Wednesday, October 25, 2017

So long, Harvey

It seems Harvey Weinstein's and James Toback's "casting couch" is being taken to the cleaners as many women have come out with their stories of sexual abuse these past two weeks.  The most vociferous has been Rose McGown, who claimed she was raped by Weinstein and subsequently gagged when she settled her sexual abuse case out of court.  She has vented her anger not just on Weinstein, but Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and George Clooney as well, who she said were fully aware of Harvey's sexual predation.

All three  Hollywood A-listers have since offered mea culpas of sorts, saying they should have exposed Weinstein long ago, but it is hard to bite the hand that feeds you.  True for many women as well, although they had sufficient reason to fear they would be blacklisted, as Rose says she was anyway.  No one wants to work with a "difficult actress."

It all began with the sagas of Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, both notorious womanizers.  The first allegedly drugged his victims to make them more pliable.  The latter had a thing for teenagers.  Roman's first love-child forgave him, but there has since been more revelations.  To this point, Polanski has enjoyed immunity abroad, continuing to make movies and generally held in high esteem, but if Marianne Barnard's allegations prove true it is doubtful he will be able to escape the scrutiny that now envelopes Hollywood.

No producer, director or actor is safe.  The #MeToo campaign has gained significant momentum with many A-list actresses speaking out, including recent Oscar winners Jessica Chastain and Julianne Moore.  They repelled Weinstein's and Toback's advances, but many others fell prey.  Harvey and James used their positions of power to extort young actresses into sex, an all too common practice in Hollywood.

Jessica Chastain tried to remind persons that this kind of abuse goes all the way to the top, but so far our Groper-in-Chief has managed to steer clear of the allegations swirling around Weinstein.  Oddly enough, it has been Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders who have come under fire for "enabling" Harvey because they took campaign contributions from him.  Yet, here was Philandering Don at an after-dinner party with Harvey and their young wives in 2009.

Turns out Harvey wasn't so much interested in making movies as he was creating an environment in which he could pick and choose among hot young actresses.   For all his talk of producing the best films in Hollywood, he had only one Oscar to his credit.   He never had any respect for anyone around him, known for his tirades and severe editing to make films "watchable."  He was nicknamed Harvey Scissorhands.

Toback is pretty much a third-rate director and writer with the only decent film to his credit being Bugsy, which he wrote the script.  He tried to lure Julianne Moore to his apartment back in the 80s.  Maybe he imagined her in The Pick-up Artist opposite Robert Downey Jr., a role that eventually fell to Molly Ringwald?  More likely he just liked what he saw. The funny part is that Toback used the exact same pick-up line a second time, leading Moore to ask, "do you even remember me?"

He offered a more lame excuse than Harvey for his behavior, saying that for the past 22 years it has been "biologically impossible" for him to engage in the behavior ascribed to him, as he suffers from diabetes and a heart condition.  Tough break.

It is hard to say what will become of these Hollywood predators or if the industry will clean itself up.  The Motion Picture Academy has given Harvey the boot, but still retains Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski.  James Toback apparently never qualified to be a member.

It seems that the ladies have finally gotten their due in Hollywood and they aren't going to relinquish it any time soon.  So, beware whose ass you grab at the next party, Ben, it just might be your last "Buttman."

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