Over the past century, Hollywood has never been without its controversies — ranging from political to personal to financial — but no matter the decade, improver behavior has often been covered up, especially for those in positions of power. In 2017, that's all changing.
Soon after the first of many sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey, from #StarTrekDiscovery actor Anthony Rapp, Netflix cut ties with the 58-year-old actor and suspended production on the hit series House of Cards. (Producers are now working on a plan to continue without Spacey.) Netflix also chose to not release Spacey's Gore Vidal film, and director Ridley Scott will replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World a month before its release.
Spacey joins a growing list. Producer Harvey Weinstein's disgusting actions are still being uncovered; director Brett Ratner and actor Jeremy Piven are facing numerous allegations of inappropriate behavior. The CW is looking into harassment allegations against #Arrowverse showrunner Andrew Kreisberg. Louis C.K. has lost his FX series and the release of his latest movie.
All of this, and especially the exile of Spacey and Weinstein from the industry, shows that Hollywood is ready to fix the long-running flaw of the quick redemption.
'Forgive And Forget' Won't Happen This Time Around
In hopes of keeping their careers alive, every celebrity who finds himself in hot water will respond in one of two ways: denying the allegations or begging for forgiveness, hoping to dampen the flames. But even with an apology, we are not so quick to forgive them.
In the past, many actors and directors eventually received a chance at redemption with a few projects here and there. One of the biggest and most recent examples is Mel Gibson, who was disgraced in 2006 for anti-Semitic comments during a DUI, and again in 2010 after leaving a threatening voicemail to his ex-wife that ended in a restraining order.
Despite the scandals, Gibson soon found work with largely praised roles in the action-thrillers Get the Gringo, Edge of Darkness and The Beaver. These were minor successes, but Gibson made his ultimate comeback with the Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge. He's now starring in the upcoming family comedy Daddy's Home 2.
It took a decade, but Hollywood had seemingly forgiven Gibson, who had apologized repeatedly for his offensive comments and sought help for his alcoholism and anger issues. That kind of redemption story is probably not going to happen again after 2017.
The Media Never Gave Women A Quick Redemption Story
When male celebrities like Gibson got in trouble, they received a chance to redeem themselves. But our society held female celebrities to a higher standard; if they did something improper, the media permanently labeled them a "train wreck" for the rest of their careers. For example, the public treatment of British singer Amy Winehouse prior to her death.
Despite widespread acclaim for Winehouse's music, the media focused on her alcoholism and drug problems. Viewers demanded more stories of Winehouse being caught on tape smoking crack or assaulting someone during a night out on the town. It wasn't until her death that the public chose to forget the singer's transgressions and remember her for her talents, eliminating the "trainwreck" label attached to her name for so long.
In the entertainment industry, for far too long, men received quick redemptions and women received delayed or even posthumous redemptions.
Dawning Of A New Era
Perhaps the biggest sign of change is Plummer replacing Spacey in the already completed All the Money in the World. While the studio could have simply shelved the film until Spacey's gross alleged actions weren't so fresh in the public memory, the decision to recast him signals an end to quick shots at redemption. Weinstein, too, will never work in Hollywood again; the company that carries his name, along with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, have expelled him forever.
There is still a lot of work to be done toward exposing these seedy characters, but Hollywood is moving in the right direction. Finally.