When your response to accusations of sexual abuse is that you’ll stand by the director because his last movie made a lot of money - which is what the statement comes down to - you may end up with a bit of a PR problem.
And now saying this -
In a new statement provided to the Hollywood Reporter, Lerner now says that he never actually wrote or read the initial statement (which was crafted by his PR team), but did sign off on it. While Lerner regrets some of his choice of words, he went on to say that he stands by his core sentiment defending Singer, and claims that he hasn’t actually received any blowback from anyone within the industry for his position:
-seems like wanting to have his cake and eat it. He says he didn’t even read a big PR statement he put out, which just makes him look dumb, and then goes on to defend it anyway. He’s also tied himself even closer to Singer. When Singer goes down, which is really quite likely, I imagine Lerner will find himself quite alone.
That’s culturally appropriate. The President won’t impose any sanctions in our relationship with Saudi Arabia because they buy a lot of weapons from us to use on the Yeminis. So, standing behind a director whose movies make a lot of money is certainly appropriate in that context.
I can respect them standing by their director of choice, not so much because he made a crappy movie that made a lot of cash but because all anyone knows at this stage is that he is accused. He could have said it differently though.
However, there is a strong likelihood that the producers are certainly aware of the bad behavior of the people, filmmakers and actors making their movies and shows. Many of them are also guilty of the same thing. The problem is that the entertainment press has generally just been doing PR for the entertainment companies and not really reporting on anything significant and no one in power really has any desire or incentive to lead rather than wait for someone working for them to do something terrible and then hope no one reports on it.
The biggest problem isn’t how to respond when people commit heinous acts, but how does the industry prevent them in the first place, because - for a long time - it’s simply encouraged these situation and then covered them up.
Back when SPOTLIGHT won the Academy Award, I would tell people (and probably posted here) that it is ironic Hollywood would give a movie about institutional child abuse in Boston their “highest honor,” but a movie about how irresponsibly Hollywood treats and fails to protect its own child actors would never even get made.
However, with that in mind, it is not wise to simply jump on the side of the accusers whenever accusations are made.
I am sure there is a lot of trash in Hollywood, we all saw a lot of people defending Polanski, but that was after his admission and conviction. But Singer hasn’t admitted nor is he convicted of anything.
At this point all I have to go on is hearsay on the Bryan Singer thing. It could be this producer has insider knowledge that I don’t have that Bryan Singer actually committed the crimes he is accused of or maybe this guy just doesn’t want to drop him merely because of accusations.
Checking on that, wow, a lot of people defended Polanski. I knew Whoopi Goldberg did because she’s mentally impaired, but Meryl Streep, Martin Scorcese, Tarantino, Johnny Depp, Asia Argento, Mia Farrow of all people…and that cameo in Rush Hour 3…that is insane. And I just forgot he got an Oscar when they knew he was a child rapist.
Oh yeah, it’s all about what he said. I don’t think anyone would’ve had a problem if he’d said “The things Bryan has been accused of doing are truly horrible and vile, but we live in times in which people jump to judge someone the moment they are accused of something like this, and I think it is important not to do that and have a level of certainty before taking actions that may destroy a talented director’s carreer”. He didn’t say any of that though. What he did do was emphasise the financial success of Singer’s work and basically shitting all over the (many!) young men accusing Singer of sexual attacks by calling them “agenda-driven fake news”.
Yeah, the Polanski controversy is interesting. Now, there is nuance to everything, but with Polanski, the defense derives from the fact he made “great movies” as opposed to simply “financially successful movies.” For most people, Singer and Spacey - who haven’t really admitted anything criminal, have they? - also get support for the great movies and shows they’ve been involved with.
The broader problem is that children and many young people are really vulnerable in the entertainment business and the history of secrecy and exploitation has contributed to a lot of heinous behavior that is not only real but also makes it very easy to believe even if it didn’t happen. If the people in charge would simply take some responsibility, then it would be better stopping people from committing the acts and protecting people accused who are not guilty of anything.
Also, it should be brought up that with child molestation, prejudice against gay people also contributes a lot to the public outrage. People are still more willing to believe that gay men are essentially sexual degenerates, so stories of underground cabals of gay filmmakers and producers holding sex orgies with teen boys at their mansions in the Hollywood Hills seem credible.
