It is classic utilitarianism that Harvey Weinstein would be sacrificed for the benefit of the many who still exploit and abuse women in Hollywood. It has been pointed out that others like Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby remain in the Academy despite their egregious actions.
Though there are women who have acquired power and control, Hollywood is still a man’s game, steeped in exploitation and abuse of those they designate as objects, particularly women; those who are vulnerable, beginning their careers, and desiring to live their lives as working actresses. This is an historical, systemic crisis that is swept under the red carpet, and hundreds of lives have been destroyed by it.
To believe that the Academy will take agency in cleansing the industry of such predators is naïve.
For them to issue a statement that includes, “And shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior…in our industry is over,” is nothing short of a public relations tactic, a hollow declaration by an industry which has profited from such predatory behavior. This is the ugliness it fails to address, laughing at the open secrets to get through the pain of it.
However, we cannot speak of this without acknowledging the beauty of the industry.
Hollywood has not only provided endless sources of visually and viscerally stunning entertainment, but has inspired, incited, educated, and agitated us. It has become an intimately integral part of our lives, and though we have a complex relationship with it, we crave its offerings. This perhaps the most tragic part of all, that as profound as its assets, so is its dysfunction. We speak its language, immerse ourselves in its scandals, and are mesmerized by its glitter. In fact, we are complicit in the ways in which it operates by our own consumerism of it.
We could exert pressure by divesting from its products until there is a fundamental change, but that would require a sacrifice that we are not willing to make. So we continue our investment, and some hope that one day there will be a change, while others are indifferent or ambivalent. In the end, it is the well-oiled and glistening machine that will continue to roll unimpeded, with us as comfortable passengers. In so many ways, and with our blessing, Hollywood has gained the world, but lost its soul.
(Top photo credit Blake Everett – Wikimedia Commons)
Ron Kipling Williams uses art, media, performance, and education to break down walls, facilitate open and honest conversations, and build community. He has generated a reputation for being real and authentic in tackling issues of race, class, and identity, and has influenced a generation of Baltimore-based artists. Ron’s awards include a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, a Baltimore City African-American Male Unsung Hero Award, and a United Workers Human Rights Champion award. In 2016, Ron was selected as an alternate for the Fulbright Scholarship. Ron holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore, and serves as adjunct professor. He is the author of an autobiographical book of poetry and memoir entitled Black Freak Mosh Heaven, and is the creator, writer, and performer of Dreadlocks, Rock & Roll and Human Rights. To learn more about Ron, visit his website at www.ronkiplingwilliams.com. (Author photo credit: David Sebastiao)