Big Sexual Assault Saga Shatters Hollywood
By Regina Sanchez
Within the last two months, over twenty Hollywood men have been accused of sexual assault. It all began in October, when both the New York Times and The New Yorker published reports of alleged sexual harassment by film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Since then, more than 80 women have come forward with similar accusations towards Weinstein. The large list includes Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne, Rose McGowan and many others.
Weinstein said the following in a statement to the New York Times:
“I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces
were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office - or out of it. To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment… I so respect all women and regret what happened.”
However, it doesn’t just stop there. Following the multiple accusations toward Weinstein, many other victims have stepped forward, speaking out about other cases of assault from many of Hollywood's well-known names.
Actor Kevin Spacey was accused of assaulting Anthony Rapp, who was only 14 at the time of the assault. Spacey was also accused by more than 20 other women. When Rapp’s accusation was made public, Spacey released the following statement:
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
Spacey ended the statement by coming out as gay, a decision that has gotten him a lot of criticism for the inappropriate timing.
Comedian Louis C.K. was accused by four women of sexual misconduct. There was a planned release for his upcoming film, “I Love You, Daddy” but the film was dropped as the accusations were made a week prior to the premiere.
C.K. also released a statement to the New York times in which he confessed to having assaulted these women.
“There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for,” C.K. wrote “And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with. I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work. The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them… I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother. I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”
These are just three names out of the more than 20 other prominent Hollywood men who have been accused of sexual assault within the last few months. And these are only the few allegations out of hundreds that have been made regarding these high-powered men.
On December 4, the notion that it was only the men in this industry that were abusing several women and men was changed when singer Timothy Heller accused her best friend and 2012 The Voice contestant, Melanie Martinez of sexual assault.
Heller shared a detailed four page story on Twitter about how Martinez over the course of a two night sleepover, became extremely interested in Heller’s sexual preferences. On the second night of the sleepover, Martinez convinced Heller to smoke weed before she performed non consensual oral sex and used a sex toy on her.
“I never said yes. I said no, repeatedly,” Heller wrote. “But she used her power over me, and broke me down. Just so there is no confusion, I was molested by my best friend.”
Heller mentioned that it was not in her original plans to mention Martinez’s name in the tweet, but she eventually chose to include it because of all the accusations that are currently being made in Hollywood.
“The only reason I do this now is because I’m hoping because of recent events, people will believe me,” she wrote. “Girls can rape girls. Best friends can rape best friends. Friendship doesn’t equal consent. Silence doesn’t equal consent.”
The following day, Martinez released a statement via Twitter in which she denied the allegation by saying, “I am horrified and saddened by the statements and story told tonight by Timothy Heller. What she and I shared was a close friendship for a period of time… We both had pain in dealing with our individual demons and the new paths we were forging, but I truly felt we were trying to lift each other up. She never said no to what we chose to do together.”
Fans of Martinez are currently setting an example of the double standards of rape, as many of them are still defending the singer. It’s funny how in all of the other cases where men were accused, no one once questioned the victims, but the second that Heller shared her story, Martinez’s fans began to shut down the allegations by saying that Martinez would never do things like that.
Just because these allegations are now coming to light doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been a major problem with sexual harassment in Hollywood’s past. The fact that some of these cases go all the way back to the 80’s and 90’s is eye-opening. It also raises the question: How many other women and men have stayed quiet about their assault stories in fear of harming the reputation or career of their abuser or themselves?