Or with Michael Jackson who was not gay but was so “Willy Wonka” weird and effeminate (and black), any number of unrealistic accusations can stick in the public imagination without many people actually considering the actual evidence to the contrary.
Is that so? I think the prejudice is starting to swing in the other direction, that conservatives or orthodox Christians are actually more likely to be “pinching the cat in the dark”, as a Dutch saying goes.
It’s still very prevalent here. Sexual prejudices and misconceptions are not openly addressed very often. The gay population in the US is still an extremely small minority and hardly uniform so the only gay people most people ever know are the ones they see on television. Here in Los Angeles, almost all the gay people I know are actually very traditional and conservative in their lifestyles even though progressive and liberal politically. However, the impression is that they are having sex all the time in crazy ways and partying hard in West Hollywood clubs. When the truth is their sexual preference plays no more part in their lives than anyone else’s.
But it’s very similar to the racial stereotype of the overly virile and sexually aggressive black man in that there is an undercurrent of both social fear and envy that contributes to hatred and colors the perception of these stories.
Of the gay folks I know, only one is much of a flaming queen, and I guess I’d be a bit of a flaming queen, too, were I stuck in this year’s Wisconsin winter! Poor boy’s been trapped for weeks and is just raging about wanting to be on a Broadway stage. (No, I have not mentioned to him how much I hate Broadway and particularly musicals; he’s stuck in the cold in Wisconsin. How could I live with myself if I made that worse?)
Hm there might be a cultural difference there. Here in the Netherlands there is definitely a perception that conservatives or traditional Christian groups are more likely to engage in certain immoral practices. I think it is part of our culture, when someone from that community is revealed to be an abuser it is magnified in the media because it is seen as hypocrisy. “See, even they don’t believe what they preach.”
Polanski’s case is not the only case where the accused got support from his peers of the industry. I don’t see Woody Allen ostracized. And in Hollywood, money talks. I remember the line from The Wolf of Wall Street, when Matthew McConaughey explained to Leo the rules of the game - “yours is to put the money on table”. Which is to say, doesn’t happen always, because studio heads are heed on the scandals. And I gotta admit, this metoo movement turned into witch hunt. Just to look at all the names of men who were accused without any decent corroboration; instead, it was just pointing a figure and immediately that’s the “bad guy”. As for Polanski, it’s obvious there is something disturbed about his psyche. His parents were killed in ww2, his wife along with his friends was butchered by Charles Manson family. That leaves a scar on the psyche. And his current wife is thirty years younger than him.
I think it happens everywhere. Just that people are more quicker to judge on it if the person is Christian. Just remember what happened in Catholic churches. Still, my view is that majority of believers are not at all like that and cases like with seedy priests put the rest of the Catholics/Christians on shame.
That is a big phenomenon here in the more “Holy Roller” sections of America. Going all the way back to the days of temperance rallies where people would go to church on Sunday, rail against “the demon liquor” for hours and then, afterwards, would stop at the local moonshiners and pick up their illegal whiskey.
Whenever I see someone express extreme opposition to homosexuality, racism or antisemitism to an irrational extent either with or without some religious justification, I suspect that in a large percentage of the cases, the real reason is personal terror, suppressed envy and projection. That person is likely repressing some strong and terrifying urges within themselves and projecting that darkness onto some target group that they believe is doing the thing they really want to do but are too scared too.
It’s like the way so many conspiracy theorists today see “Satanic” imagery in music videos, movies and even the opening to the Olympics. It’s literally the same mentality behind witch hunts of the distant past (and the Satanic Panic of the not so distant past… if it ever did pass). Irrational projection of people’s fears onto a real target is a very serious and common social phenomenon.
Even above, for example, I use the term “Holy Roller.” Where did that come from? It came about as a derogatory term to characterize the charismatic or ecstatic movements of some mostly rural Christian Churches where people would fall into ecstatic states and have seizure like episodes when “touched by the Lord.” It’s similar to how the name Quaker came about even earlier.
However, even there, you can imagine the people who came up with and used those terms actually were probably a little envious and fearful of such a strong religious experience and projected their own negative emotions on to those people who were for the most part simply behaving differently.