In the wake of the recent Harvey Weinstein accusations, there has been an extreme flood of sexual assault allegations against Hollywood industry people including “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey.
Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp came forward and alleged that Spacey made sexual advances towards him back in 1986. This prompted Spacey to released a statement on Twitter in which he apologized to Rapp for the “drunken behavior” and came out to the public as a gay man.
Giving the excuse of “drunken behavior” as the reason to why someone else was sexually harassed is an example of everything wrong with the way people defend their actions. Why are we so quick to excuse “drunken behavior?” Alcohol doesn’t make people do bad things, it gives them an excuse to do things that they know are wrong.
Accepting drunken behavior as an excuse and forgiving the accused is the equivalent to disregarding and silencing the victim’s cries.
These past few months have been somewhat of a revolution in the entertainment industry. One confession has had such an impact on Hollywood that it has allowed many other victims to come forward with their stories. While Hollywood moguls hold power in this industry (and use it to their advantage), it’s refreshing to see that women and men will not be silenced when it comes to a serious matter such as this one.
However, the silence of these victims can be blamed on the media itself. Based off what is seen in many media outlets, whether it be on TV shows, movies or commercials, sexual assault is often portrayed in a non-serious matter. In fact, rape has even been joked about publicly by different actors.
By dismissing sexual assault as a serious issue and siding with the guilty, the victims are being silenced. With rapists being sentenced a mere six months for their crimes, how can anyone expect victims to be comfortable enough to talk about their assaults?
There shouldn’t be fear when it comes to owning your experiences and taking a stance on your body. There shouldn’t be fear when trying to take back your life. Instead of trying to victimize the guilty, society needs to learn to accept those who have been through sexual assault and stand behind them, not against them.
While big companies severe ties with those accused of rape, it’s difficult to tell what’s genuine and what’s being done for the sake of saving a company’s reputation. In the entertainment industry, reputation is clearly important to people.
Celebrities wouldn’t have to endure hours of media training and issue apology statements for every mistake they made if reputation wasn’t important. Companies and people that have such an impact on the general public are very careful to make sure they stay on people’s good side.
The lines do become blurred when they continue to show support to artists who have been in the media for all the wrong reasons. Chris Brown made headlines back in 2009 when he assaulted then-girlfriend, Rihanna. Despite this, Netflix streams a documentary with Brown where he opens up about his past, including the fight with Rihanna.
Companies like Netflix may be sincere in their decisions to cut ties with those who are accused of such heinous crimes, however there may always be the underlying thought of what is best for the company.
There needs to be a movement to change the way sexual assault is considered and handled. People need to learn that sexual assault is a serious issue and by not speaking up on it and standing with the victims, things will only get worse.
With every passing day, it seems that a hundred more stories of Hollywood moguls assaulting women and men arise. More victims are revealing their stories and showing us that there needs to be a stop put to this issue. This is a step in the right direction and there is an anticipation that it continues this way.