by Brittany Greve
Hollywood has recently come into the spotlight, not for a new movie or a recent up-and-coming star, but for an abundance of sexual misconduct allegations against A-listers in the industry.
In early October of this year, Harvey Weinstein, a producer known for shaping the American film industry and championing liberal causes, was accused of raping three women and sexually assaulting and harassing dozens of others. Following these allegations, 22 other high-profile men throughout Hollywood have been accused of sexual misconduct with varying responses to the allegations.
Shortly after his allegations were uncovered by the New York Times, Weinstein was quick to apologize, saying, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.” While he apologized for the sexual misconduct allegations, Weinstein denied the accusations of rape.
Another of the 22 men accused was Kevin Spacey, a well-known actor famous for his appearance in the “House of Cards” series. Spacey was accused of sexually assaulting multiple men and engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor.
According to the New York Times, Anthony Rapp, an actor on Star Trek: Discovery, accused Spacey of making sexual advances in 1986, when he was 14, in Spacey’s New York apartment. Spacey issued a statement saying he was “beyond horrified” to hear the accusation, insisting he didn’t remember the encounter but apologizing to Rapp. Though he apologized for his actions, he used the opportunity to also come out as gay for the first time in public. This infuriated gay rights advocates who insisted that he used the chance to come out as a way of distracting the attention from the actual accusation.
Over the course of the next month, there were more than 20 men who were accused. Andy Dick, an actor in several independent films, claimed, “I didn’t grope anybody. I might have kissed somebody on the cheek to say goodbye and then licked them…I’m not trying to sexually harass people.” Louis C.K., a well-known comedian, was accused of exposing himself and masturbating in front of various women. He initially declined to comment, however he eventually admitted that the stories were true and claimed to be remorseful for his actions. Earlier this week, George Takei was accused of sexually assaulting Scott R. Brunton, a former “Star Trek” co-actor. The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Scott R. Brunton saying that Takei tried to remove his underwear after he had passed out from drinking at Takei’s condo. Soon after the interview was published, Takei took to Facebook to deny the allegations.
“It’s horrible that so many people got away with it for so long, but I’m glad more victims are feeling comfortable coming forward,” said Sam Coverdale (‘21). The allegations continue to pile up and some of them have led to severe repercussions for the perpetrators. For example, Weinstein was fired from his company and Netflix cancelled “House of Cards” after the allegations against Spacey. “Watching women not only accuse their rapists, but also to be met with enthusiastic and unwavering support as they watch these men lose their jobs and reputations has been oddly cathartic after the year we’ve seen,” said Jordan Aussicker (‘20). “[It] gives a lot of women hope for the future.”