There is probably no greater news story in the media right now than what’s going on with the countless Hollywood men who have been accused of rape and or sexual assault. It is a real thing that has been happening for years in the industry that so many wishes to be a part of; that so many risk everything to be a part of every day.
We know that there are things expected of actresses if they want to be successful movie stars, but having to perform sexual favors as a means to gain access to roles and stardom? That’s not the way things should be. While it is clear that the men who do these horrible things are connected in circles that have power, money, and influence, the way it is coming to light now has become a turning point in the rape culture saga that exists in Tinseltown, but why? Well, according to actress Jane Fonda it has everything to do with the race and status of the victims, and I don’t think she’s too far off from the truth. Classism in America has once again reared its ugly head on an issue that affects so many more than just the rich and famous.
When the Harvey Weinstein story broke and I saw how he was losing everything from his family to his money, I thought to myself, “Finally.” People are finally seeing that the way these men conduct themselves in Hollywood is predatory and disgusting – is what I thought to myself.
I believed that after what happened with Bill Cosby and all the accusations that were brought against him a few years ago, folks were tired of the sexual abuse and were ready to do something about it. They made an example of Cosby for sure, and they were doing the same damn thing to Weinstein because enough is enough. Race didn’t matter here; Weinstein is white and Cosby is black. It’s about principle! Again, this is what I thought to myself. But then Fonda made some eye-opening statements about the victims, and thus it brought me to this conclusion – Classism in America is the reason that people are fed up with the sexual misconduct in Hollywood.
Fonda made some great points during an interview on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.” In fact, she made points that I’ve made in the past about white women, fame and black women. She told the host, concerning the Weinstein Scandal,
“It feels different. It feels like something has shifted… It’s too bad that it’s probably because so many of the women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein are famous and white and everybody knows them. This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color, and it doesn’t get out quite the same.”
I, and I am sure a host of other women of color (WOC), felt vindicated by her words. Someone who is a member of the white community unapologetically getting it? Has hell frozen over? Not only does Fonda get it, she also lets the whole world know that this is more than likely why every time a person goes on social media or turns on the TV they hear about it. Her assessment of the situation pretty much sums up the reasoning behind the fuss.
Classism in America is the reason Harvey Weinstein has been destroyed. These things have been going on for decades in Hollywood, and he is not the only culprit. In fact, more than 300 women have accused screenwriter and director James Toback of sexual harassment or some kind of sexual misconduct. And because they are in the industry, white and famous, it matters more than the countless that have experienced this kind of thing for years in entertainment that are not white nor famous.
We have classism to thank for the disciplinary actions that have and continue to be taken against powerful men who don’t know how to take ‘leave me alone” for an answer. Because of the way this country is set up in how it values lives, the white, rich, and well known receive more justice than the poor, brown and nameless. It is an understatement to say that this is not how it should be. But thanks to the fact that the rich, and usually white, have favor amongst society that their wealth lacking counterparts do not have access to, when they are wronged, it shines a brighter light on important issues.
I am glad that the caliber of the victims of these ‘men’ has tipped things in the right direction when it comes to rape culture in Hollywood. But I am disappointed that the many, less famous women who have been trying to say something for a long time were ignored because they didn’t fit a certain bill. Wrong is wrong no matter who it happens to and the outrage that people feel, seemingly, because of who the Weinstein, Toback, etc., victims are must extend to those who have similar stores but gravely different backgrounds.
Classism divides us as a country every day. It dictates too many aspects of our society and has no place in determining what victims of sexual crimes deserve to be acknowledged, validated, or believed.