Sexual Assault is Handled Poorly in Hollywood

James Cantu

October 25th, 2017

U.S. President Donald J. Trump Ron Sachs/Pool/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS

Hollywood has an unfortunate track record of protecting pedophiles and sexual predators as long as they are male, rich, and powerful.

Names like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Casey Affleck, and Donald Trump have become household names for their contributions behind or on the camera.

But, rarely is it mentioned what happens behind the scenes, when the cameras aren’t rolling, with no one to hold them accountable for their actions until months, or years, after the fact.

Allen and Polanski are accused sex-offenders–Allen was never convicted and Polanski, although convicted, never served formal jail time.

Rather than remember Allen for molesting his, at the time, 7-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, he is remembered for Midnight in Paris, Annie Hall, and Manhattan.

Polanski is renowned for directing The Pianist, Rosemary’s Baby, and Chinatown, but not boycotted for the rape of a 13-year-old, or by the allegations of many other victims who’ve spoken out.

Affleck and Trump faced sexual harassment suits, but the majority of the cases were either dropped, settled out of court, or still ongoing.

Affleck has been accused of sexual harassment in 2010 by two women who were working with him during the filming of I’m Still Here.

The lawsuits include verbal disparagement, physical intimidation, and locking himself in the women’s shared suite as an intimidation tactic for sex.

Donald Trump has a long track record of being accused of sexual assault or harassment. This, sadly, is no surprise coming from a man who feels entitled to, “grab her by the p*ssy.”

The allegations stem as early as the 1980s when Trump sexually assaulted Jessica Leeds on a plane on a flight from Connecticut to New York; to 2006 where he reportedly assaulted Jessica Drake, an adult film actress and director, in a hotel suite at a charity golf tournament.

Affleck has since then won an Oscar, and Trump is now president.

A recent scandal emerged regarding Harvey Weinstein’s decades long sexual abuse and harassment. So far, Hollywood has condemned Weinstein’s behavior, and he has since been expelled from the the Motion Picture Academy’s lifelong membership.

Hollywood’s treatment of Weinstein is an outlier, but hopefully a sign of progression in the handling of assault cases.

Progress is slow, it starts at the individual level, then societal, then legal.

After all, laws are partly reflective of society and its values.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but respecting another’s autonomy and resisting the idea that you’re entitled to another person’s body should be commonly held values.

As long as Woody Allen movies are still being listed under ‘cult favorites’ rather than blacklisted, as long as actors and TV personalities like Affleck and Trump have a positive forum rather than being viciously condemned and viewed as ‘unhireable,’ or ‘unprofitable’ from producers and executives, until society creates a culture of accountability, men like Allen, Affleck, and Weinstein will continue to abuse until their victims gain the courage to speak out.

After all, it just proves to show that predators can be anything from an astronaut to the president of the United States, without the need of a script.

James Cantu

Opinions Editor

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