Standing beside tennis legend and longtime advocate for gender equality and LGBT rights, Billie-Jean King, on the red carpet, actress Emma Stone looked resplendent in her lace, one-shouldered dress.
The gown was, of course, black – because, like almost every other actor, actress and activist to attend the Golden Globes this year, Stone was taking part in the Time’s Up initiative launched by Hollywood women to advocate better for the end of sexual harassment.
They’d agreed to all wear black in solidarity in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal.
Stone was also one of eight actresses who brought racial and gender justice activists along to the ceremony as their guests.
So far, so empowering.
Emma Stone stands with the victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Only, does she really?
Stone has twice worked with renowned director Woody Allen, who has had allegations of sexual assault levelled against him.
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Dylan Farrow, Allen’s adopted daughter with actress Mia Farrow, in 1992 said her father was sexually assaulting her. She was seven at the time, but these are allegations that she has long maintained.
Stone isn’t the only actress associated with the Time’s Up movement who seems happy to brush the allegations made against Allen under the carpet.
Last week, actress Blake Lively, who starred in Allen’s 2016 film, Cafe Society, pledged her support for the campaign on Twitter, saying: “I’m honored to be a part of this movement. The time is NOW!”
Almost immediately she was pulled up on her hypocrisy by none other than Allen’s accuser.
“You worked with my abuser, @blakelively,” Dylan Farrow wrote. “Am I a woman who matters too?”
Blakey Lively didn’t respond to the tweet. And that’s the thing. NO ONE seems to be responding when it comes to questions about Woody Allen.
Kate Winslet has called for Weinstein to be “absolutely punished within the fullest extent of the law,” but has become an expert at side-stepping questions about the director she has worked with and waxed lyrical about on numerous occasions.
Scarlett Johansson, Diane Keaton, Cate Blanchett, the list of talented actresses who are happy to work with Allen goes on and on, but we never get any real answers. Why is it acceptable? Why is he any different from other abusers? Would it be cynical to suggest Allen’s unrivalled talent for leading his ladies to the Oscar’s podium has something to do with it?
That’s not to say that women should be accountable for men’s actions. But they should be accountable for their own. What message does it really send when you’re only in support of some victims, when the promise of a potentially career-defining movie role is enough to persuade you to leave your principles at the door?
Is it performative activism if an actress wore black today but has a Woody Allen movie on her CV? Is she helping? Is she fulfilling her duty as a role model? Is Her Time’s Up pin more than an accessory?
For decades, the culture of sexual abuse in Hollywood was the elephant in the room. A huge, ugly problem that everyone was ignoring or too scared to talk about. But #MeToo and Time’s Up have changed that. They’ve brought it to the forefront of conversations. Victims have been given a voice, would-be victims have been offered protection.
Abusers will be named and shamed and punished. But not all of them, unless we ditch the double standards and the hypocrisy.
The culture of sexual abuse in Hollywood isn’t the elephant in the room anymore. Woody Allen is.