By Patrick Brogan
Harvey Weistein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and producer Andrew Kreisberg have all seen their careers take a major nosedive after various allegations of sexual misconduct. Others in the entertainment industry like Ben Affleck, Bob Weinstein –Harvey’s brother–, Star Trek’s George Takei and Charlie Sheen have seen serious claims made against them and could end up in a similar position.
The political world is not immune to such allegations. Senate hopeful Roy Moore has seen numerous allegations made against him. George Herbert Walker Bush is a serial fondler according to some women. On the other side of the Atlantic, Michael Fallon was forced to step down over inappropriate touching and a Labour activist, Bex Bailey, said she was raped by a senior party member.
These allegations are fairly damning for those involved. However, it must be pointed out that many of these people deny such claims and must be entitled to clear their names instead of a media led which hunt. Personally, particularly in the Weinstein allegations, I don’t see why such high-profile actors would make such serious statements if they were not true.
Society is correct to react in such a way to wrong doing, but it is not consistent. Stranger Things is one of the most popular shows on Netflix right now. Those of you unfamiliar with it; a big part of the cast is made up of young teenagers. Ali Michael is a 27-year-old model. She posted up on social media about of Finn Wolfhard, 13 years of age and one of the stars of the show, and said; “Not to be weird but hit me up in 4 years” and tagged him in it. While she has been correctly criticised, I could only imagine the reaction if it was a 27-year-old man making the same comment about a 13-year-old girl.
Given all that has happened regarding sexual allegations, how come this wasn’t plastered all over the news in the way the Weinstein story was? It may be tempting to say the people involved are not as famous, but Stranger Things is one of the biggest shows around at the moment. Michael, much like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., didn’t really apologise saying that her comment was intended to be “tongue-in-cheek”. How is it acceptable to eroticise somebody so young? This is really troubling behaviour, especially in light of what else she posts up on social media.
The sexualisation of the young cast of Stranger Things doesn’t end there. Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven on the show, was described as one of the sexiest things on television. So this abhorrent behaviour is not restricted to gender, it would seem.
While the other allegations are terrible, let’s not forget for the most part they are still allegations. What is striking is the selective rage. How are Ali’s comments, which she did actually make, any less troubling than the allegations against Weinstein? In Ireland, we had mild outrage when a formerly respected journalist received a ridiculously short prison sentence for grooming and then sexual assaulting somebody in Wolfhard’s age bracket. Ali’s ‘joke’ is essentially green lighting this behaviour, but it was hardly front-page story stuff. Why?
This comes at a time when Hollywood is under the spotlight and sordid stories emerge of a cultural of sexual crimes almost daily. Corey Feldman recently handed LAPD a report he made on sexual abuse he suffered and witnessed as a child in Hollywood. Yet, a model continues to make comments about grooming. Finn Wolfhard described her post as “gross”. Gross, indeed.
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