Since last fall, with the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, we’ve been awash in #MeToo. Tales of assault. Harassment. Promotions and opportunities denied.
Any woman working, whether in Hollywood or anywhere else, will tell you, yeah, #MeToo. It has been pervasive. Sometimes subtle. Sometimes not. On one of my first jobs, I complained to my boss that some of the crew had ‘sandwiched’ me in an elevator, and made some salacious comments. His response? It was the cost of doing business. “If you can’t stand the heat…” Literally, that’s what he said.
Fast forward a few years. (Okay, more than a few.) Women are speaking up. Those who have abused their positions are being outed. Good.
As the volume increased during awards season, I was disturbed to see a prominent producer, whom I know to have retaliated against a friend who refused his advances, stand in front of a microphone and decry this behavior. I supposed it’s to be expected. Another prominent individual was charged with being the mouthpiece for one of the guilds on the issue. When his response finally came, it was weak. Several of my friends defended him, others intimated there is a history there, too. Who is going to out themselves? No one.
It’s up to those who suffered the abuse to come forward, if they choose to. Not everyone will. It’s tough to stand in the glare of media attention, and claim victimhood, in my opinion. But it’s their decision. I support them either way they go.
BUT let’s be honest. We all know people who want the attention, and want to jump on the bandwagon too. They are willing to say, #MeToo, even if it’s not true. Or maybe only imagined. Or if they were offended someone even expressed interest in them. That’s not harassment, in my book. Once you say no, and if the conduct continues, then you might have a case.
Let’s not cheapen the process here. There are legitimate claims. Let’s see those people exposed for who they are.
Then let’s get back to the joy of our craft. With perhaps a lot more women participating in key areas of the process now.