What validates a protest as a protest? A movement? Or the truth?
The uprising for the awareness started with Harvey Weinstein, when he was exposed for his sexual misconduct behavior. Hollywood was particularly affected. Many women unveiled disgusting revelations of Weinstein’s actions towards them. Stories where women were asked and forced to engage in Weinstein’s sexual favors in order to get a role or stay in the industry. These actions put fear into young, striving actresses entering Hollywood. Weinstein is just the beginning of growing evidence against white straight men in the industry and how they use their power to manipulate vulnerable minorities and young women.
After the scandalous Weinstein incident, more celebrities came forward to expose other public figures who have exuded the same or even worse behaviors. Even women outside of Hollywood are also confronting their abusers by unveiling these men and their abhorrent actions. Some who were outed are former Senator Al Franken, former Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, reporter for The New York Times Glenn Thrush, and founding partner of Tesla and SpaceX, Steve Jurvetson. Recently added to the list is former doctor to the USA Gymnastics Team, Larry Nassar. He was given a 175 year sentence by judge Rosemarie Aquilina due to the fact that he had hundreds of victims over several decades of abuse.
The anticipation of the Golden Globes was unlike past years. This year, many were curious to see how the Hollywood elite were going to handle the latest controversy. Would they really stand up to the men of Hollywood and the misogyny in the industry , or would they be silent and let it continue to perpetuate? Or perhaps encourage them not to wait until the next biggest scandal.
The “Times Up” movement, which was supported by many well-known celebrities, decided to make a statement of solidarity by wearing black to the awards show in protest of sexual misconduct. Times Up is also a legal defense organization that helps women and men fight sexual harassment in the work place. This organization is focused on victims who are not able to fight social injustices, because of either power or financial issues.
Some celebrities were supportive and announced they would be a part of this movement, while others were not as impressed.
Rose Mcgowan, one of the first woman to step forward against Harvey Weinstein, spoke out against those participating in the protest–specifically well-known actress Meryl Streep. In a tweet she stated, “Actresses like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @GoldenGlobes in a silent protest, YOUR SILENCE is the PROBLEM. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly and effect no real change. I despise your hypocrisy.”
While her decision to target one specific actress was criticized, there is a valid point that was made. These celebrities have the power to change a lot of things but instead of using that power for something greater they decided to wear black instead. While I’m sure they were well intentioned, the execution of this plan was not so great. While yes, almost every celebrity there was dressed in black, there was a lingering question of “How many closet abusers were in black, clapping alongside the rest?”
This question was then answered when just days after the awards, James Franco, one of the celebrities wearing black, was accused by five women of inappropriate and sexually exploitive behavior. Then a week later, comedian Aziz Ansari, another celebrity wearing black and a “Times Up” pin as well, was also the subject of an interview with a woman who claims to have been on a date with him, when he pressured her into sex even though her discomfort was visible.
Many other celebrities (supporters of the Times Up movement) have been criticized for working with alleged sexual abusers such as Woody Allen. Actor Timothee Chalamet is just one actor who has come under fire for working with Woody Allen (due to his multiple sexual misconduct accusations.) Timothee Chalamet is set to star in Woody Allen’s, A Rainy Day in New York, but after receiving criticism, he took to Instagram to apologize and reflect. He explained that he has learned much since agreeing to the film. Although he can’t fully explain the reasoning behind his decision due to contractual obligations, he can make sure he doesn’t profit from the movie. He has decided to donate his entire salary to three charities: Time’s Up, The LGBT Center in New York, and RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network.