In the light of the recent allegations about Harvey Weinstein, a number of Hollywood figures have come forward with their stories about suffering sexual harassment at the hands of powerful individuals.
Weinstein has been fired by The Weinstein Company following allegations in the New York Times that he paid off individuals who accused him of sexual harrassment over a period spanning several decades.
While there is no ‘right’ way to go about these things, and we can forgive people for being reluctant to share their accounts even now, some of the stories we’re hearing could be important in encouraging others to come forward.
Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have all spoken in relation to Weinstein himself, and now Terry Crews, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor and former NFL player, has spoken out about being the victim of sexual assault at the hands of an unnamed ‘high level Hollywood executive’.
As with others in the past, Crews has not felt able to speak out until now due to concerns about being ‘ostracised’, and is now drawing attention to the bind seemingly placed on anyone in such a position when their abuser has such power and influence.
The incident in question, for which Crews claims to have received an apology but not an explanation, occurred just last year.
This shows that, while the sorts of offences mentioned in the Weinstein allegations might go back years if not decades, it is not a problem that has disappeared.
And it’s not just something that happens in anonymous one-on-one meetings or casting sessions – Crews’ story concerns a very public function, which he was attending with his wife.
We shouldn’t be in a situation where people need to ‘compare notes’ before opening up about these types of assaults, and these is hope the New York Times’ exposé on Weinstein will prove to be a watershed moment in Hollywood.
Whether it has the same impact on other industries, where similar stories remain rife, remains to be seen.
It is important for men to come forward and speak about this type of thing - not just when they have suffered it themselves like in Crews’ case, but when they are aware of it happening to women in the industry.
As Crews explains, it is much more difficult for the sufferer to come out and tell their story at the time, as they are potentially risking their entire future career. However, if men are able to step up on behalf of their peers and call out sexual predators, it sends a strong message that this type of behavior will not be accepted in the industry.
Huge props to Terry for being brave enough to speak out.
(Image: Rex Features)