It’s almost unreal that within a weeks’ time since Weinstein story was almost over, a barrage of new stories pertaining to sexual harassment and assault has hit the headlines concerning major actors and directors in Hollywood.
Kevin Spacey was removed from Netflix’s House of Cards and replaced by Christopher Plummer in Ridley Scott’s ‘All The Money In The World’; the executive producer of CW shows Andrew Kreisberg was let go by the network after sexual allegations surfaced and Louis C.K. admitted to sexual misconduct. But this was not enough and a bombshell was dropped by Canadian young actress Ellen Page against X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner in a long Facebook post. She said that when she was 18 and discovering her sexuality, she was very inappropriately outed as gay by the director of X-Men 3. Here’s what Ellen Page said:
“‘You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.’ He said this about me during a cast and crew “meet and greet” before we began filming, X Men: The Last Stand. I was eighteen years old. He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: ‘You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.’ He was the film’s director, Brett Ratner. I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea. He ‘outed’ me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic. I proceeded to watch him on set say degrading things to women. I remember a woman walking by the monitor as he made a comment about her ‘flappy pussy…’ I got into an altercation with Brett at a certain point. He was pressuring me, in front of many people, to don a t-shirt with ‘Team Ratner’ on it. I said no and he insisted. I responded, ‘I am not on your team.’ Later in the day, producers of the film came to my trailer to say that I ‘couldn’t talk like that to him.’ I was being reprimanded, yet he was not being punished nor fired for the blatantly homophobic and abusive behavior we all witnessed. I was an actor that no one knew. I was eighteen and had no tools to know how to handle the situation.”
Moreover, actresses like Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge have also come forward against Ratner which lead to the scrapping of Hugh Hefner Biopic project. Ellen Page continued to discuss about her career in Hollywood which is plagued by stories of sexual harassment. She said:
“When I was sixteen a director took me to dinner (a professional obligation and a very common one). He fondled my leg under the table and said, ‘You have to make the move, I can’t.’ I did not make the move and I was fortunate to get away from that situation. It was a painful realization: my safety was not guaranteed at work. An adult authority figure for whom I worked intended to exploit me, physically. I was sexually assaulted by a grip months later. I was asked by a director to sleep with a man in his late twenties and to tell them about it. I did not. This is just what happened during my sixteenth year, a teenager in the entertainment industry.”
She has written and talked about the problem of sexual misconduct in Hollywood in the past. For instance, she said that doing ‘To Rome with Love’ with Woody Allen was the biggest regret of her life. She called for action against these despicable malpractices in Entertainment industry and said:
“What I want the most, is for this to result in healing for the victims. For Hollywood to wake up and start taking some responsibility for how we all have played a role in this. I want us to reflect on this endemic issue and how this power dynamic of abuse leads to an enormous amount of suffering. Violence against women is an epidemic in this country and around the world. How is this cascade of immorality and injustice shaping our society? One of the greatest risks to a pregnant woman’s health in the United States is murder. Trans women of color in this country have a life expectancy of thirty-five. Why are we not addressing this as a society? We must remember the consequences of such actions. Mental health issues, suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, to name a few. What are we afraid to say and why can’t we say it? Women, particularly the most marginalized, are silenced, while powerful abusers can scream as loudly as they want, lie as much as they want and continue to profit through it all. This is a long awaited reckoning. It must be. It’s sad that”codes of conduct” have to be enforced to ensure we experience fundamental human decency and respect. Inclusion and representation are the answer. We’ve learned that the status quo perpetuates unfair, victimizing behavior to protect and perpetuate itself. Don’t allow this behavior to be normalized. Don’t compare wrongs or criminal acts by their degrees of severity. Don’t allow yourselves to be numb to the voices of victims coming forward. Don’t stop demanding our civil rights. I am grateful to anyone and everyone who speaks out against abuse and trauma they have suffered. You are breaking the silence. You are revolution.”
Hopefully, things will now change for young actresses working in Hollywood.