is not to throw more stones on the now-disgraced Harvey Weinstein. He’s already suffering the consequences of his alleged actions. My purpose is to confront the larger hypocrisy of Hollywood. It’s an industry that has made billions of dollars selling sex. An industry that encourages all kinds of sexploitation.

Let’s put aside the question of whether media giants like NBC initially rejected the Weinstein exposé. Or whether actors like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were insincere in their statements against him.

Instead, let’s remember that for years, we’ve heard about the “casting couch.” It’s slang for sexual favors aspiring actresses are expected to show Hollywood execs if they wanted to advance in the industry.

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Just look at these headlines, with their dates:

May 31, 2011: Casting Couch Nightmares: What Does It Take to Make It in Hollywood?

April 23, 2014: The Dark Side Of Hollywood — 10 Casting Couch Horror Stories; RadarOnline looks back at the stars who complained of harassment within industry

June 20, 2014: 12 Celebrities Reveal Their ‘Casting Couch’ Stories

And then this one, from October 11, 2017, following the revelations about Weinstein: Women of Hollywood Tell Their Casting Couch Horror Stories.

The Casting Couch’s Long History

One recent article claims these sexual abuses in the movie industry date back to the early 1920s. Yes, an AP article published in the Japan Times claims that “Hollywood’s ‘casting couch’ scandals go back at least to 1921.”

The article begins with this: “For anyone thinking the days of the so-called casting couch were long gone, this past week has been eye-opening. The growing list of women directing allegations at Harvey Weinstein suggests they never left Hollywood.”

The point is that the major players in Hollywood have known about these kinds of things for years. Yet most looked the other way. Why? It’s part of the business. You don’t dare challenge or expose the giants. It will destroy your own career if you do!

Not only so, but many have played the game. To point a finger at others is to point four fingers back at themselves. This is self-evident to me as a complete outsider following this from a great distance. What do the insiders know?

Pedophilia in Hollywood

But it gets worse.

Corey Feldman, who became famous as a child actor, has been shouting out for years now that “Pedophilia Is Hollywood’s Biggest Problem.”

A 2016 article in the Daily Mail starts with these bulleted points:

  • “Former child star Corey Feldman said that he was molested repeatedly by men who would pass him and other minors around
  • “He said that when he was 15 he was being abused by a man who was actually employed by his own father at the management company he ran 
  • “Reveals that Corey Haim was raped when he was just 11-years-old
  • “Feldman says the abuse he and Haim suffered was widely known
  • “Haim would struggle with drugs up until his death in 2010 at the age of 38”

When asked why he wouldn’t name names, he said

[U]nfortunately California conveniently enough has a statute of limitations that prevents that from happening. Because if I were to go and mention anybody’s name I would be the one that would be in legal problems and I’m the one that would be sued. We should be talking to the district attorneys and the lawmakers in California, especially because this is where the entertainment industry is and this is a place where adults have more direct and inappropriate connection with children than probably anywhere else in the world.”

I won’t list the names of major Hollywood execs who have been accused of abusing underage boys in recent years. These remain allegations at this point. But if Feldman (and others) are to be believed, these abusive practices are still rampant in Hollywood. Yes, the same Hollywood that is now condemning Harvey Weinstein with such righteous indignation. Shame on them for their hypocrisy.

Sex Sells

But there’s more. Hollywood knows quite well that sex sells. These representative quotes make it clear.

Guinevere Turner (co-screenwriter and actress — American Psycho): “People want to see R-rated movies, adults and children alike, and an easy way to get an R-rating is to have sex scenes or nudity. We’d be fooling ourselves if we didn’t think teenagers wanted to see sex. And in creating the taboo, we create frenzy around it.”

John Papsidera (casting director): “Look at what just happened with Jessica Biel. She was in Ulee’s Gold, and she was fabulous, but, you know, very few people saw that film, and Seventh Heaven, her TV show, is so sweet and syrupy, she really passed under the radar for a lot of years. So she did the cover of Gear magazine semi-naked. It was an attention-getting moment, and it catapulted her career.”

Glenn Rigberg (manager — Rigberg, Roberts & Rugolo): “What’s so interesting is when you wander around the agencies and sets in Hollywood right now, there’s this special magazine insert called the Maxim 100, which is pictures of scantily clad models and actresses. And I swear to God, it’s being used in Hollywood to help cast movies.”

