Who are these men???? That’s the question I keep asking and answering for myself.
In the entertainment business they are some of the men I’ve always known and either instantly disliked or was intimidated by. Though I’m sure in a few cases they might have also been men I worked with or acquaintances I’ve even liked.
So far none of them are good friends, or even friends, and I don’t imagine that they will ever be revealed as such. Of course, at this point, I wouldn’t swear it.
Up is down, down is up and these days a bigoted sociopath from my hometown of Queens – the kind I’d met many times growing up and that I can assure you I was NEVER friends with – is the president of the United States. This is the type of guy most of us loathed and ran away from, especially members of the opposite sex, who usually deemed him as CREEP.
So quaint is that word – CREEP. It was the ultimate insult in the sixties and seventies. Nowadays it doesn’t even begin to describe what has become the almost indescribable. Instead, we’re getting vividly detailed accounts of what beforehand defied description. The true definition of what it REALLY meant back then to BE a CREEP.
Who knew? Certainly, none of us did. Or even do to this day. Though we’re learning – kicking and screaming as we’re dragged through the mire against our wills. Which is an essential element in this area of RE-education.
It was encouraging this week that Alabama rejected Roy Moore – an accused sexual predator of underage teenage girls from multiple sources and women – as their Senator. This was the first time in decades the most red of states in the Union will be represented there by a… DEMOCRAT.
But don’t get too encouraged. A plurality of Alabamians still don’t believe his accusers and most certainly the leader of the free world doesn’t. That is, if you believe our current U.S. president is still in the lead anywhere.
Talk about tough lifts.
Which brings us to the real story – POWER.
Tempting as it is to lump in sexual crimes with, well, sex – experts tell us it is seldom about the act and more about domination – what one can get away with. The latter is the real thrill – something that not only leaves a lifelong affect on the human objects subjected to each violation but on many other aspects of society as whole.
Who HAS the POWER and how that POWER is wielded determines quite a bit aside from who will eventually get to target a new VICTIM (or suffer as one). It can also very much tip the scales on who gets ahead in the world and how much gets, or doesn’t get accomplished – and in what way.
This week Salma Hayek bravely wrote of how she had to say “no” to deposed, disgraced and as of now not-yet-charged ex Miramax/Weinstein Co. chair Harvey Weinstein. This list included saying no to:
- taking a shower with him or allowing him to watch her take one
- getting a massage from him OR his naked friend (while he watched).
- receiving oral sex from him
- or she performing #3 on another naked woman that he would provide.
Salacious and CREEPY as that may seem — what felt almost as bad if not worse (because we’re so used to the sex stuff from him at this point) were the ways in which she says Mr. Weinstein used his expertise in the business to derail her career once she said “no, no, no, et al.”
The ways in which he tried to NOT make Miramax’s Oscar-nominated “Frida,” which Ms. Hayek produced and starred in, after signing an agreement to do so.
The ways in which he belittled her artistic work to her face while she was filming the movie.
And the ways in which he tried NOT to release the movie once it was done and it became very clear he would NEVER get to HAVE her.
Though NONE of this mirrored the way in which he and his company took CREDIT for the movie AND her work on it, at every public turn of the film’s release.
Though trust me, she tells the tale far better than I do.
As do women like Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd. Oh sure, right now most of us are all #MeToo and #MeTooSupporters. But there was little guarantee of this when both actresses were first speaking to Ronan Farrow in several New Yorker exposees that broke the story nationwide a mere handful of months ago.
Anyone involved in any type of power position in the film biz during the last 20 plus years or so (as I have occasionally been) has heard numerous stories about those who were in the life is too short to work with category. Those whom you wanted to stay away from at all costs, if possible. The ones who were impossible, difficult and a NIGHTMARE on a project, who would get you derailed.
Well, as it turns out, both Ms. Judd and Ms. Sorvino were two names I had heard were impossible nightmares and difficult over the years – as had many of my friends.
I never gave it much thought since I hadn’t specifically been in a position to hire or reject either one of them on anything. I just took it as merely a well, perhaps – to be filed in the back of my mind as a small red flag if ever the opportunity arose for myself or any of my friends to choose, or not choose, to work with or hire either one of them – ever.
So, imagine my surprise – and that of many others, I suspect – when these particular tweets of support and testimony finally came this week – decades later – corroborating the smear campaign against both Ms. Sorvino and Ms. Judd.
From Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings – one of the most successful film trilogies ever made –– on the two actresses:
I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998… I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women – and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list…
And this tweet from Terry Zwigoff, director of Dimension Films’ Bad Santa:
Needless to say both actresses tweeted their appreciation to finally know the truth after years of rumor and innuendo, and publicly thanked both directors for coming forward in support.
And yes it’s true, it does take courage even now with a deposed mogul like Mr. Weinstein, to volunteer the behind-the-scenes dirty laundry stories of how decisions are made at the major studio level. Other power players wonder, if the goings for them were to get tough, if even you – a financially and/or creatively successful director of hit movies – can be trusted to hire on a still incubating new project of theirs. Why take the risk? Is it worth it? Surely there is someone as equally talented. Not to mention…cheaper.
No, it’s not in the same league as being the victim of a sexual predator. But it’s a real good example of
- who these men are
- how they operate
- and exactly what they are capable of.
In business, that is. You, well, now know some of the rest.
#WatchYourBack. But more importantly, #WatchYourColleaguesBack.