In the six weeks since Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published their remarkable expose into the allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault levelled at film executive Harvey Weinstein, the tide, for a time, began to shift.
Woman began talking. Furiously, quickly, passionately. As if that report, at the subsequent reaction to it, created a cloud for them to lean on – one that would support them, not let them fall through.
In six weeks, more than 33 men have been accused of assault, harassment and misconduct, that’s 33 men who have abused their powerful platforms to take advantage of women trying to make their mark on Hollywood.
Many have been banished from the industry. Many have been sent to rehab. Numerous TV programs have been put on hold while the allegations linger. Films have been re-shot.
But according to actor Brian Cranston, after a little while, we should let them back in:
“It would take time, it would take a society to forgive them, and it would take tremendous contrition on their part. And a knowingness that they have a deeply rooted psychological and emotional problem and it takes years to mend that. If they were to show us that they put the work in and are truly sorry and making amends, and not defending their actions but asking for forgiveness, then maybe down the road there is room for that, maybe so. Then it would be up to us, to determine case by case whether or not this person deserves a second chance. I think in the face of it, we should let that open," he told the BBC this week.Advertisement
“We shouldn’t close it off and say: ‘To hell with him, rot, and go away from us for the rest of your life.’ Let’s not do that, let’s be bigger than that. Let’s leave it open for the few who can make it through that gauntlet of trouble, and who have reclaimed their life and their dignity and respect for others. Maybe it’s possible. It would be egotistical for anyone to say, ‘I hope he fails.’ To that person, I would say, ‘F**k you. Why would you want that? So you can be right?’”
Cranston's right - to a certain degree.
There should be room for these men to rehabilitate themselves. There should be room from them to grow and change and learn of their mistakes and acknowledge the depths of the pain they inflicted on unwitting victims. There should be room for us to be better; we shouldn't be throwing them to the wolves or encouraging their demise or hoping they rot and fail and disappear.
Encouraging a total and complete demise isn't good for anyone. It's not good for the world.
But where Cranston goes wrong is his point about the door to Hollywood being - conditionally - open. The door to Hollywood for these men should forever be firmly closed.
For decades, harassment and sexual misconduct has permeated the walls of Hollywood. It's lurked in the most quiet corners and most obvious of hallways. The power structure of Hollywood - one that has such few women in positions of power - enabled these men to wreck havoc in the most reckless and evil of ways.
If we're committed to our desire to protect and believe women, then we must commit to a stance that locks serial abusers out of the industry that allowed them to cause so much harm.
Hollywood isn't just any industry. It's a remarkably public industry that comes with fame and money and power. Rightly or wrongly, in the after-affects of a scandal like this one, those factors must come into play. That letting someone like Weinstein back into his post would provide him money, fame and a pedestal.
Listen: Did some men get a free pass when it comes to accusations of sexual harassment? (Post continues...)
It would be a total and brutal insult to alleged victims to welcome any man back to stage that he once abused so completely.
So for that, the door will always be closed. Not to rehabilitation, or to living a good and relatively fulfilled life post-rehab.
Just to an industry that has been smeared with the marks of powerful and abusive men.