In 1977, French-born film director Roman Polanski was indicted for having sexual relations with a 13-year-old girl in the home of Hollywood mega-star Jack Nicholson.
At the trial both Nicholson and his then girlfriend Angelica Huston testified against Polanski, who pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, after which he received 42 days in an LA jail.
Though other charges were pending at the time of his release, the famed director of Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown fled the country, and he’s never returned, due to the threat of additional prosecution.
So why then, do some of Hollywood’s most ardent feminists refuse to condemn him?
Is Hollywood Really Pro-Woman?
In an undated article posted on feminist.com titled, Men and Sexual Assault in the Age of Trump, writer and pro-feminist activist Rob Okun wastes no time diving headfirst into the culture of sexual abuse that supposedly permeates Hollywood.
He implores readers to forget about men like Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby. Though they’re all worthy of disdain, instead Okun suggests that we:
“Remember all the women, famous and unknown, who have survived everything from catcalls to rape for as far back as well, forever.”
Perhaps Hollywood is a cesspool of catcalls and rape. Most of us wouldn’t know, but for the sake of argument, let’s say that it is and always has been.
But if that’s really the case, why do women continue to flock there, and worse yet, why do the successful ones stay so long?
Harvey Weinstein vs Strong Women
Abusing women is wrong.
That goes for verbal, emotional and physical abuse, and it doesn’t matter if it’s perpetrated by a high-rolling entertainment mogul against a barely-legal starlet, or an unemployed dishwasher against a 40-something Midwestern housewife.
Apparently however, Harvey Weinstein wasn’t into housewives, because according to the BBC:
In many instances, the purported cases of unwanted sexual advances, forced oral sex and outright rape were more than a decade old before they came to light.
It begs the question, why didn’t the victims report the incidents sooner?
In an article on verywellmind.com from September 2019, Matthe Tull, PhD says the following about the repercussions of sexual assault:
The horrors of sexual assault should never be downplayed.
In many cases Weinstein’s accusers claim he physically forced himself on them against their will. In others however, he suggested a massage while wearing a bathrobe.
Are we to believe that even unwanted advances are so traumatic that strong, confident, level-headed adult women are incapable of dealing with them?
Studies indicate that most women don’t report sexual abuse due to shame and embarrassment, but in the Weinstein cases, some may have remained silent to protect their careers.
The time lapse suggests that these seemingly intelligent women found that toiling away year after year in an industry rife with sexual abuse and exploitation was apparently just a small price to pay for their stardom.
Feminists Supporting Sexual Predators
When referring to men’s inability or unwillingness to help put an end to the exploitation of women, activist and playwright Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues fame, now known simply as “V” for vagina, said she was “over the passivity of good men.”
She also asked, “Where the hell are you?”
In the aforementioned article Rob Okun deftly replied, “As of now, we’ve mostly been absent.”
That may be true, but haven’t prominent women been painfully absent too, by tacitly supporting men like Roman Polanski who’ve been convicted of the very same behavior they claim to detest?
After it was released In 2010, The Ghost Writer starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall and Olivia Williams won some of the film industry’s most prestigious awards.
It was controversial too, largely because it was directed by Roman Polanski.
Ironically, early in her career, Williams had a run-in with another predator – Harvey Weinstein.
An online article in the Daily Mail UK states that:
But apparently acting in a film directed by a convicted child rapist wasn’t a problem.
Likewise, from news.com.au:
But like Williams, Cattrall’s disdain for Weinstein didn’t stop her from working with Polanski, a predator cut from the same cloth.
When asked about it on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, Cattrall said:
“I have a very clear definition of separating someone from their work and their life.”
She did say that Polanski’s crime was heinous, but claimed the case was fraught with “runaway gossip” and “propaganda.”
Actions speak louder than words, Kim.
It’s Trump’s Fault
Though it seemed unlikely at first, Okun does say something most of us would agree with, at least partially
“Sexual assault,” he says, “is not a women’s issue; it’s a men’s issue and a community issue.”
Perhaps he should’ve stated, “Sexual assault is not just a women’s issue.”
Maybe the omission was intentional.
Either way, it is a community issue.
Before signing off, Okun includes a quote from Jane Fonda in which she implies that the Weinstein affair wasn’t an isolated incident, but a symptom of a male-dominated society where women are seen as less than complete human beings only there to satisfy men’s desires.
Fonda and Okun also agree that Trump’s election emboldened men to become abusers.
As if in basements all over the country men are rejoicing before marching upstairs and abusing the wives and girlfriends they’ve previously never touched.
The piece doesn’t mention if Okun is a Bill Clinton fan, but Fonda is, according to an article in Variety.com, which states that she spoke at a Unite4:Humanity event honoring the philanthropic work of the former president, Robert De Niro, and Martin Scorsese among other Hollywood notables.
Maybe they all forgot about his Oval Office extra-marital affair with a young intern named Monica Lewinsky.
Of course, some will undoubtedly claim they were “forced” into using their sexuality to get ahead. After all, enjoying the spoils of your bargain with the devil is a far safer position to throw the devil under the bus. But in all fairness, real adults admit their share of responsibility for making the deal with the devil in the first place.