Hollywood: Enablers 'R' Us
Actress Rose McGowan is fast becoming Hollywood's worst nightmare.
Her reckless disregard for P.C. etiquette in the "#MeToo" movement, outing sexual predators, has spilled over into her pointing the finger at the "conspiracy of silence" in the entertainment industry – which eventually led to her own rape by the titan of Hollywood violators, Harvey Weinstein.
No one is off limits in a world where McGowan feels she has nothing to lose. As if to prove the point, McGowan refers to the black-clad actors on the night of the Golden Globes – attired in the funeral color to call attention to sexual abuse – as an example of "Hollywood fakery." She cited Meryl Streep, a once untouchable thespian, as a prime illustration of powerful women in entertainment who turned a blind eye to Weinstein's outrageous criminal conduct to advance their own careers. "You are such a lie," McGowan railed, blasting Streep, on social media for alleging she "did not know" about the three-decade-long sexual rampage of the now disgraced producer.
There is a cumulative justification to McGowan's rage.
She claims that her twenty-plus years in the entertainment industry covers some of the worst exploitation women have experienced in the workplace – all while an army of enablers stood by and allowed the sexual depravity to unfold decade after decade. She alleges that Harvey Weinstein (whom she refuses to identify by name, limiting references to "pig" and "monster") raped her at a Sundance Film Festival in 1997; that she endured a second molestation from an industry predator on the set; and that she experienced demeaning complicity from agents and managers, many of whom knew of the serial predators but chose to do nothing.
Her credentials as a survivor in Hollywood make her (almost) bulletproof. She is – like so many victims – imbued with a voice that garners respect and sympathy. Targets of her rage aren't going to further victimize the victim. Even the queen of thespians, Meryl Streep, is now facing harsh criticism by the leading voice in the "#MeToo" movement, RoseArmy (nom de plume of McGowan).
"Actresses like Meryl Streep – who happily worked for the Pig Monster [Harvey Weinstein], are wearing black @Golden Globes in a silent protest," McGowan wrote shortly before the night of the awards ceremony. "Your silence is the problem[.] ... I despise your hypocrisy." Streep made the unfortunate misstep of attempting to explain her silence in the Weinstein scandal by pointing out that the producer had always "acted appropriately" with her.
There is one overriding painful lesson McGowan and her young colleagues can glean from this ongoing chapter of abuse. The world is made up mostly of "bystanders." There are far fewer heroes and never a shortage of bystanders. Many of the surviving actors, now in their 40s and 50s, look back at the sexual depravity they endured and feel further violated by Hollywood enablers who remained hidden behind a wall of cowardice – no matter how many times the victims sent out their SOS signals.
It is very tempting to ask: "Why didn't someone do something?" Each and every one of these talented women should be reminded that she qualifies as "someone" now doing "something."
McGowan has written her memoir, Brave, released this month, calling out not just the sexual predators, but the "whole ecosystem" of Hollywood enablers.
It should be required reading for aspiring actors with dreams of retaining an agent and knocking on doors in Hollywood, all the while hoping their big break may come behind the next door, never believing for a moment that they are more likely to encounter a sexual predator schooled in the art of manipulation and destroying the self-esteem of the young and vulnerable.