While sexual abuse is sadly nothing new to Hollywood, those on the receiving end of such monstrous acts find themselves with more of a voice than ever these days. With the support of the media and those around them, victims are being urged to come forward and expose anyone and everyone who feels it is OK to behave like this — no matter what their social standing.
In light of the recent Harvey Weinstein case, more and more people close to the source are speaking out about the current state of affairs and what needs to be done to stop such atrocities. One such champion is Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who, in an emotional open letter to the industry, called out those who have used their power to abuse men and women across Hollywood. With the letter clearly aimed at the Weinstein scandal, Gunn is one of several big names to call for change in Tinsel Town.
Finding Your Voice
Taking to Facebook under the title “On Sexual Predators in Hollywood (and the World),” the director starts by recalling a recent soirée he went to with three female friends and the tragic stories that they told him. Shocked by what he had heard, Gunn decided to take it upon himself to share their horrifying stories:
“Endless incidents of these women being subject to the repeatedly unwanted sexual advances of men, ranging from your every day entitled Hollywood scumbucket douchebag to attempted rape. To them this conversation was casual – they’ve gotten used to sexual harassment being a part of their everyday lives – but to me it was horrifying.”
He then went on to reference the Weinstein allegations in particular. For those who don't know, the 65-year-old is accused of being behind several cases of sexual harassment amidst an investigation by the New York Times:
“Yesterday, I tweeted that if even 1/10 of the stories about Harvey Weinstein are true, and I believe they are, then good f—ing riddance. F— him and everyone who enabled him to get away with such behavior. The tweets got a lot of news coverage and I got a lot of responses. One of the primary responses was that sexual predation is a terrible problem… for Hollywood.”
Raising a valid point, Gunn reminded us that even in these times of political, religious, and cultural bias, sexual harassment doesn't discriminate when it comes to those who carry out these acts:
"As we’ve discovered lately with the numerous sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, and Bill O’Reilly, sexual predators have no political affiliation. They are Republicans, Democrats, Communists, Nazis, Green Party, Whigs, and whatever-the-hell-else is out there. But they also know no status or occupation..."
Tragically, the recent situation has more of a tie to Gunn than many, and his letter draws parallels to his own abuse as a child at the hands of Catholic priests:
"They are movie stars and network heads and world famous bloggers — but they are also fast food restaurant managers and used car salesmen and, as I learned as a child (and tried to speak out and was shut down), priests."
Gunn has been candid about revealing his troubled childhood, and the latest round of abuse has clearly hit a personal nerve. He ends his post with a poignant reminder to warn readers that sexual predators are "killing" Hollywood.
As for Weinstein, Gunn is just one in a long line of directors and actors to publicly call out the shamed studio head. Kate Winslet has slammed Weinstein as "disgusting," while Rose McGowan has called for the entire company's board to resign. Elsewhere, Kevin Smith said he was "ashamed" that the Weinstein Company had financed his films, but Meryl Streep stoically reminded us that this kind of abuse was nothing new to cinema. Things may sadly never change completely, but with so-called powerful people like Cosby, O'Reilly, and Weinstein called out for their actions, at least their victims have managed to find a voice.
You can read James Gunn's full post below: