Allegations of sexual harassment should always be dealt with as delicately as possible, as it takes a huge amount of courage for victims to come forward. Which is why the women in Hollywood who exposed Harvey Weinstein have been praised by the media and fellow actresses for doing so.
As it stands, there are now more than 100 allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Harvey Weinstein. After these allegations came out, it didn’t take long for Weinstein to resign from his company, and go into hiding by disguising his sexual harassment advances as a sex addiction, that he claims he is now seeking help from.
Shortly after the Weinstein allegations, House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey was exposed for having made sexual advices towards actor Anthony Rapp, who was a minor at the time. But instead of taking the Weinstein route and blaming this on a sexual addiction, Spacey came out with a statement that briefly touched on his allegations and instead focused on his sexuality as a bisexual man.
I do not believe that a rehab clinic can ‘cure’ any man who uses his power and influence to sexually harass women. Neither do I believe that your sexuality can be used to excuse sexual advances made towards a minor. So this idea of Weinstein and Spacey seeking help in form of clinics and therapists is something I remain extremely sceptical about.
And as if things couldn’t get worst, here comes Bryan Cranston. The sixty-one year old Breaking Bad actor recently did an interview with BBC where he spoke on the Weinstein and Spacey allegations. After listening to the interview, I can honestly say I understand why some women chose to keep silent. When interviewed by the BBC, Cranston stated that Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein may be forgiven and shouldn’t be blacklisted by Hollywood.
In his words exactly:
“It would take time, it would take a society to forgive them and it would take tremendous contrition on their part. And a knowingness that they have a deeply rooted psychological and emotional problem and it takes years to mend that. If they were to show us that they put the work in and are truly sorry and making amends, and not defending their actions but asking for forgiveness, then maybe down the road there is room for that, maybe so… We shouldn’t close it off and say, ‘To hell with him, go away and rot for the rest of your life… Let’s not do that, let’s be bigger than that.”
Firstly, it is not up to any man to decide if Weinstein should be forgiven or not, only the victims of these assaults get to make that call. It comes across as extremely presumptuous and somewhat condensing for any man to feel like they have the right to tell female victims of sexual abuse, when, how and why they should forgive their abusers.
But can we really blame Cranston for implying that these men should be forgiven, when Hollywood continues to disregard the actions of white male actors such as Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe and Woody Allen? These men have been accused of using racial slurs and/or making sexually inappropriate comments towards women, and yet they still manage to have thriving careers in the entertainment industry. Perhaps the problem isn’t with Cranston’s comments, but lies within Hollywood’s desire to put white men on pedestals and make them feel as if they are invincible – which, undoubtedly, makes the feel like they can get away with anything.
Men in Hollywood, such as Bryan Cranston, feeling like they are entitled to tell women how to react in these type of situations, is a reminder of how warped Hollywood’s perception of sexual harassment is. So warped in fact, that men feel they have the right to dictate to the decisions of women who have been sexual harassed or abused.