Don’t Expect Important Reforms

This post appears in slightly different form as a private social media post.

One of the people — at least one — who replied to this tweet (see below) asked if Portia de Rossi reported the incident. She reported it exactly the way she was supposed to report it, and that was made clear in her Twitter post.

Immediately after the incident, she called her agent, who was supposed to protect her.  In a better world, the agent would have gone to the police with her.  Instead, the agent gave an inappropriate, sheepish response on the telephone, which made it clear that you just can’t report those things unless you want your career — and maybe your whole life — ruined.

We should never judge sexual harassment/assault victims for refusing to go to the police. We never know the implications, and I personally have suffered the consequences of telling certain people (who were supposed to help me) about sexual misconduct.

(Clarification: I have never worked in the entertainment field.  The incidents which affected me occurred in other settings.)

The current statements by and about celebrities won’t change anything in the long run. However, it’s a safe bet that public relations teams are working on a damage reduction plan, and consulting on how and when to implement it so we’ll THINK Hollywood has cleaned up its act.

More than a year ago, Donald Trump’s “hot mic” incident and other comments got a lot of people angry enough that, after a waiting period, they spoke up (yes, it’s likely the Trump angle had something to do with the floodgate in Hollywood which opened recently). The Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal wasn’t big enough to do it, but the Californicator definitely added to the tension that eventually blew up in the right people’s faces.  Bill Cosby’s end-of-the-line-creep status probably also had a role in it, but we can debate that indefinitely and we’ll never agree.

People who have been harassed or assaulted know the frustration of seeing people like Trump and Schwarzenegger win elections after the public learns of their behavior.  Yes, there are enough voters willing to cast ballots for a predator whose misconduct is well-known — especially if that predator is an entertainment celebrity.  Trump, while losing the popular vote by over two million, was aided by the Electoral College, which didn’t do its job in questioning his victory (remember the Russia thing).

Although we can be grateful some of the steam is being let out of this particular pressure cooker, absolutely nothing will change. Don’t assume that the guilty parties will lose their power, even if they cease to have high profile public lives. However, if their accusers disappear from public life, it’s a pretty sure thing the accusers have been blacklisted.

And on the topic of Twitter: Although some of us have legitimate gripes about the new 280 character limit, the timing of the new limit is perfect.

Screenshot (61)

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