A shift in the entertainment industry’s history of abuse
This past year, the entertainment industry has withstood an immense amount of change. From sexual assault allegations of well known celebrities to the promotion of female creativity, the “Time’s Up” campaign appears to have shifted the unequal power dynamics of the film industry.
Although the movement was created by Tarana Burke in 2007, the use of Twitter allowed the “Me Too” movement to grow much larger in 2017. Actress Alyssa Milano, known for Charmed (1998–2006) and Commando (1985), urged social media users to share their sexual misconduct experiences on the social media website (Vagianos). After an influx of responses, the rampant use of the #MeToo hashtag began to gain country wide attention, which eventually garnered responses aimed towards figures within the entertainment industry.
Many celebrities, such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, were accused of sexual assault by men and women, but these accusations shifted into an empowering movement within the film industry. Through the use of public accusations and unity among its members, the “Time’s Up” movement has started to shift the film industry away from its harmful history of sexual misconduct.
Although extremely disturbing, the many accusations against Harvey Weinstein have helped spark a drive within the movement. “Weighing the Costs of Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein,” an article published by Ronan Farrow in 2017, focused on Annabella Sciorra’s accusations against Weinstein.
Farrow states that, “Weinstein had violently raped her in the early nineteen-nineties, and, over the next several years, sexually harassed her repeatedly” (Farrow). The actress, who appears in The Sopranos (1999–2007), was one of over 50 women who publicized their experiences with Weinstein. Sciorra and the other accusers feared for their personal well being after making their accusations public, including Uma Thurman.
The actress, known for Kill Bill (2003) and Pulp Fiction (1994), states that she, too, was a victim to Weinstein’s sexual misconduct (Dowd). Her fear of the producer created a lack of freedom within her career, because she was not comfortable working with him. As the Twitter hashtag surged, more accusations against renowned actors and figures within the industry began to pour in.
“Time’s Up” Campaign
The “Time’s Up” movement was strengthened through the unity of its members, which was displayed at multiple events in Hollywood. In “Will Awards Season Ever Be the Same?,” Jodi Kantor addresses the movement’s impact on the entertainment industry’s award season. She remarks, “Harvey Weinstein helped build the awards circuit as we know it. He’ll be gone from this year’s Golden Globes — derided, decried, joked about — but his presence, and questionable legacy, will be everywhere” (Kantor).
Although Weinstein was not present at any of 2018’s award shows, the impact of his sexual misconduct was inadmissible. At the 2018 Golden Globes, almost all attendees dressed in black to represent their unity with the victims of sexual assault within the industry, and many others, such as Justin Timberlake and Jessica Chastain, also wore unique “Time’s Up” pins. A similar form of organization was also present at the 2018 Grammy’s, where attendees wore white roses as a form of public solidarity.
Many powerful speeches were presented during the 2018 award season, such as Frances Mcdermott’s Oscar speech, which called for representation of female creativity within the film industry. Janelle Monae’s Grammy speech also sought to promote change within the broader scope of society.
The singer exclaimed, “let’s work together, women and men, as a united industry committed to creating more safe work environments, equal pay, and access for all women” (Monae). Her powerful speech spread the message of the “Time’s Up” movement to audiences across America, which helped to create a stronger base for the movement’s goal.
The Movement’s Impact
Although the shift within the industry’s dynamic may appear simple, a large amount of effort was exerted in order to promote this new change. Many individuals, such as Timothee Chalamet, were forced to alter their projects involving the accused men. As the movement reached a peak, Chalamet was already acting in a project for Woody Allen, who has notorious been accused of sexual misconduct and pedophelia.
The Oscar nominated actor from Call Me By Your Name (2017) and Lady Bird (2017), decided to donate his entire salary for the film to charities, including the “Time’s Up” campaign and the New York L.G.B.T. Center (Codrea-Rado). While his donation was a difficult decision, his lack of support for accused sexual predators, such as Allen, helped aid the movement in its goal.
Allegations against Kevin Spacey, an actor known for American Beauty (1999) and The Unusual Suspects (1995), were made public soon after the movement progressed. After actor Anthony Rapp stated that he was sexually assaulted by Spacey at the young age of fourteen, many of the actor’s future projects were cancelled or altered.
