By Fasutino Galante
On Oct. 5, 2017, sexual misconduct accusations against American producer and former film executive Harvey Weinstein surfaced. Weinstein, according to his accusers, allegedly committed acts of sexual assault and rape against multiple women throughout his career. In a press conference, Weinstein confessed his wrongdoing and apologized for his actions. Since the Weinstein scandal, at least 20 other high profile men have been accused of sexual misconduct. At least 12 of these men are part of the entertainment industry. On Friday, esteemed comedian Louis C.K. admitted to having committed inappropriate acts of sexual misconduct toward women. As an admirer of Louis C.K., his admission to these allegations was hard to swallow. I soon recognized that I would never be able to react to his jokes in the same way. Kevin Spacey’s sexual misconduct scandal proved equally shocking to me. I came to the conclusion that watching House of Cards and American Beauty without having an image of the actor molesting a 14-year-old boy in the back of my head would be impossible. A trend has clearly developed since the Weinstein scandal: people in show business are finally being held accountable for their actions. Hollywood should be extra-anxious in the coming months. With individuals summoning the confidence to expose celebrities and the media intensely hunting for celebrity sexual misconduct stories, it seems as though many careers may be in jeopardy, and rightly so.
According to an article published by the New York Post, many individuals in Hollywood were aware of Weinstein’s sexual misconducts before they went public. Though initially denying having had any knowledge of Weinstein’s shady past, Matt Damon and George Clooney reportedly were aware of the film producer’s issues with sexual misconduct. Likewise, according to Rosie O’Donnell, many celebrities knew about allegations surrounding Spacey. On Oct. 30, O’Donnell took to Twitter in order to ridicule Spacey noting, “like Harvey we all knew about u – I hope more men come forward.” It is evident that many in Hollywood have covered up their colleague’s wrongdoings for years. Finally, however, it seems that times are changing. A chain reaction, spurred by Weinstein, has allowed individuals to fearlessly come forward. Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, for example, “told no one about his experience” with Spacey. Rapp, however, explained that the “cumulative effect” of the various women who came forward against Weinstein “compelled” him to tell his story. With so many people coming forward about being sexually assaulted by Hollywood stars, individuals who originally feared doing so will be inspired. Though many of these sexual misconducts occurred somewhat long ago, such as in the cases of Spacey and Louis C.K., victims now finally have the confidence to come forward to the public and allow their abusers to get the shame they deserve.
When I heard that Buzzfeed was the media outlet responsible for breaking the news about the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding Spacey, I was a bit surprised. Though Buzzfeed is indeed reputable, it is nonetheless not truly considered a typical media outlet. To summarize, if you asked my mother what Buzzfeed was, she would probably not be familiar with it. The “social news organization,” however, gained notoriety after publishing its article on Spacey. Major media outlets such as The New York Times were forced to begin their articles about the Spacey scandal by citing the website. The media is a business. This fact should come as no surprise, especially in a period when the term “fake news” is uttered by our president at least once a day. Its primary purpose, other than informing individuals about the news, is making money. Hollywood sex scandals are great headline-grabbers. They help media outlets gain notoriety and profit. For this reason, in the coming weeks, any story which has anything remotely to do with sexual misconduct in Hollywood will likely be published and go viral.
The media is aware of what the public wants to read and, right now, the issue of stars sexually molesting others is on the minds of our nation. No matter the degree, sexual misconduct of any sort performed by a celebrity will be printed. Sexual misconduct ends careers. Weinstein, Spacey, Louis C.K. and many others may never be able to bounce back from these scandals. Both Hollywood and the public want nothing to do with them. No one will be able to appreciate these entertainers in the same way again. Anyone in Hollywood who believes they have committed any act of sexual misconduct in the past, no matter how long ago, should be aware that, in the words of John Lennon, instant karma is going to get them. It will end their careers.