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Dubbing the sudden absence of predatory men as the categorical dimming of some bright, new era rings of a false equivalency for many marginalized viewers. 

If you have remained plugged into our daily Hollywood news cycle, it might seem as if each day brings a newly exposed sexual predator. While that may sound like hyperbole, the sentiment is actually not that inaccurate: since news of Harvey Weinstein's history of assault broke via major press in early October, dozens of celebrity abusers have been publicly identified by their victims. As an audience, our responses to the steady stream of stories have run the gamut – especially for those of us who have our own experiences with sexual abuse. Though some remain focused on the specific trauma (and to be clear, the well-being of the victims ought to be our collective priority), others have their sights set on the potential aftermath. What does all of this mean for Hollywood and the state of entertainment, in general? As we witness the rightful takedown of critically acclaimed men like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., many have wondered how this continued exposure of Hollywood's predatory culture will affect the entertainment landscape, especially within television. Recently, TV critic Ben Travers of IndieWire noted Hollywood's current purge as a mark of permanent change to, in his words, “the new golden age of television.” To his credit, Travers is careful not to cite the onslaught of shamed men as the end of premium entertainment, but rather a potential opportunity for a more inclusive industry. That specific hope echoes those of many BIPOC creators who have been working diligently against the very climate that has systemically boxed them out of opportunities.  

Louis C.K. and others are able to harass and assault victims because they have teams of people protecting them.

[TW: Description of harassment and assault.] The New York Times released their latest piece about sexual assault and harassment, this time Louis C.K. has been outed as a serial perpetrator of sexual harassment, and five women have come forward with their accounts of C.K. masturbating either in front of them or over the phone without their consent. There have long been whispers and rumors about C.K., but those allegations have stayed under the radar and away from accountability. C.K.’s behavior and crimes aren’t surprising nor are they an anomaly. Harassment and sexual assault comes in many forms. When I was about 13-years-old a man sat down in front of me in a public bus on my way back home and stared at me while he masturbated. I had to run off the bus three stops before my destination. I didn’t really know what he was doing, I just knew it was fucked up and I felt horribly uncomfortable. While this happens frequently in public, what doesn’t happen often enough is accountability and justice. The man who jerked off to me in the bus did so in broad daylight, around other adults who looked the other way. No one protects children, no one protects young girls, nobody truly cares and we don't start caring more for the adult victims of assault either. 

Spacey's actions have nothing to do with his sexuality — like anyone who makes unwanted sexual advances on young teens, it is about one thing and one thing only: Power.

By Dr. Jonathan P. Higgins With the news of actor Anthony Rapp alleging that fellow actor Kevin Spacey made sexual advances towards him when Rapp was 14-years-old, many are more than upset with the way that Spacey responded to Buzzfeed’s article. In a statement released on Spacey’s personal social media account, his response was more focused on his sexuality and his alcohol usage than how his actions affected Rapp. With this type of gaslighting that happens very often to young men who are sexually abused by adult men, many on social media have been left asking: Why do we as a society always conflate homosexuality with pedophilia, ephebophilia and hebephilia? https://twitter.com/KevinSpacey/status/924848412842971136 We have to acknowledge the danger in what Spacey said. For years, society has always found a way to make the point that young men are molested by other men because of older men’s sexuality. But what Spacey allegedly did to Rapp, and what happens to thousands of young men, has nothing to do with sexuality and all to do with a pyschosexual disorder. Gregory Herek, a well known researcher and psychologist of gay violence at University of California Davis has noted this in their work, stating that pedophilia is a “pyschosexual disorder characterized by the preference for prepubescent children as sexual partners”. Herek points out that we must focus on the “actions” rather the “makeup or the motive of said perpetrator”. Spacey's actions have nothing to do with his sexuality — like anyone who makes unwanted sexual advances on young teens, it is about one thing and one thing only: Power. In most situations, child molesters and sexual abusers are usually in some type of powerful position and use said power (be it social capital, strength or otherwise) as a way to control their victim. For most perpetrators, it is never about the one’s sexual orientation, but having the said power and ability to control the victim. Research shows that most often pedophiles aren’t hung up on the gender of their victims, but the accessibility.

Sexual predators prey on the powerless in order to exert control, and use sex as a means to do so because the connections between sex and power are palpable. Weinstein is no anomaly.

[TW — This essay contains discussion of sexual violence] Harvey Weinstein has fled to Europe. Supposedly, he now seeks treatment for sex addictionif you can believe this excuse. This sudden retreat conveniently comes after a growing number of women have come forward about their experiences of sexual violence with the seasoned film producer. From forcing a reporter to watch him masturbate, to groping people's breasts, to aggressive propositioning, to rape. The accusations against him are rife with disturbing, heinous, andunfortunatelyfamiliar testimonies of sexual harassment and assault. Sexual predators prey on the powerless in order to exert control, and use sex as a means to do so because the connections between sex and power are palpable. Weinstein is no anomaly. Men in power using their dominant positions to intentionally and systematically sexually harass and assault people is an old song, and I'm tired of hearing it. We went through this last month following the death of Hugh Hefner, the irreverent pimp of the Playboy empire, and again with Andy Signore, the boisterous creator of Screen Junkies. Just as we have gone through this with Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby, and Jared Leto, and Louis CK and many, many othersto varying degrees. The horrors of the casting couch and the spaces akin to it are well-known in Hollywood and beyond. The pattern is undeniable, and sickening. Of course Donald Trump would say that he is not surprised about the accusations against Harvey Weinstein. And it follows that Weinstein would brag about not needing to drug women to rape them like Bill Cosby. And it’s decidedly unsurprising that Hugh Hefner did nothing to address Bill Cosby’s atrocious behavior at the Playboy Mansion. And it’s fitting that Jared Leto has been cast to play Hugh Hefner in an upcoming biopic. This would all be laughable if it weren’t so damn infuriating.

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