Casting Stones from Casting Couches

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 October 6, 2017|
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The New York Times on Thursday published a withering expose of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual harassment against women. No one in Hollywood is shocked. He’s tried to get out in front of the story by stating, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”

Well there you have it. Done.

Of course he only came forward after hiring a phalanx of attorneys in what I can only imagine was an attempt to stop the story from appearing in the first place. In Weinstein’s bizarre non-apology apology, he blamed the 1960s and ’70s—as if every man who came of age during that time turned out to be a lecher or a rapist.

But don’t worry. Weinstein, a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was “With Her” and, despite making movie after movie glorifying gun violence, plans to spend the rest of his days going after the real enemy in all this, the NRA. So it’s all good.

Nice one Harvey. And here I thought you might spend the rest of your days learning the difficult and subtle art of how to not use your power to extort young women into having sex with you.

In other entertainment news, brilliant director and fugitive rapist Roman Polanski is “over it.” Polanski, a man to whom none other than the conscience of Hollywood, Meryl Streep, gave a standing ovation and who many Hollywood luminaries—including Weinstein himself and the ethically challenged Woody Allen—want “freed,” is “over” the nuisance of being reminded of his rape in 1977 of a 13-year-old girl.

He’s over having plied her with Quaaludes; he’s over having invited her into a bedroom “to take pictures.” And he’s definitely over repeatedly sodomizing her, despite her continued vocal objections.

Ironically, news of Polanski’s ability to move on breaks at the same time as yet another woman—the fourth—steps forward to accuse him of underage rape.   

I wonder if Whoopi Goldberg will consider this one rape-rape.

If these weren’t enough, let’s take a moment to reflect on the pharmacological stylings of Bill Cosby or the complicated family life of Woody Allen. Then there’s Jeffrey Jones, the actor who played principal from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” who, like Weinstein, apparently came of age in the ’60s and ‘70s, which must have been what led him to pay a 14-year-old boy to pose for nude photos. Former child actors complain that the industry is full of pedophilia and child grooming, yet the industry takes no notice.  As if to ensure that the trend remains current, Glee Star Mark Salling, who most definitely did not come of age in the 60 and 70’s, recently pleaded guilty to possession of 50,000 images and videos of child pornography—with victims as young as 3 to 5 years old.

But not to worry, as Harvey Weinstein himself proclaimed, “Hollywood has the best Moral Compass.”  

And if we need to know anything about the way in which the powerful in the industry view those at the bottom, we need only to look at what George Clooney said of Steven Bannon’s attempt at screenwriting. You don’t have to like Bannon to see very clearly how Clooney views the artists below him who struggle to get their work made: “Steve Bannon is a failed fucking screenwriter,” spat Clooney. “Now, if he’d somehow managed miraculously to get that thing produced, he’d still be in Hollywood, still making movies and licking my ass to get me to do one of his stupid-ass screenplays.”   

That’s right. They expect people to “lick their asses.” I’m assuming, of course, that Clooney meant that figuratively, but considering the culture of the industry outlined above, who can really say? Regardless, the powerful in Hollywood relish obsequiousness at every level. They are all too happy to let everyone in their orbit know about the power dynamic between struggling artists who are moved to create and those who have landed at the top.  And what’s more is the unspoken understanding, even the expectation, that they might use that power for lecherous ends.

Harvey Weinstein isn’t an aberration, he’s just the most prominent and current example.

I’ve worked in this industry for more than 20 years. This isn’t easy for me to write and I’m pretty sure it won’t help my career. But it must be said. I bristle at the nerve of an industry that tolerates and even praises the likes of Polanski and Weinstein having the temerity to lecture the rest of the country about morality and the meaning of a good life. It’s beyond chutzpah or hypocrisy. It beggars belief.

So when prominent entertainers and Hollywood executives stand there and lecture the rest of the country about any moral issue, it’s good to take a step back and realize who it is doing the talking.   

