Finding out that your hero has a dark side
Stumbling on misogyny and sexism kinda sucks
After the show last night, my friend E takes me for a quick drink (cranberry juice) before we both head home. It’s the hottest day of the year, so I cut a strange figure dressed entirely in stage black. She, on the other hand, looks eternally glamorous, having just finished a day interning at the Beeb.
Anyway we get chatting about who inspires us in the biz. The usual names rattle off; Ashley Pharaoh, Heidi Thomas, Mark Bell, Robert Mckee, a few more screenwriters, producers, a few actors, few comedians. We are probably weird in our choice as we like the production and editorial side as well as the shiny faces at the front of the BBC. E slickly name drops all of the people she’s worked with. I sit in awe.
Eventually, we come to one of my top favourite performers. E trills at me, biting her lip. “I’m surprised you like him!” She says, a little ominously. I’m confused. As far as I’m aware, this guy is ethically immaculate.
Tall, devilishly handsome, charismatic and intelligent, I know that I’m not the only girl to crush on him. I look at her, eyes wide. “Oh M, you are so innocent! You mean you haven’t heard?” I shake my head.
“Well, I suppose you wouldn’t have if you aren’t in TV.” She says, flicking her hair to the other shoulder. “He’s a MASSIVE misogynist.”
I gape at her. “No, he’s not.” I say. “ Humour is subjective. I’m sure he was being ironic or something.”
“ Oh, this wasn’t anything he just said,” E continues, dramatically. “ He hits on literally every woman he works with. Or meets. It’s disgusting.”
Mhm. This is a bit harder to defend, but I roll with it. “I’m sure that’s just his way of being friendly or amusing. He’s from a different era.”
“ He makes remarks about their bodies and what it would be like to fuck them and everything. In FRONT of them.”
Fuck. It got worse.
“He tried to grope one of the girls he was in a film with but she pushed him off. It’s horrific. He’s got KIDS.”
I weakly agree that I was probably wrong about him, and that was disgusting. I won’t name who the guy is, because these are all unsubstantiated rumours, but I don’t think E would have made this all up.
This really sucked. It seems more and more that people we idolise fall from being hilarious, charitable and talented people to being perverts, creeps, wife beaters and sexual predators. I was particularly sad to hear this because he was one of the few people from that era (90s) who wasn’t involved in some sordid sex case. My dad met him once and said he was lovely. Urgh.
So, like so many, there’s another name I won’t praise again. The list of disgraced talent seems to be building by the day: Johnny Depp, Rolf Harris, etc.
Oh well. At least attitudes are changing.