Sunday, February 11, 2018

"The Hollywood fable that enabled Weinstein"

This whole email/ blog post may be hard to read.  After you read this, you may be angry and depressed and in a bad mood.  You have all been forewarned:

Oct. 12, 2017 "The Hollywood fable that enabled Weinstein": Today I found this article by John Doyle in the Globe and Mail:

Even as they confront the unnerving allegations against the movie magnate, many continue to cling to fairy tales about the business

There are now so many unnerving allegations against and public stories about Harvey Weinstein that it’s hard to figure out a context other than disgust.

But here’s one way of looking at the larger context – a problem with public perception of the allegations against Weinstein is that it fits into the public’s imagination as a kind of perverse beauty-and-the-beast illusion.

Weinstein is a large, aggressive and abrasive, powerful man. He’s nobody’s idea of a dreamboat. He conforms to the monster myth – physically intimidating, capable of great fury and destruction. The female, in the illusion the public sees, is attractive, young, smart but inexperienced, emotional and slight of frame, easily overpowered.

This isn’t helpful. Some people familiar only with the surface gloss of the entertainment industry will look at the allegations and conclude, “It’s gross but that’s gonna happen.”

Everybody is inclined to believe stories that conform to ancient myths and fairy tales, especially about the entertainment world. And in doing so, everyone enables the likes of Harvey Weinstein.

Predatory behaviour and harassment should never happen. And here’s the thing to remember: Not all predatory men in the entertainment world are ogres who resemble Weinstein.

Most who harass, abuse or humiliate women are slicker than Weinstein but have great power in making or breaking careers. It’s just that we, by inclination, want to see ogres.

To be clear, based on my knowledge from years of covering television, the vast majority of people in the industry, men and women, are professional, disciplined and more interested in their work than sexual shenanigans.

What some of them share, however, is a sense of protectiveness about their industry and the material they create for public consumption. They want the fantasy to remain intact: the fantasy of happy, skilled, motivated, attractive people working together to create inspiring, entertaining stories for the audience.

Admitting that there is obnoxious and sometimes disgusting behaviour is anathema to them. The truth about that would undermine everything.

That’s one reason why, perhaps, so few women come forward to name and shame predators and harassers. The main reason, obviously, is the fear of repercussion and career destruction, but in a general way, there is the reluctance to shatter myths and conventional assumptions about working in film and television – and a belief that the public doesn’t want the myths shattered.

Ask women actors about the casting couch and harassment in television, even off the record, and they will clam up. That’s understandable, if regrettable. There is anxiety about being the first to speak about it and the work drying up.

Ask others, who would have no such fears, and they are coy or shrug. There is, especially among men and among media, publicists and others on the fringes, a fierce impulse toward denial and there exists a strange omerta based on the notion that the public doesn’t need to know what’s going on.

Media coverage of the movie business accepts the omerta. Most journalism about the film world inhabited by Weinstein is limited to puffery. Usually, there are limitations on what questions can be asked in interviews.

At the same time, writers and editors want journalism that amounts to easy-to-understand stories that fit into a limited number of genres. Those journalism genres are rather like myths and fairy tales.

Everybody likes stories about underdogs. Everybody likes stories about a deep personal connection between the star and the material in the movie. That sort of journalism taps into a very old human desire to see everything in terms of a small set of storylines.

Most movies do precisely the same thing, and people worship at that altar.
There are so many layers and connections in the Weinstein story at this point that it’s a bewildering saga, apparently decades long and filled with all manner of malfeasance. Responses to it all can vary wildly. Everybody has an angle on it in order to point a finger at somebody else.

But here’s the main takeaway we should remember after the dust settles and the indignation only simmers – the entertainment world traffics in fantasies we want to believe, and to buy into a beauty-and-the-beast scenario is only to buy into a fantasy version of the sordid truth.

If we expect female actors to speak out, we should be prepared to challenge our own convenient assumptions and myths. There are ogres everywhere, it’s just a myth that they all look like Weinstein.

Oct. 20, 2017 "Rapid fire cuts ties to former director": Today I found this article by Paula Simons in the Edmonton Journal.  It was about Chris Craddock, this guy I have talked to a few times when he was the Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library.  He critiqued my script.  I never got a bad vibe from him before:

Rapid Fire Theatre, Edmonton’s largest improv troupe, has issued a statement distancing itself from its former artistic director Chris Craddock, saying he will no longer be affiliated with the theatre company.

“This week so many people around the world have engaged in a large conversation of sexual harassment and abuse; much of that conversation focusing on issues of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry. The improv industry has its fair share of predators and we know that at times in Rapid Fire Theatre’s 37-year history we have featured some of those individuals in our performing ensemble. Enough is enough,” says the statement, posted to Rapid Fire’s Facebook page Wednesday.

“This includes the work of former artistic director (2004-2008) Chris Craddock who has publicly admitted to unacceptable behaviour in violation of our own harassment policy,” read the statement.

In the statement, Craddock attributed much of his behaviour to his alcoholism and cocaine addiction, adding that he has been sober for the last four months. 

