It’s somewhat exhausting dealing with modern technology and the endless supply of drama, hate, harassment, racism, sexism, and the absolutely fear-inducing actions of the current administration. Every day there’s something new and ridiculous being exposed. Of late, each day brings with it the latest allegations of wrongdoings by a man in a position of power. If you’re in the entertainment industry it’s likely the end of your career. If you’re a republican, your support will expand (Hi, Roy Moore!).
As I thumbed through Facebook weeks ago when the #metoo campaign was in full force, I read details from friends of mine that I should never know, primarily because things like this shouldn’t happen. I wasn’t surprised by the number of #metoo’s, I simply figured if a woman I knew didn’t post something she didn’t want to, wasn’t ready to, or hadn’t logged in that day. I wanted to write something, a show of support, but I couldn’t formulate words that couldn’t be read as insensitive or self-serving, and I know that the campaign wasn’t yearning for input from my voice, both as an individual person and as someone on the privileged side of most demographics (except for liberal, still amazed that it is viewed as a pejorative simply because I believe in science, think people should marry who they want, and it’s not a bad thing to want to help other people).
I was disappointed in the actions of Louis CK. Harvey Weinstein was a scumbag across the board, an asshole to anyone he viewed as lesser (which was everyone) and a violent predator beyond that. CK presented a different image. He cultivated a persona as hero for the sadsack underdog. I heard rumors on his behavior years ago but still bought tickets to see him live, thinking they were just rumors. And he made me laugh. And now I’m done with him and he’s done regardless.
I read his apology note. I thought it was interesting how he was able to do something so positive-actually validate the accusations, and not lie or use his position to shame the women. He also offered to go away, not to continue to douchebag his way through his downfall like Weinstein. Yet, his statement was still undermined by his overuse of the word “admiration, magnifying his lack of understanding on the situations, highlighting his own privilege. And it rang false that he was coming clean now when just weeks ago he refused to comment on “rumors,” despite knowing there was truth there.
I worked on a few films over a decade ago. I had a dash of opportunity, but mostly decided not to pursue it because nearly everyone I worked with was an asshole. It was cycle of abuse that kept trickling down to the lowlies on the totem pole (where I always sat). I didn’t have to face the type of abuse and harassment so prevalent in all the stories, but even the tip of the iceberg shitty behavior I was exposed to was enough to keep me at a distance. I soldiered on a different path, carving out a career for myself in an industry I cared less about because I could succeed without being an asshole. That said, the gaming industry is still a very toxic industry, and easily more sexist than Hollywood, just based on sheer numbers of women in positions of power. Everyone can do better. We can start there.
It’s a shame that these things happened at all, and I support and applaud the (mostly) women coming forward in public or secret to shift the balances of power away from the predators and violators. If there’s any secondary good that can come of this, it might be that people will think better about demeaning and violating others, not simply because basic human decency encourages it, clearly that was never a concern, but now that fear of the end of their careers and the negative impact to their legacies are a factor, it could bring about real change.
Still, it’s all baby steps. I’m horrified that in a recent poll Roy Moore still has strong support from his base. The same base all too quick to condemn Hollywood for being a den of sin are fine with pedophile in power, so long as he’s a Republican pedophile. We can do better than this. As a species, we have to be better.