In the past six months, several female and male celebrities in Hollywood have come out to target the men of the industry who have sexually assaulted them during their careers. The wave of support that followed from fellow celebrities and the American and international public at large was huge. Its waves were heard and stretched from Twitter to the Golden Globe Awards and the 2018 Women’s March.
Men in considerable positions of power in the entertainment industry watched as one by one, their reputations and careers collapsed. Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey are just some of the high profile names to be outed in this massive scandal. While these brave victims who are coming out against their abusers, who are receiving the right response and the right support should be commended, this recent wave of abuse allegations has indicated a double standard exists for female aggressors.
Fortunately, the problem doesn’t stem from a lack of sympathy toward male victims. Actors, like Elijah Wood, Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek, have all come forward with their own tales of sexual harassment in Hollywood to overwhelming support. It just seems to be an unfortunate fact that accusations made against female aggressors aren’t taken as seriously as those made against their male counterparts.
That’s not to discount the sheer amount of men who have been outed, but the abuse perpetrated by women in power needs to be addressed as much as those made against men. The attitude needs to be turned from women and men fighting against Hollywood men in power, to victims of abuse seeking justice against their abuser — no matter who they are.
In November, 2017, the month after the first Weinstein accusations were made, Mariah Carey reportedly had a sexual harassment case on her hands. The former head of security for Carey, Michael Anello, told the world that during a trip he was told to bring luggage to the hotel room where Carey was staying at. When he arrived with the bags, she was wearing an open, see-through negligee. Anello reports Carey asked him to stay and help move the luggage, but he promptly left the room and no physical contact between the two of them was made.
To Carey’s credit, she does only have the one allegation against her, unlike similar cases, like that of Louis C.K., but the fact still stands this story has not received adequate coverage. I only heard this was going on this month. There aren’t big hard-hitting pieces about her in publications like The Washington Post or The New York Times. As far as press coverage goes, this accusation has received little more than silence.
Carey has been the only female celebrity accused of sexual harassment since #MeToo has blown up. However, the history of assault perpetrated by female celebrities, and it not harming their careers the way it has harmed men’s careers, runs longer than #MeToo.
In her autobiography, “Girls” creator Lena Dunham told tales of what practically equates to sexual abuse of her sister — all from masturbating while in bed with her sister to experimenting with her sister’s genitals. Despite this being a widely reported narrative by the press, Dunham’s presence in Hollywood remains largely intact. She has only been called out by the #MeToo movement for not being involved in meetings and for defending a “Girls” writer who was accused of sexual assault.
The double-standard reaches as far as covering female celebrities who committed assault of the general assault nature. Emma Roberts left her boyfriend Evan Peters with bite marks and a bloody nose in 2013, a case where police had to get involved, yet she continues to get work in 2018. Goalkeeper for the United States women’s soccer team Hope Solo continued to play for the team despite accusations from her nephew and half-sister that she had beaten them.This is not to paint women as evil or to take away from #MeToo’s fight against male abusers in the entertainment industry. When we treat female and male aggressors equally, we solidify the fight against sexual harassment and assault and empower all victims to step up.
Here’s to the prolonged success of movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up in their crusades to empower the victims of abuse. It’s time the fight was taken to everyone who needs to be confronted.