Shock! Disgust! Outrage! The public is reeling at the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of some of Hollywood’s most successful women. While many of us enjoyed the onscreen performances of Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, we were blissfully unaware of the fear they, and many others, experienced at Weinstein’s unwanted advances and the thin line they felt they walked everyday of possibly being fired by one of Hollywood’s elite, and thus completely exiled from the industry as a whole.
The recent accusations and subsequent firing of Weinstein are truly an indictment of Hollywood.
Hollywood insiders were anything but shocked. Weinstein’s bad behavior and bullying is and has been an open secret. Brad Pitt reportedly confronted Weinstein (on behalf of Gwyneth Paltrow), and Seth MacFarlane joked at the 2013 Oscars that some actress nominees would not have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey anymore. Assistants and casting agents facilitated setting up his lewd meetings, discreetly leaving the room when victims seemed acclimated. Lawyers settled lawsuits to avoid undue press.
Since Hollywood’s inception, producers and agents have been known to exert their power over budding actors and actresses — often in the form of sexual harassment and abuse. In fact, a disturbing 2015 feature-length documentary titled "An Open Secret" followed the lives of five child actors who were sexually exploited. Although accurate and excellently done, Hollywood wouldn’t touch the film; no major studio would release it. Hollywood closed ranks and did its best to hide its dirty secrets, again.
Hollywood was quick to make dozens of movies about the cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic church, even as it hypocritically looked the other way to cover up its own abuses.
But we don’t have to just sit by and idly watch this carnival of filth. We can all play a role in draining the swamp of Hollywood. We need to demand more openness and accountability. Create places where actors, actresses, and others can lodge complaints. Just as most businesses are required to have an HR department where employees can report sexual harassment charges, studios should provide workplace complaint departments (without threat of repercussions).
We can also participate in cleansing the culture by supporting good movies that properly exhibit our values. You see, going to a movie is much like voting. When you buy your ticket, your vote is registered in Hollywood and studios then decide to make more or less of the kind of movie you go to see.
On October 27, "Let There Be Light" was theatrically released. I directed "Let There Be Light" and my wife Sam Sorbo co-wrote it with acclaimed screenwriter Dan Gordon. Sean Hannity, in a prescient act of faith, executive produced it, well before Hollywood's dirtiest secret was laid bare.
That movie is exactly what we need! Light shone in the dark corners of Hollywood, exposing the long-standing abuses of women and adolescents in the industry.
We also need to see more women empowered in Hollywood. I love that this excellent film was co-written and produced by the woman I married. We can hem and haw, insisting that women have long been seen as equals in Hollywood, but ask yourself — why was it such a shock that "Wonder Woman" was a blockbuster hit amidst the "controversy" that it was written and directed by a woman? If we truly valued women as equals, that would not even have been considered newsworthy.
"Let There Be Light" tells the story of Dr. Sol Harkens (Kevin Sorbo) who questions his whole existence and the choices that he has made after a life and death experience. It is a movie about life and death, fatherhood, love, and hope. Released by the independent, non-Hollywood Atlas Distribution Co., it hit theaters October 27.
I hope you and your loved ones will join me, remembering that every time you set foot in a theater, you’re “voting,” making a statement of what you believe and who you support. And with your help, we will drain the swamp of Hollywood and redirect the culture to show that we value our daughters and women, because they deserve nothing short of love, respect, and honor.
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