Hollywood is all abuzz about the latest sex scandal involving mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct with numerous actresses. The New York Times published the damning story detailing Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuses spanning decades. Weinstein is said to have made eight settlements in regards to accusations of lewd and lascivious conduct with women both off and on set.
One of these settlements was to actress Rose McGowan in the sum of $100,000 following an incident in a hotel with Weinstein in 1997. Since then, actresses Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have all come forward with stories of some form of sexual harassment at the hands of Mr. Weinstein. But while Weinstein is all anyone is talking about right now, he is really not an anomaly. Weinstein comes from a long line of men in Hollywood abusing their power and committing sexual misconduct against women.
In the first recorded Hollywood sex scandal, actor Fatty Arbuckle was accused of raping a young woman and rupturing her bladder at a particularly raucous party. The girl died a few days later, but Arbuckle was acquitted of any wrongdoing. Joan Collins claims to have lost the role of Cleopatra because she refused to sleep with a studio head. Shirley Temple recounts in her memoirs how a studio executive exposed himself to her. She was only 12 years old at the time.
Between the tender ages of 16 and 20, Judy Garland endured pawing and petting from countless studio bigwigs. One of the most notorious harassers was allegedly Louis B. Mayer, the head of the studio, according to author Gerald Clarke, who wrote Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. “Mayer would tell her what a wonderful singer she was, and he would say ‘you sing from the heart’ and then he would place his hand on her left breast,” Clarke wrote.
In more recent years, we are all still reeling from the sex scandal surrounding Bill Cosby. Dozens of women have come forward confirming that they were drugged and raped by “The Cosby Show” star. He is currently facing a retrial on charges that he drugged and molested a former Temple University employee at his home in 2004. If found guilty, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison.
Weinstein was fired by the studio that he co-founded with his brother, Bob. Celebrities and Hollywood execs in positions of power are finally facing consequences for their deplorable actions. These men have been getting away with it for far too many decades, and their accountability is long overdue. Bravo to the women who are taking a stand and speaking out. Exposing these crimes is a step in the right direction toward stopping them altogether.