What’s Going On: When Godless heathens take a stand
What's Going On
“Down is up, up is down. Good is Wicked, Wicked is Good. The times are changing. This is what Oz has come to.” – Author Danielle Page.
It all started with Harvey Weinstein.
It’s been about a month since the accusations surfaced surrounding the famed Hollywood producer/director. Sexual exploitation and harassment soon evolved into rape allegations, of which criminal charges may be forthcoming.
But criminal charges or not, due process or not, fair trial or not, consequences came quickly for the Hollywood mogul, culminating in him being fired … from the studio he co-founded.
Weinstein’s saga has proven to only be the opening act in a theatre of immorality.
Whether empowered by Weinstein’s accusers coming forward or motivated by less noble intentions, victims of various sex crimes perpetrated by celebrity entertainers have spoken en masse.
The list of accused reads like a Hollywood Who’s Who: Actor Kevin Spacey, Comedian/Actor Louis CK, and Directors Brett Ratner and Roy Price. The media reporting these scandals haven’t been immune either, as those accused include celebrity fashion photographer Terry Richardson, literary critic and editor Leon Wieseltier, NBC News analyst Mark Halperin, and National Public Radio News Chief Michael Oreskes.
And much like with Weinstein, the accusations were followed by immediate consequences.
Netflix cancelled the widely popular series “House of Cards” that starred Spacey. Warner Brothers cut all ties with Ratner. Price resigned from Amazon Studios. Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair said Richardson can’t work for them. Oreskes was placed on leave. The Atlantic told Wieseltier to go read a book. Halperin was fired.
What happened to Louis CK may be the most startling. An upcoming movie starring him and John Malkovich that was slated for a release this weekend has been abruptly cancelled. That’s a big deal if not for any other reason than the fact the studio that owned the movie’s rights just purchased it in September … for $5 million.
In other words, they were willing to eat $5 million just to put some distance between their studio and a guy who (at the time) was simply accused of sexual misconduct involving half a dozen women.
Here’s what I find most puzzling though: there is one entertainment celebrity who not only was accused by several women of sexual harassment, he even admitted it. Heck, who are we kidding. He bragged about it. His consequence? He got elected president.
I recognize drawing this parallel just infuriated a large number of readers. Right now, some of those readers are using words and phrases like “liberal media,” “fake news,” “snowflake,” or my personal favorite, “enemy of the state,” to describe me and this column.
And that’s fine. Yet it doesn’t change the fact it was the liberal media and those that make up the den of inequity, Hollywood, who reacted immediately and drastically when allegations of this sort surfaced.
They didn’t wait for a trial. They didn’t wait for criminal charges or due process. They didn’t wait on a special prosecutor. Harvey, Kevin, Roy, Louis, et al, you’re fired. We don’t care if it costs us an Emmy-award winning show or even $5 million, we don’t want anything to do with someone accused of this kind of behavior.
Conversely, the party of the moral majority chose as their leader a man who bragged, on the now infamous ET videotape, about “moving on” women and groping them.
While this may appear to be a condemnation of President Trump and his supporters, it isn’t. Donald Trump is who he is, and he is nothing if not honest and transparent. He admitted his transgressions and (sort of) apologized for them.
So did Louis CK, but it still wasn’t enough to appease the immoral, liberal, Godless Hollywood executives and the people who consume their product.
As President Trump has succeeded in fueling the Us vs. Them divide between conservatives and liberals (and by extension, Hollywood), maybe that has contributed to these contrasting reactions to similar accusations.
Or even more terrifying, maybe society is holding its entertainers to a higher standard than its elected leaders.
Is this what Oz has become?
Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.