Fiachra Johnston follows up on the sexual harassment allegations that have recently plagued Hollywood.
In the wake of sexual harassment allegations made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein by numerous former employees and co-workers, more and more celebrities have been accused of crimes of a sexual nature. A list published by ABC News reveals nearly 40 men in various industries have been accused of, or have been reported to police authorities, for sexual harassment or assault. So great are the number of cases that the Irish Examiner reports Los Angeles’ Chief Prosecutor has set up a taskforce of “veteran sex crimes prosecutors” to analyse cases brought forward by the L.A and Beverly Hills Police Departments.
Among these cases was Kevin Spacey, star of Netflix’s House of Cards, who was accused by actor Anthony Rapp of making drunken sexual advances when he was 14. Since then 23 other men have come out publicly accusing Spacey of sexual misconduct and/or assault. Spacey’s response to the situation by coming out as gay also drew ire, with outbursts on social media saying that Spacey was trying to divert attention from the allegations.
George Takei, of Star Trek fame, was later accused by former actor and model Scott R. Brunton of sexual assault in 1981, which he has since denied. Takei had appeared on the Howard Stern Show two weeks after the Weinstein allegations surfaced, and when asked by Stern and his co-host Robin Quivers if he had every made sexual advances against someone’s will, was quoted as saying “Some people are kind of skittish, or maybe…afraid, and you’re trying to persuade.”
Comedian Louis C.K was accused by five women of asking them to watch or listen to him masturbate. C.K responded by confirming their stories were true, and releasing a formal statement. The statement however, did not contain an apology. Both distribution company The Orchard, and American cable company FX, who have both worked with C.K in the past, have cancelled all upcoming projects and severed ties with him. Also among the accused were Dustin Hoffman, who has since apologised for harassing a woman in a hotel room when she was 17, and Steven Seagal, who has denied two accusations of sexual assault.
Many have felt encouraged to speak out. Terry Crews, who claimed to have been groped by WME executive Adam Venit, posted a series of messages on twitter supporting those who had recently called out harassers, hoping that going public would “deter a predator and encourage someone who feels hopeless.” Crews later filed a police report against Venit.
Gal Gadot, star of Wonder Woman, reportedly refused to return for a sequel should producer Brett Ratner continue working on the series after seven women, including actresses Olivia Munn, Natasha Henstridge and Ellen Page, accused him of assault or harassment. Page also claimed Ratner outed her as gay to another co-worker onset before she had publicly come out in 2014.
The controversy has also spread to those not involved in the cases. Comedian Lena Dunham sparked controversy after defending Girls writer Murray Miller, who was accused of sexual assault. She later apologised and retracted her defence, stating “Every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely.” These allegations have also returned interest to several cases of harassment in the political spectrum, such as former United States President George H.W Bush, who has been accused by eight women of harassment since 1990, as well as current President Donald Trump, who has been accused of at least fifteen cases of sexual misconduct since the 1980s. Many of which surfaced after a leaked recording from 2005 surfaced where he described how due to his fame, he “can do anything” to women.