In “The Race to Erase Spacey,” Brooks Barnes focuses on alterations made to Ridley Scott’s All The Money in the World (2017), which originally featured Spacey as a lead. The concerning allegations led Scott to recast Spacey’s role and reshoot all of his scenes only one month prior to the film’s release date. While talking about the shoots, Barnes writes, “Mr. Scott and others worked 18-hour days as they rushed to finish in nine days what would typically have taken at least a month” (Barnes).
The actions of individuals, such as Spacey, affect more than just their victims; they also affect fellow actors and members of the film community, who, in this case, were forced to exert an immense amount of work towards the film’s completion.
The Success of “Time’s Up”
The awareness raised by the movement has been beneficial in seeking justice for those who have committed wrongs on others. Although Bill Cosby has been accused by countless women, he was recently found guilty of sexual assault. The court case, which is the first success of the “Me Too” movement, was eye opening for many individuals across America. Prior to Weinstein’s allegations, Cosby, the previously beloved comedian, was one of the first celebrities accused of such immense sexual crime.
The case was documented in Graham Bowley and Jon Hurdle’s “Bill Cosby is Found Guilty of Sexual Assault,” which shows that although his actions have brought his victims a tremendous amount of pain, their unity was present during the case. The authors state, “many of the accusers celebrated the verdict with laughter and tears,” (Bowley & Hurdle). The unity and drive of his accusers make them appear as strong individuals, rather than just victims to the hands of a celebrity. This type of beneficial unity among women is also evident within the case of R. Kelly, a famous R&B singer.
Throughout the past decade, Kelly has faced serious allegations of pedophelia and sexual assault, but no verdict has emerged. Despite video-tape evidence of his actions, which were used in court, the singer has led a successful music career. “Mute R. Kelly”, a new campaign within the “Me Too” movement, attempts to bring awareness to his unjust actions (Coscarelli).
While the movement has been unsuccessful in bringing the singer to court, it has created a serious tank in the success of his most recent tour — he was even forced to cancel many of his upcoming performances. The power of these social movements is indisputable, and individuals, such as the creators of “Mute R. Kelly”, have been successful in their mission.
Backlash to the Movement
Although the movement has garnered support for the success of its goals, members of “Time’s Up” have encountered a great amount of opposition. Towards the start of 2018, a committee of French women, including actress Catherine Deneuve and author Catherine Millet, released a letter opposing the American “Me Too” movement. In “The Right to Disturb,” Roberto Refinetti translates their letter, which was initially published in a French newspaper, Le Monde.
He states, “Prohibiting the free expression of sexual interest, they point out, would curtail sexual freedom” (Refinetti). While the American movement aims to end sexual advancements within the workplace, the women from France feel that its goals are damaging to the sexual freedom of individuals. They do feel that sexual assault is wrong, but they also believe that individuals within society should have the “right to disturb” others. They also express that the “Me Too” movement paints women as victims, rather than in positions of power.
Despite this opposition, the “Time’s Up” campaign has been successful in achieving its goal of workplace equality. Other members of society, such as American farmworkers, support the movement’s goals of workplace unity, and Latina farm workers from the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (National Alliance of Poor Peoples) feel that the “Time’s Up” movement also has the power to help the lives of the 700,000 female agricultural workers within the United States (Collective).
Although the accusations of celebrities do not impact them first hand, it is important for the country’s industries to join together for a common goal of justice.
“Time’s Up” in Society
Many believe that the “Time’s Up” movement only affects the film industry, but it actually affects workplaces across the country. While sexual misconduct may be extremely prevalent within Hollywood, women and men across America are also affected by it everyday. Although celebrity involvement and bravery, including that of Annabella Sciorra and Uma Thurman, continuously creates change throughout the entertainment industry, it also helps to develop a new standard of employee treatment within the entire country. The accusations of this past year, such as those against Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, help to aid the “Time’s Up” campaign towards its goal of workplace equality for all individuals. Without the impact of the “Me Too” movement and the bravery of its participants, the film industry’s abuse of power would have continued indefinitely.
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