Hollywood’s Night of Self-Reflection

*All views expressed in the opinion section are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Salemite

The Golden Globes celebrated their 75th anniversary on Jan. 7, 2018. The Globes are usually seen as an escape from award-season norms such as the Academy Awards or the BAFTAs, and are typically hosted by comedians and seen as the award show where it is acceptable to get drunk and make bad jokes.

This year was a little different.

Golden Globe Awards - Season 75

Hosted by Seth Meyers, the Globes celebrated their diamond jubilee with a sea of black outfits and “Time’s Up” pins. The topic of conversation focused on sexual harassment. There were direct and pointed jabs at Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen. Many women brought activists as their dates. Michelle Williams brought Tarana Burke, original founder of the “Me Too” movement, and Meryl Streep brought Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, to name a few.

All of this is supposed to indicate some sort of beacon of change for Hollywood and, ideally, the world. By exposing the entertainment industry’s predators, the “Time’s Up” initiative is aimed at holding known abusers accountable for their actions.

However, it begs the questions: how many men wearing their pins that night have been the harassers, have been paid more than their female co-stars and stayed silent, or worked with a known harasser (and maybe even praised him)? How many powerful actors were using those pins to hide? A prime example is James Franco, who made headlines in 2014 when he admitted to hitting on a 17 year old girl via Instagram. On Globes night, he wore his pin and even won in his category–Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Within five days, five more women had accused him of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment.

Well-loved actors continue to work with known abusers like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson, etc., all while trying to validate their involvement by attempting to separate artistic work from the abusers’ personal histories. By furthering the work of a predator, the problem inches farther and farther away from being solved. Every man that stays silent in the face of allegations against his associates and every actress that says, “Well, Harvey Weinstein never made me uncomfortable,” is part of the issue at hand. Things will not get better unless the powerful ones speak up.

None of this is to say that there were not positives in a night of seemingly well-executed hypocrisy. Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) became the first black man to win Best Leading Performance in a Drama. Oprah became the first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille award. Debra Messing (Will & Grace) expertly called out E! for not paying their female employees the same as their male ones. In their acceptance speeches, women like Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern (both winning for Big Little Lies) called upon the elephant in the room and urged others to speak out about abuse.

It is clear that more will have to be done to fix the abuse problem in the entertainment industry than pins and black dresses. While the event’s intentions did raise awareness to the power discrepancies at hand, it also provided an outlet for abusers to hide in plain sight–the opposite of what was supposed to occur.

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