Oh Harvey, Harvey Where Art Thou? and Oh Yeah, #metoo
So far, this year 2 Harveys have come and gone like gang-busters. Hurricane Harvey blasted Houston, dumped its fury and left the victims with nothing left to lose. The other Harvey, Hollywood Harvey, was tripped up by his victims and downgraded from a movie mogul to a rehab patient.
I wasn’t gonna chime in. But this #metoo movement is on a groundswell. So I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring. I wouldn’t go as far as a #meetoo but I do have a #someoneIknewtoo to share.
In the 90s, I lived and worked in Hollywood as a lowly laborer, a scenic painter for tv commercials and movies. I rented a one-bedroom off Detroit street in Hollywood . To help out with rent I advertised for a roommate. One day, a beautiful girl and her aunt came by and wanted to rent the room. The girl was a 19-yr-old from Pennsylvania and has been traveling and working as a model. Her photos appeared in major international magazines. Her aunt at the time worked as a producer for Steven Seagal, the movie actor. She brought her niece out to LA to help her as a production assistant. Steven Seagal was preparing for some big productions. And he also was married to Kelly Le Brock, the object of desire for many teenage boys like me in the 80s. For some reasons the aunt wanted the girl (let’s call her A) to have her own living space. So she parked her at my space. A had a classic apple pie story. She was the highschool queen and her boyfriend was a football star. In many ways, A was still a little girl. She loved watching Saturday morning cartoons in bed. Often, she would get a call from her boyfriend back home in the middle of the night, drunk, crying and telling her how he missed her. A seemed a bit conflicted at times. She wanted to have a normal life marrying her high school sweetheart and have a family. On the other hand, she loved that glamorous life as a model.
One day she came home scared. I asked her what was wrong. She then told me that her aunt dropped her off at Steven Seagal’s hotel room and left. He then locked the door behind. Hmmm, a 19 yr-old beauty and a middle-age big name actor in a hotel room by themselves with a locked door. Wonder what would happen next? I don’t want to go into details here but you get the point. Then fortunately, a room service knocked on the door. A quickly went to open the door and slipped out. Nothing did happen to her. Many times I wondered what happened if the room service didn’t come? Why would her aunt left her there by herself? Was it intentional?
No matter whom we are pointing our fingers on, whether it’s Steven or Harvey or John or Donald, sexual harassment or favor in Hollywood and many other corporate cultures exists because of the people who enable it. It’s the people who worked for people like Harvey Weinstein or Steven Seagal that weaved this web of entrapment to bring their bosses their offerings in exchange for the positions they held. How many of those are now saying #metoo?
Well for me, I’m guilty for not saying anything about it in the first place. But in respect to A’s privacy I remained quiet. However, we ought to think about how to change the culture from within. I asked myself constantly that by remaining quiet are we an accomplice?