We must hold celebrity friends and colleagues of Misty Upham accountable for not speaking out; she is exactly who #TimesUp should be fighting for.by Abaki Beck [TW/CW: Mentions of sexual violence and rape] This year’s Golden Globes were decidedly different than years past. Attendees wore black in solidarity with the #TimesUp campaign. Eight actresses brought activists combating sexual violence and gender inequity as their guests. The recent attention to the pervasiveness of sexual assault in Hollywood was not entirely swept under the red carpet. Yet perhaps unexpectedly, one individual was left completely unacknowledged: Misty Upham. Misty Upham was a rising Blackfeet actress who was featured in critically acclaimed films like “Django Unchained”, “Frozen River” and “August: Osage County”. She was also raped by a Weinstein Company executive at the 2013 Golden Globes and died under mysterious circumstances in 2014. In the era of #TimesUp and #MeToo, her story cannot be forgotten. In October 2014, Upham was found dead in a ravine on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Washington state after having been missing for 11 days. The exact details of Upham’s death are still unclear. Her family has maintained that she fell while fleeing from the police; Upham had been involuntarily admitted for psychiatric care by police on multiple occasions, including just weeks before her death. When Upham went missing, Native social media went ablaze: she was not just an actress in Hollywood, she was one of us. She reminded us of our cousins, our aunties, or ourselves. Upham was not just an individual disappearance or death; she was one of thousands of missing Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada.
The industry and white feminism do this all the time, they come up with new and asinine ways to validate exclusion in Hollywood and a complete disregard for women of color who are making incredible strides.By Candice Frederick I’ve tried to bite my tongue about this. After all, it’s just great to be mentioned, right? Because as women, when one of us wins, we all win, right? RIGHT? Wrong. It’s 2018, and I’m tired of seeing women of color show up for then take a back seat to white women whose accomplishments are just as great as their own, yet they must settle for simply being in the same room as them. Nope, not today Satan. Not anymore. Let me be more frank. You know how everyone is going on about "Lady Bird" this and "Wonder Woman" that, Greta Gerwig this and Patty Jenkins that? It seems like every Hollywood pundit is hailing the two for leading the charge for women filmmakers in 2017, as if Dee Rees didn’t just deliver one of the most astounding and technically amazing films of the year with "Mudbound" (her second since 2011’s also criminally underrated "Pariah"). Where is she in the conversation? Why is she not “leading the charge” and a frontrunner for best director this season? Why this year out of all years, when women are finally being centered in major industry discussions, does that not include Rees? This isn’t about taking anything away from Gerwig or Jenkins (because I know that’s exactly where certain minds go when you try to integrate conversation). In fact, "Wonder Woman" is my favorite movie of 2017 and "Lady Bird", well, is a very pleasant film for those hungry to see a simple story about a young white girl on the cusp of adulthood (because the landscape is sorely in need of those, right?). This also isn’t about using white women’s success as a barometer for women of color creatives, because that’s neither necessary or productive. Rather, this is about including women of color as we amplify those who’ve made extraordinary achievements in 2017 film. Is that too difficult of an ask, too outrageous to consider as more and more award nominations are unveiled sans her name?
#YesYou, because unless you have been actively engaged in teaching men about rape culture and how to end it, you are not doing nearly enough.By Da’Shaun Harrison Very powerful men have been under scrutiny recently for their perpetuation of sexual violence against women, femmes, men and otherwise queer bodies. We have read disheartening testimonies from many accusers of some of Hollywood’s most esteemed actors and producers, like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. We have heard from brave women about their non-consensual interactions with politicians like Roy Moore and Al Franken. We have even read stories about acclaimed television journalists such as Matt Lauer. Each of these men have either not responded to the allegations made against them or, alternatively, have chosen to deny some or all of them. In more current news, however, we have heard allegations about respected men in the music industry and their sexual misconduct. A month ago, Russell Simmons’ first accuser came forward with her story. Since then, he has been accused by at least eight other women of sexual harassment and sexual assault. On December 14, Simmons posted a photo on Instagram where he responded to the allegations against him. Just like many of the other men who were accused, Simmons denied each allegation. However, his denial was more than just a simple statement made for optics and to protect his brand. Simmons’ response, which he linked to the hashtag #NotMe, is a blatant attempt at silencing the voices of women and men who have been courageous enough to share deeply personal traumas with the world through the hashtag #MeToo—a campaign started by Tarana Burke ten years ago. In his statement, he wrote “my intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. …It’s just a statement about my innocence.”
White women have a legacy of protecting white men, even if it means hindering their own progress and especially when it means gaslighting Black women.[TW- mention of sexual assault.] Men who attack and harass women, other men, non-binary, trans and gender non-conforming people live in our social circles. It’s a culture and it’s unavoidable but when we find out that someone we know has acted poorly or worse, generally, they are no longer invited out with the gang. Unless you’re Lena Dunham in which case you just claim, “insider knowledge” and accuse the victim of being part of the 3% of made up claims. Before you slide up in my Twitter mentions with your outrage, I know that Dunham issued a statement apologizing for her earlier remarks. We’re going to talk about that too and lay out why it compounds the bullshit of the original issue.
The Problem with Her First Statementhttps://twitter.com/lenadunham/status/931672937308057600 When Murray Miller was accused of raping (not just inappropriate sexual comments or touching but sexual assault) of a then 17-year-old actress, Aurora Perrineau, who happens to be a woman of color. Dunham came forward to say that she supports her friend alluding to some “behind the scenes information.” When the accused were not in her circle, she was quick to “stand with victims” and denounce the bad behavior. As soon as it was one of her friends — Miller works as a writer on her show, Girls — suddenly things aren’t so black and white. It is difficult to ignore the racial dynamics of Dunham’s statements, Perrineau is a biracial Black woman, one of the few to have made an appearance on Girls and for Dunham, who is white, to protect a cisgender white man adds layers to the racialization of rape and rape culture. White women have a legacy of protecting and electing white men, even if it means hindering their own progress. The misogynoir runs deep. This is made worse by Dunham’s position in the world. She is a well-known “feminist” actor and author. She is influential and many women see her as a voice to be listened to. Right or wrong, this is the place that Dunham occupies in our media landscape.