“(T) he clear lens of sobriety has opened my memory to the realities of my actions, micro-actions and things more overt, and I have so much to make up for.”
Craddock’s Facebook post has since been removed.

“As a sex addict, I sought out sex in ways that people were grossed out by me. People didn’t want me to hit on them, and in my state, I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to see that. But I want to make it clear that I’m not a sexual predator, especially now, when I’m sober.”

"Show business sex scandals hit Quebec": Today I found this article by Graeme Hamilton in the National Post in the Edmonton Journal

Oct. 19, 2017 "Women and Weinstein: end the blame game": Today I found this article by Zosia Beilski in the Globe and Mail

"Kevin Smith donates film residuals": 

Kevin Smith got his Hollywood break in the early 1990s when Miramax bought distribution rights to his low-budget indie film Clerks, but now the filmmaker wishes he never got involved with the production company founded by Harvey Weinstein.

After the New York Times published its report detailing decades of sexual-harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein, Smith wrote on Twitter that he felt “ashamed” for profiting from a relationship with the movie mogul while others were suffering.

Now the Jay and Silent Bob creator wants to go a step further by donating future residuals from movies backed by the Weinsteins and Miramax to Women in Film, a nonprofit organization that supports women filmmakers.

Oct. 28, 2017 Boss Hog: This is an article by Jamie Portman in the Edmonton Journal.  I can't find the article on the internet, but there was mainly about how it was a toxic environment to work for Weinstein's Miramax company.

Miramax marketing coordinator Amy Hart complained that it was like "factory labour in a Third World country."  She had a meagre salary and Weinstein paid for Gwyneth Paltrow's weekend in Paris which costs $100,000.

"McAdams among Toback accusers": This is an article by Lindsey Bahr in the Edmonton Journal.  It's against James Toback.  I forewarn you this is pretty offensive:

McAdams, an Oscar nominee for her supporting role in Spotlight, also met Toback to audition for Harvard Man. She was 21 and just starting out in the business. After her audition he told her he wanted to workshop with her. They met that night in his hotel room where, she said, the conversation quickly turned sexual.

“He said, ‘You know, I just have to tell you. I have masturbated countless times today thinking about you since we met at your audition,’ ” McAdams said.

He later asked if she would show him her pubic hair. McAdams said she eventually excused herself and left.

“I was very lucky that I left and he didn’t actually physically assault me in any way,” she said, adding that she has felt shame ever since that she didn’t leave earlier. When she told her agent about the encounter.

Tyra Banks talk show: This reminds me of an ep she did about "The casting couch."  They did an experiment where an actress auditions for a role with a director.  Then later, the director invites him to her hotel room to do more of the audition.

A black woman in her 20s says: Can I bring a friend along?

My opinion: That's good with bringing a friend for safety.

Another black woman in her 30s did enter the hotel room.  She was talking to the director.

Director: Well do you want the role?
Woman: Well not that much.

Then Tyra enters and the woman freaks out that she's meeting Tyra.

Another woman in her 20s.  I remember she was a new immigrant.  As soon as she enters the hotel room, she looks all around.

Another one I remembered was another experiment in the same ep.  The director was passing out cards inviting people to his hotel room.  One woman came with her boyfriend.

"A new wave of sex harassment complaints": Today I found this article by Cassandra Szklarski in the Edmonton Journal:

TORONTO -- Media reports detailing sexual harassment claims against high-profile film and TV titans including Harvey Weinstein and Bill O'Reilly have been relentless.

So too are the far less-sensational claims being made in average workplaces everyday, says Toronto workplace harassment investigator Monica Jeffrey.

"Every investigator that I know right now in Toronto is just totally, totally swamped," Jeffrey says of non-stop claims that spiked in the past year.

My week:
Feb. 5, 2018 Beware of human traffickers: I found this Yahoo article on Mar. 27, 2017:

Mom-of-three, Diandra Toyos, was shopping for couches in Ikea when she noticed something wasn’t right. As she guided her children aged four, one and seven weeks, through the maze-like furniture store, she claims noticing two men watching her family intently.

The woman from South Carolina says her instincts kicked in when the men separately formed “circling patterns” around her and her kids. While no arrests have been made, Toyos’ experience left her convinced her family was being targeted by predators.

She goes into detail on Facebook: “At one point he came right up to me and the boys, and instinctively I put myself between he and my mobile son. I had a bad feeling.

“He continued to circle the area, staring at the kids.

“He occasionally picked something up, pretending to look at it but looking right over at us instead. My mom noticed as well and mentioned that we needed to keep an eye on him.
“We moved on… and so did he. Closely. My son wandered into one of the little display rooms across from the couches and I followed him closely with my baby strapped to me.
“My mom said she watched as the older man dropped what he was doing and quickly and closely followed us into the area.”

Toyos said she had a “gut feeling” that something was not quite right so decided to sit down in the store with all of her kids and wait for the men to move along.

She continued: “We sat in one of the little display rooms. For close to 30 minutes. And they sat too.

“They sat down on one of the couches on the display floor that faced us. That was when we knew our gut feeling was right and something was off.

