This Chat Cinema Podcast came with a lot of thought. We debated on how to cover the topic.
The #MeToo Movement has affected every part of the entertainment industry. In light of the revelations, Hollywood is going through a period self reflection.
I worked in the film business. The “casting couch” was very much a part of the process for women and men. The stories of “midnight meetings” were part of the landscape. The history of Hollywood: Studio moguls, executives, directors, and producers dangled parts for “favors”. Actress Heddy Lamar said, “the most famous women in the world were the biggest sluts”.
Use Your Head
Harrvey Weinstein never covered his trail. There was no need because he made money and won awards. Many willingly overlooked his behavior. Guardian Film Reporter Peter Bradshaw referred to him as the “Caligula of Cannes”.
The performers union SAG/AFTRA represents 160.000 performers. Many always looking for work or the big break. When a once in a life time opportunity knocks on the door, many turn off the thinking button. A chance of a chance of landing a role in a film or televsion show.
Victim shaming is a term used in elite centers like Los Angeles and New York City. All hotel rooms have one main piece of furniture, the bed. If a late night meeting takes place in a suite, perhaps questions should be asked. The most obvious is, why this time? In urban culture this is described as a “Booty Call”.
As a gay man who has been involved in a few late night rendezvous, a “meeting” at the Ritz after 9 pm usually does not involve detailed contract negotiations.
Rewriting history for the sake of an argument clouds over past female achievements. Women controlled their cinema destinies. Mary Pickford co-founded United Artists studio with Chaplin, Douglas, and Griffith. Gloria Swanson briefly produced her own features after leaving Paramount. Claudette Colbert reached the top of the mountain becoming the highest paid performer in the business in 1938 and 1941 with complete control of script, director and leading man casting decisions. Colbert demanded certain close up camera angles from cinematographers.
While the need for diverse voices is crucial. The heavy doses of sermonizing mixed with A-list victimhood dilutes the message. Madonna going on television complaining about career obstacles as a woman came across as humbled shopping spree at Nieman Marcus. Protesting about fair treatment while walking the Red Carpet wearing $10.000 gowns had an air of day time soap opera self importance. Am I the only person who missed the point?
Yes! The film community needs to do better. There is hope. Less Victimology, more substance would be appreciated.
The writer worked in Hollywood at the bottom of the ladder staring upward.