Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Harassment, Pt. 2.

Unless you've been hiding under a literal rock lately, I'm sure you've at least heard about all the sexual harassment scandals rocking Hollywood right now. And no, I'm not only speaking to those of you based in this town, or even this country. I mean the whole world. Seriously. I've had friends from other countries tell me it's all over their newspapers.

With one scandal after another, Hollywood (or at least on the executive level) is burning (haha. See what I did there?).

But one co-worker in general seems to be obsessed with all the news. Every minute of down time he gets, he's looking at his phone for the next guy to be exposed as a creep. And when the Weinstein scandal first broke out, it was nearly impossible to have a conversation with him without it being brought up.

"Did you hear about this Weinstein shit?"
"Decades! They're saying DECADES. What the fuck?"
"His wife just left him!"
"Gwyneth Paltrow! Rose McGowan! Mira Sorvino! Angelina Jolie!!"
"Did you hear this thing about what he did in front of a reporter to a plant??"

He was following the scandal closer than the grips were following their fantasy football picks (which is saying a lot).

One day, in between set-ups, he was waving around his phone again with the latest Weinstein update when I asked him, "Why are you so obsessed with this?"

"It's just so crazy! Can you believe this shit happened??"

I just stared at him and nodded. Because I was speechless.

I was speechless because I suddenly realized why he was so fixated on the scandal. It was new to him. He's never heard of such a thing before. Never witnessed it. Never experienced it.

Never was made uncomfortable on set. Never had someone in power make a pass at them. Never been inappropriately grabbed. Never been "accidentally" brushed up against. Never felt unsafe at work.*

Never been catcalled on the street. Never had to make sure you parked under a streetlight because you knew it was going to be dark by the time you left. Never had to walk to said car with your fist around the key ring, keys between your knuckles like mini Wolverine claws. Never got inappropriate calls or texts in the middle of the night. Never got sent an unsolicited dick pic. Never had to make sure no one touched your drink when you weren't looking. Never had to "watch what you wear".

I realized he was fascinated with the harassment scandal because he didn't know such things happened with such regularity.

I, on the other hand, wasn't surprised at all the accusations.

So yes, Weinstein Obsessed Colleague, I can believe this shit happened.

What I am surprised about is that not only is it all coming out, but it seems like people are actually taking notice this time (yes, I said "this time"). It gives me hope that maybe now women's voices will be taken seriously and finally hear what we've been trying to say for years. It gives me hope that maybe one day soon, sexual harassment, no matter what sexual orientation or gender one might be, will be gone from film sets.

I love this industry dearly and can't see myself doing anything else, but I'm also growing tired of this "boy's club" and "boys will be boys" mentality.

I'm hoping something good will emerge from these ashes this time, and no longer swept under the rug like so many scandals before it. And I don't mean more useless "sexual harassment training" that everyone just complains about having to attend despite never hearing a word that's being said anyway because they're too busy fucking around on their phones. No one (no department heads that I've ever met anyway) takes those seminars seriously. Those are good for nothing more than pleasing the lawyers. They do jack shit in preventing actual harassment.

I'm hoping that we as an industry will band together. I'm hoping that people will realize the phrase "I was just joking" will not negate the fact that your comment about my body or sex life is inappropriate. I'm hoping that when we see someone being made uncomfortable, we'll stand up for them. That when someone says something disgusting, we'll call them out on it. That when we witness inappropriate behavior, not only will we report it, but that our reports will be taken seriously, no matter who the accused is, and that we can do so without fear of retaliation in our current jobs and future ones.

Then, and only then, can our industry change.

Previously. And previously.

*And I don't mean, "Gee, that FX guy sure doesn't seem like he has enough fire extinguishers for our big explosion" kind of unsafe. I mean the "I don't trust this guy enough to be alone in a room with him" kind.
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