“They sat the whole time we sat and stood up right as we got up.”
Toyos and her family finally managed to lose the men after talking to an employee and going to the toilet.

“I am almost sure that we were the targets of human trafficking,” she added.

Be it fear mongering or a mother’s intuition, Toyos’ words have garnered more than 100,000 shares and more than 40,000 reactions online, reminding parents to stay vigilant in public.

“Please, PLEASE be aware when you’re out with your children. It’s not the time to be texting or Facebooking or chatting on the phone. When you’re in a public place with your kids, please be aware and present so that you don’t become a victim.

“Had I let my kids roam and play while I checked my phone… I may have lost one,” she said.

My opinion: I don't have kids and I don't work with kids or teens.  However, it's about safety so I'm putting it up.

Feb. 8, 2018 Nick Carter accused of rape: His name was on top 10 on Yahoo.  I clicked on it.  I was like "Oh my God.  As soon as I saw the name Melissa Schuman and her pic, I know it was the girl from the pop group Dream.  I was a fan of Dream back then.  I still listen to Dream's music sometimes on YouTube.  I also read her blog post about it:

Former pop singer Melissa Schuman may have forgiven Nick Carter after going public with allegations that the Backstreet Boys star raped her, but that’s not stopping her from taking her allegations to the police.

Months after making her shocking allegations, Schuman took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal she’s filing a police report.

I’m finally doing what I thought I could no longer do. Im filing a police report ✊🏻 thank you @RAINN for empowering me to take this step.

In December, Schuman sat down for an episode of “The Dr. Oz Show”, where she shared a message for Carter and explained what motivated her to come forward with her allegations in the first place.

“I forgive you,” Schuman, 33, said, directing her remarks toward Carter. “I don’t want anything from you. I wish you only the best. I don’t want your money. I didn’t do this to hurt you or your family. I did this for me, because I needed this healing.”

“I also came forward because I want to inspire other victims, other people who have been assaulted to come forward and know that they have a voice,” she added in this sneak peek of the upcoming episode.

Schuman — who was a member of the early 2000s girl group Dream — came forward with allegations in a post on her personal blog earlier this month, in which she claimed that Carter raped her when she was 18 years old and he was 22.

After the post was picked up by media outlets, Carter denied the allegations.

“I am shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations. Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual,” Carter said in a statement released to ET. “We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally. This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later. It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm.”

While speaking with Dr. Oz, Schuman claimed that she originally considered pressing charges against the popular boy band member, but was allegedly warned about the ramifications of coming forward.

“I’d actually confided in my manager at that time about pressing charges. And I was told that he had the most powerful litigator in the country and that I didn’t have the money to pay for an attorney to essentially defend me, if he were to come after me,” she said.

The former singer further claimed that her manager told her, “‘Everyone’s going to call you fame hungry, [and say] that you’re trying to use this to better yourself or get your name out there and at this point there’s nothing we can do.”

Her blog:

My opinion: I read the blog post, and she did forewarn the part that is going to be offensive.
I don't think I'm going to watch the Dr. Oz episode.  However, good for her for coming out about this.

This has a really strong effect on me.  It's probably because I'm a fan of hers and she is my age.  I am taking it personal.  I had written about this before like the below 2014 post:

Jul.1 Surviving Evil: 

Charisma Carpenter: On Jun. 30, 2014, I was reading in the Globe and Mail about the new Investigation Discovery Channel docu-series called Surving Evil.  It’s on Slice at 9pm starting Jul. 4, 2014.  The episode will be hosted by Buffy and Angel star Charisma Carpenter who played Cordelia on the show.  It said she survived an experience when a gun man attacked her and her 2 friends in 1991.  She was 21 back then.

The show is where they re-enact true- life stories where women experienced this and survived it.  Here’s the article and they actually re-enact Carpenter’s experience.  It’s intense to read.   She talks about after it happened, she didn’t really deal with it.  Then she went to counseling.

My 2018 opinion: I have never met Charisma Carpenter, but I feel like I know her because I have seen her on TV and movies for years.

Sexual harassment scandals: It all started with Harvey Weinstein in like Oct. 2017.  However, there have been lots of scandals prior to it like:

-Jian Ghomeshi
-Bill Cosby
-Michael Jackson
-R. Kelly
-Roman Polanski
-Lou Pearlman
-Kobe Bryant

I read the newspaper everyday and there has been accusations about once a week.  I'm sure some of you guys are sick of reading it in the news, so I don't really write about it on my blog.

The same goes for the current American President that will not be named.  I have some emails about the above topic and him in my weekly emails/ blog posts drafts, but I haven't really put it up. 

Feb. 9, 2018 Rose McGowan's manager suicide:

Jill Messick, a former Miramax executive producer who once managed actress Rose McGowan, died by suicide Wednesday at age 50, her family confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter

A scathing statement provided by her family’s attorney criticized disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, his vocal accuser McGowan and members of the media for their coverage of the #MeToo movement. Messick represented McGowan in 1997, at the time she says she was raped by Weinstein, and she later took an executive position at Miramax, then led by Weinstein.

No comments: