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Hollywood's moral compass

Back in 2009, recently disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein said "Hollywood has the best moral compass."  And for years, many have believed it.

After all, how can you create morality-based shows like All in the Family and Roots, or films like 12 Years a Slave and Spotlight without a strong moral centre?  Hollywood was shining a light on the wrongs of the world in various mediums so that humanity could do better.

So when did Hollywood’s moral compass lose its true north?  And when did the powerful in Hollywood decide that compass was pointing to their pants?

As more and more men and women come forward with their stories, the fallout is being felt everywhere.  Movies are being cancelled.  TV shows are halting production.  Executive producers are being suspended.  Actors and directors are being investigated by police.

Hollywood is tearing itself down from the inside out.  It’s rooting out the cancer that has insidiously spread over the decades.  The irony of the current outrage is that they actively chose to ignore it until now.

When the horror story of actress Patty Duke, who was abused and drugged for years as a child actor, was finally revealed in the 80’s, it was treated as an anomaly.  Recent stories from other former child actors have proven otherwise.

The infamous casting couch has been a Hollywood joke for decades.  Many still treated it as though it was the actors’ choice.  And claims of harassment and assault have been made to studios for years without any follow-through.

However, the greatest irony is that those who believed they were part of that moral elite are literally being caught with their pants down.  Louis C.K., once lauded as a “feminist” comedian, has admitted he exposed himself and masterbated in front of women.  He said he didn’t realize the impact of his actions.

How can you speak for the collective conscience on stage and claim ignorance in private?

So every day, a new story hits the media.  Another name falls from grace.  Unfortunately, the sheer number of people coming forward now after years of silence is beginning to make some question the validity of their claims.  And their motives.

Some of the stories are so old, the statute of limitations has passed making prosecution impossible.  Others, while morally reprehensible, were not technically illegal – leaving some people to wonder … why bother?

Why?  Because power is a god.  It’s an intoxicating aphrodisiac that makes individuals think they’re Thor unzipping his hammer.  But now, as these stories come to light, that power is finally shifting back to the victims.

So if they feel safe enough to jump on the “Me Too” bandwagon, let them.  They likely won’t get rich or go to court.  But they will finally get to say out loud what they’ve had to live with in silent shame.

And with any luck, they’ll see their perpetrator stripped of the power and status that made them believe they were exempt from the morality Hollywood claimed to revere.