Is anyone surprised to read this?

But, once again, it’s easy to point fingers at others. Perhaps the bigger question to ask is this: How many of us who shake our heads in disgust at Harvey Weinstein actually enjoy the sexploitation of the movie industry?

Hollywood, to its lasting shame, is definitely selling sex (and abusing people in the process). The question is: Are we buying it?

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  • MrsReagan

    While I have sympathy for the women that were harassed or assaulted for just trying to make it in Hollywood, I feel particularly bad for all those women that slept with Harvey because they just needed the work. For the 20 or so that have come out, there must be hundreds that gave in and are silent because they feel so humiliated.

  • Peter L

    I hardly ever watch movies, especially not those Hollywood movies. They promote sex, adultery, violence. In a typical Hwood movie, the main character meets a member of the opposite sex at the beginning of the movie and usually the woman doesn’t like the man. At the end, they have sex and it is portrayed as some kind of ‘victory’, or fulfillment. The message is clear: encouragement to chase after women and to have sex out of wedlock.
    How can Christians enjoy this? How can they enjoy movies filled with violence, homicide, making heroes out of killers? There’s plenty of reason to stay away from it. As Christians, we’ve definitely got better and more uplifting things to do!

    • Linda

      Off the top of my head, in the span of about two minutes, I can advise that the following Hollywood movies had none of what you mentioned and were well worth watching, yes even for the pious ones: ” The Glass Castle”, “The Kings Speech”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Blind Side” and “Schindlers List”.

      Boy, Mr. Weinstein certainly didn’t have looks going for him. I imagine most of his victims spurned his unwanted advances without much regret.

      • Hannah

        I’ve heard of Glass Castle, but I can’t recall if it’s new(er) or who all is in it. Been needing a good film to watch admist the fluff. Any other suggestions? I’ve seen all the others you listed.

        • Linda

          The Glass Castle is a pretty recent movie and stars Woody Harrelson and Brie Larson. It is based on the memoirs of journalist Jeanette Walls, who was raised along with her 3 siblings in Virginia by an alcoholic father and crazy artist mother. The movie was so good I went out and got the book to read afterwards. Very touching true story of family bonds. Some would say Harrelson gives an Oscar worthy performance.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree with you and its rare. I also think that it takes 2 hands to clap.
        The women claimed to be victims, but all they could have just walk away.

      • ScarletPimpernel

        Schindler’s list contained sex (Schindler and his mistress). It also contained violence, but that was inherent to the story, and it was not gratuitous.

        • Linda

          I was never able to bring myself to watch Schindlers List or Sophies Choice, nor real footage of the holocaust, because when I’m visually reminded of what happened to the Jewish people it takes me days to get over it.

      • Peter L

        Of, course, Linda, I can also list a few. That’s why I included the word ‘typical’.

    • Dena

      Christians have become numb to it and compromise and make excuses.

  • Hmmm…

    I’m thinking about the opportunity to point this out to Hollywood, their movie content, but also on gun violence, which has just come up again. It’s time their exploitation in that arena be put forth. There may be a window here for some inroads on these things.

  • Gary Kauffman

    I told my wife that Hollywood’s reaction to Weinstein reminds me of the scene in Casablanca when Louie, under pressure from the Germans, orders everyone out of Rick’s. Rick asks on what grounds he’s closing him down. Louie replies, “I’m shocked, shocked to find gambling going on here!” At that point the croupier approaches Louie with a fistful of money and says, “Your winnings, sir.” And Louie quietly thanks him and puts it in his pocket.

    Hollywood is very shocked by these allegations of sex while stuffing the proceeds from selling sex into their pockets, which they have been doing for decades. It’s hard to take their exclamations of horror very seriously.

  • Dena

    I watched the Documentary “An Open Secret”. It’s about child sexual abuse scandal in Hollywood. Sad that people with money and power are able to get away with preying on young actors. I hope more speak out, so things change.

    It’s equally distressing that something similar is happening to female actors. A woman shouldn’t be required to have sex with her boss to get ahead. It’s degrading and terrible.

  • Dina

    What about the women that actually said yes to Weinstein and are now saying he never did anything to them? And are acting like they feel so bad for the victims? Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively, Siena Miller, Ann Hathaway etc? They rose to stardom because of him. They also exchanged sex for film roles. Why are they outed yet or does the main stream media still hiding these things?

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