Every time a talk-show host, actor, producer, director, or executive opens his mouth and pontificates on this or that national moral failure, we ought to respond loudly and with one voice:

Enough!

You stand there and you lecture us about morality? You tell us how to vote? Or who deserves generational and cultural praise? You give standing ovations to admitted rapists, to men that would do harm to children and women—and you would indict the rest of the country as immoral?

You peer from the commanding heights of an industry awash in sexism, racism, age discrimination, and a tacit acceptance of pedophilia; where the “casting couch” is so common an occurrence that it’s a running joke and no one within bats an eye to question it? Where the depravity of the powerful takes aim at the innocent? Where the accusations of rape by former child actors are shrugged off as “business as usual”?

You profit from irresponsible and inaccurate portrayals of guns and the glorification of falsely romanticised gun violence all the while seeking to assuage your obvious guilt by pointing fingers at the guns themselves and by indicting the millions who use them responsibly despite your product?

You work with, worship, and try to appease reprobates knowing full well their reputations for indecency and then have the gall, the audacity, to criticize anyone for anything?

Celluloid Houses, apparently, are extremely resistant to self-reflection and can only project the monsters within them onto the world at large.   

Hollywood, don’t you dare tell us what to do.

About the Author:

Boris Zelkin

Russian born Boris Zelkin is an Emmy Award-winning composer who has written the music to countless films, documentaries, television shows and major sporting events including the Tucker Carlson show, Bill O’reilly, the upcoming “Gosnell” movie, “FrackNation,” Citizen United’s “Rediscovering God in America II,” Roger Simon’s “Lies and Whispers,” the America’s Cup, the Masters, the World Skating Championships, the U.S. Open, NASCAR, the Stanley Cup Championship, and the theme to ESPN’s NCAA championship coverage. Zelkin received his B.A. from Colgate University and earned his M.A. in religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has written extensively on the culture for various online journals and was a major contributor to the recently released “Bond Forever,” a book about the James Bond franchise. He currently resides in Los Angeles but is always looking for way out.

  • Somebody_Something

    I pray that the people who most need to see this in the entertainment industry WILL. It is spot on.

  • msher_1

    Picture is muddy. NYT, biggest official hit machine of left, took him down. But, as reported in depth elsewhere, Lisa Bloom “counseling” Weinstein for the last year. That muddies the picture. Bloom and her mother, Gloria Allred, are also official Democrat hit machines. Allred took out Republican Senate candidate eBay CEO, Meg Whitman, and orchestrated the accusers against Cosby. Bloom has represented accusers against Cosby, O’Reilly and Trump. How do NYT and Bloom “counseling” Weinstein fit into the same picture ? Yes, Bloom seems to have extorted backing of her projects, but she is still part of official Dem. hit machine. She was on the Weinstein team while NYT, the biggest voice of left hit machine, took him down. This picture is not clear.

    I have been writing for months that Hollywood is of full sleazes such as Bill Cosby. (I grew up there.) And, I asked, why was Cosby alone singled out for destruction? That question was rhetorical: I knew. He was a black man talking about personal responsibility, need for black fathers and need for education. He rejected the “blame whitey, it’s all racism” narrative. ( Actually, he was known in his acting days, especially the early ones, as a very angry man, not all that collegial with his white colleagues. But that was not his public message.)

    So Weinstein is now the second powerful Hollywood sleaze to be targeted. As professional, Mr. Sleaze, himself – Hugh Hefner – is lauded. The pattern is clear. Be as much a sleaze as you want, as long as you don’t step on the left’s message. Hefner advanced the message of the so-called sexual revolution. (Feminists don’t seem to care he is also the pinnacle of the objectification of women.) Rapist Roman Polanski, reliably left wing, is considered a martyr persecuted by the U.S. gov’t. How did Weinstein transgress to find himself targeted? Will we ever find out? Do other Hollywood sleazes know what they need to do? Cosby is obvious, Weinstein not. Hollywood sleazes must be very confused right now.

