“I love Phillip and he’s the only one I love… I love him dearly, he’s one of my most favourite people,” a 19-year-old Demi Moore says of her 15-year-old General Hospital co-star, Philip Tanzini in 1982, stroking his brown hair and looking into his eyes.
In the decades-old video, which resurfaced on the internet on this week, we see what appears to be the actions of a woman who cares for her friend. Not all that dissimilar to displays of affection we see at family barbecues, engagement parties and high school graduations.
But then, she kisses him. On the lips, and more than a peck.
In light of the sexual assault and harassment allegations dominating Hollywood, logic tells us the exchange should feel ominous. But for some, it doesn’t.
We should be outraged. It’s likely we would be if the roles were reversed. And yet for some, it feels different.
According to The Independent, the video footage was shot at Tanzini’s 15th birthday celebrations. Over the duration of the five-minute video, Moore and Tanzini can be seen kissing three times in between Moore’s affectionate birthday speech.
By US law, a 19-year-old kissing a 15-year-old is wrong. Just as wrong as forcing a junior colleague to give you a nude massage, or exposing your private parts to an unwilling stranger.
Here, it comes down to context – the context surrounding when the video was shot and why, and the context that we’re now viewing it in now.
From an onlooker’s perspective, Tanzini doesn’t ‘look’ like a victim.
“We’re going to get married by the way. Don’t let her husband find out,” the child actor joked as they embraced. And at the time of publication, the now 50-year-old has not come forward as a victim. We can’t be sure if the kisses were consensual. He is, however, a child. For this reason, some would argue his victimhood is inherent, that what he thinks isn’t necessarily relevant.