What I Was Saying Before #MeToo

The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey piece finally blowing the lid off Harvey Weinstein’s not-so-secret other life was published on October 5th. It was followed by the Ronan Farrow article in The New Yorker on October 10th.

Alyssa Milano ignited the world wide firestorm known as the #MeToo movement on the 15th of October.

So what was I posting online in the time between the breaking of the Weinstein story and Ms. Milano’s tweet on the 15th? (Exactly not a single soul has ever asked.)

Here are some excerpts. I’m posting them to provide some context as to who I am and what I was thinking in the time period after this story broke but before #MeToo blindsided the world just days later. (I’m sure I’m dreaming now but should any legitimate news source require links to the original locations of these rants, I will gladly provide those.)

(I’ve trimmed these and also removed the cursing. That took hours. 😉

Well, let’s start with the comment on the New York Times’ Lena Dunham op-ed Harvey Weinstein and the Silence of the Men that, if you haven’t caught the drift here on 50lux.com the last few days, I am contending planted the seed that ultimately led to the #MeToo movement.

October 10th

Men control the short and long-term career opportunities of thousands of the most desirable women on earth in what must be the most glamorous and lucrative career environment in human history, as has been the case for almost a century.

Know this. Behind the literal and metaphorical gates of those studios is a world beyond the reach of laws protecting women against all forms of workplace sexual misconduct and the result is as predictable as human nature itself.

Here’s what really needs to happen now. Every woman who has ever been presented with a career/sex quid pro quo in the entertainment industry should come forward and simply say, “Me, too.” From Oscar winners to those who abandoned their dreams and went back home.

I don’t know how many women would actually come forward. I do know the number who could would be beyond belief. But men in the industry aren’t going to fix this, why would they?

October 11th

Harvey Weinstein’s most egregious behaviors are only the tip of the iceberg is now, finally, a truth being said out loud.

Here is a slice from a comment on the NYTimes’ Lena Dunham piece.

“The Hollywood studio system is an incredible machine for building economic power structures by entrenching potentates in positions to exploit all comers.”

– smokepainter

The key points of this simple but oh-so-true statement are ‘incredible’ and ‘all comers.’ 

‘Incredible’ because it is the case that, as I may have said here in another thread, the career/sex quid pro quo is the coin-of-the-realm in Hollywood. Just think about that. How large and lucrative and glamorous and desirable a successful Hollywood career is. And that there exists within various stages of these careers a transactional relationship between the men who hold the power to make careers happen and the most beautiful young people in the world. (The vast majority who you will never see nor hear of.)

So is that not incredible? That there exists in one of the most modern crown jewel cities in the most liberal stronghold of a state in at least one of the countries in this world with the strongest workplace protections around these many unacceptable situations, an industry, the largest and richest in the region, wherein the coin-of-the-realm is still a sex/career advancement quid pro quo involving the young, beautiful, and ambitous, and the grizzled and horny men who control everything?

‘All comers?’ Yes. Of course. So let’s start with this. For most people coming to this area in pursuit of their show business dreams there is a very quick realization that this is an extremely expensive place to even live, pay rent, and eat. So whatever desires they have to make it in Hollywood quickly become a full-blown desperation to make it in Hollywood.

I don’t want to use the word ‘everyone’ and be seen as overstating something due to a too-literal reading of this, but most everyone in Hollywood encounters on every level men who are able to open career doors and opportunities for a little taste of the goods. The decisions are made by those who either want to slide into those opportunities at that time or walk away, and most likely begin the process of the inevitable walking away entirely from the dream of making it in Hollywood.

But what evidence of all of this sprouts forth so rarely into public view? The quotes above of the actor who was fondled in front of his wife. Look at them hard. They represent a transaction. I was fondled. I will not pursue the matter legally in any way. I want to continue on, sirs. In my career. Now Harvey Weinstein’s outing has opened a door and so I’ll tell my story to the public.

No doubt this is brave, but what does it tell anyone who is willing to do a little forensic analysis and some super low-level but practical math in their heads about what the realities must be in Hollywood? It’s that every form of sexual interaction imaginable, at every career stage and level of the entertainment field, is a quantified factor that must be dealt with, weighed, accepted, rejected, navigated around, etc. in order to make it in this town.

Today, a lot of the conversation turned to things that I have been hoping to hear. There was talk of how widespread this was throughout Hollywood. So check that box. But also there was a considerable bit of touching on the illegality of some of the things that have been going on, I would say for almost a hundred years… but let’s just keep things current for now.

But what I don’t quite hear anyone talking about, now or ever, is where has local state and federal law enforcement been over the many decades? I mean, there is a place in America, and this is it, where huge industries dominate the economic landscape, and within those industries people are behaving any way they damn well want to in the workplace, even in ways that are illegal, that prey upon the hopes and dreams of creative talented people, especially women, and nobody has lifted a finger to stop it for over half a century if not more.

Law enforcement? I’m not going to ask, as an Angelino, Where are they? I already know. But people outside of all of this SHOULD I would hope eventually get around to the question of who the hell was supposed to be enforcing laws against sexual predation in the workplace around here?

So where was law enforcement in an industry that everyone here knows operates with sexual favors being a part of the make or break realities of careers?

The issue here isn’t so much guys dangling their junk in front of women, like Harvey did. But guys dangling movie and television business success and riches and fame in front of women, which is something Harvey also did. And he certainly is just the tip of the iceberg. A writer/producer was on CNN this evening and said that even after her encounter with Harvey, who offered her a 3-picture deal if she would only watch him masturbate, that she basically pulled back from the business because she didn’t want to be made to feel like a hooker every single day.

Key points there. Hooker. And every single day. A provider of sexual favors for money. Every single day. What the hell? Yeah.

So when I talk about California. How big and how rich it is, and all of what that means, this is just one of those things. Actually two. The entertainment industry and all the things that go on within that industry that are just now starting to make their way into the ears and eyes of the public. And the second thing is the complete lack of any response, EVER, from law enforcement. Sure, the women themselves were and naturally would have been loath to pick up a phone and call 911 to report that Harvey Weinstein had just masturbated in front of them. Careers would have ended. Many did anyway just for refusing. The industry’s famously vicious legal response would have kicked in and sought to crush not only the allegations, but would have made clear that the person bringing the allegation would also find themselves in dire dire straits legally and financially. Counter-suits and threats of even possible criminal charges were not unheard of in the push back of the industry in protecting itself.

But still, the law is the law. It should send chills that in one of the largest and most modern cities in the world, right here in the US, all of this could be happening for basically the entire history of the entertainment industry with little or no efforts by law enforcement to investigate what everyone knows and knew was occurring in the suites of power as well as off-campus.

To be continued…


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