  • Alice P Jones

    It has been said for years that if you want to be in a Spielberg film then you had to give him a “monica.” Hollywood is a pit of depravity. All of us would be shocked. It is far worse than you can imagine.

  • Winefred

    What I found most disturbing among the crowds when Polanski won his Oscar in absentia (on the lam) was not the enthusiasm with which he was applauded (by everyone except Jack Nicholson), but the number of glitterati whose eyes darted around the auditorium, wondering whether the wanted pedophiles might have found a way to be smuggled in by private jet, chauffeured by private limo with darkened windows, and sneaked into the theatre to accept his award, thence presumably to be rushed into a getaway car and spirited out of the country before the cops could give chase. It was absolutely clear to me that there was a ripple of exactly this expectation in the air. It was the most disgusting part of the whole charade.

  • Independent of the individual players depravity, there is the real question why anyone would pay any attention to people to do ‘make believe’ for a living.

    • conservative_302

      I don’t watch much tv. I never go to the movies anymore since the hypocrisy in Hollywood is exposed. Now that the NFL games have turned into BLM rallies, I only watch college football. I like Netflix documentaries, too.

  • Deez Nuts

    It appears that the Democratic civil war between the liberals and the Marxists has made it to Hollywood.

    Large bucket of popcorn please!

  • conservative_302

    You should be very proud of yourself for writing this article. Good character and honesty counts more than fame and fortune in my book. What a person stands for is everything.

  • Verna Pate-Lewis

    If being honest means you part company with the “scum” in Hollywood, hooray for you, Boris. Surely, there are some good, honest people in and out of Hollywood who recognize your talent and will seek your contributions to the arts. More people need to speak up to stop others disgusting behavior. Thank you, Boris.

  • Rick Derris

    I’m not surprised that Clooney wanted a rim job from Bannon. I’m sure Clooney’s fugly wife gets the strap-on out on a regular basis.

  • CaptSmith415

    You forgot to add how reality star, Donald J. Trump has openly bragged about committing sexual assault.

  • bdavi52

    Ignore the perversity, if we can, and focus solely on Weinstein’s leveraging of his wealth & power to obtain sex.

    What else is new?

    Don’t we all do that, at least in some form to some extent?

    Not that we’re necessarily “powerful” and “wealthy” (and none us probably to the extent that Harvey is/was)…but don’t we all leverage whatever it is we have, to try to get whatever it is we want? If we’re beautiful, if we’re sexy, if we’re famous, if we have money, if we drive a great car, if we’re a celebrity, if we’re amazingly charming, or witty, or bright, or sophisticated, or athletic, or ???? (the list of possible assets and advantages is massive) — don’t we all try to use those qualities to our best advantage as often as possible?

    Of course we do. That’s, in fact, how we build our lives.
    Though perhaps what we’re chasing is not simply 2-dimensional sex but Love….and perhaps what we want is not just a “starring role” but the chance to hone my craft….but the principle’s the same.

    Now we’d all like to think, I’m sure, that we do these things morally and ethically; that we seek to exploit whatever advantages we possess only in an honorable manner. But really, when we look at the sleazy Harvey Weinstein’s of the world, we’re only shocked/horrified at the degree of rudeness and crudity with which he tried to do the very thing we all do. Would we be as repulsed if he had ‘courted’ Ashley Judd, married her after a whirlwind 6 week romance….and then given her a series of starrring roles in his independent films (while sleeping with her every night)? Heck no, we’d probably be giving Harvey & Ashley the cover of People. But when we learn he rudely & blatantly (with no pretense at romance) asked/expected sex in response for his patronage, we’re appalled! Oh, the Horror!!

    Is anyone really surprised that a**holes who are powerful & wealthy are willing to trade that for sex? Is anyone really surprised that a**holes who are beautiful & sexy are willing to trade that for wealth & power? What would really be surprising is to learn that someone with wealth, power, beauty, & sex appeal was willing to trade all that for Love. But this is Hollywood, after all, where Movie Magic is alive and well.