Oscars 2019: 6 ways #MeToo has changed Hollywood

Oscars 2019: 6 ways #MeToo has changed Hollywood

A year ago, at the height of sexual assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano helped bring the phrase into the mainstream.

In what become a historic tweet, she wrote: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Women and men have come out in their droves to share their own experiences with sexual assault at the hands of someone in a position of power.

From Cara Delevingne and Battilana Gutierrez and Gwyneth Paltrow – from the more than six women who have come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault to Terry Crews, who revealed his own experience with a movie producer who grabbed his genitals at a party.

The list of celebrities with their own #MeToo stories is depressingly long – and that doesn’t even include the hundreds of thousands of stories shared by everyday people.

In light of the global movement, and with the Oscars coming up, what has changed in the industry in which sexual assault was, for many years so pervasive?

Here are a number of things that have happened since then:

1. Time’s Up

Time’s Up is an organisation that came up out of the #MeToo movement. It was created by mainly women, to advocate for safe and harassment-free workplaces.

The organisation is currently in some controversy after its CEO Lisa Borders resigned following accusations of sexual assault against her son.

2. Bill Cosby is in jail

Following accounts from multiple women, and an arduous court process, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.

3. Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial

Last May, following accusations and accounts from a number of high profile women in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein was arrested on charges of rape. He is currently on bail and faces trial over the alleged sexual assault of two women.

He denies all accusations of non-consensual sex.

4. Kevin Spacey was dropped from the House of Cards

Over 30 different people came out with allegations against Kevin Spacey. He was accused with sexual harassment and assault by, among others, actor Anthony Rapp. He claims Spacey made a sexual advance towards Rapp when Rapp was 14 years old, and he joins a whole host of accusations.

In response the actor was dropped from House of Cards and recast in All the Money in the World.

He addressed a tweet to Rapp, writing:

[I owe Rapp] the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour.

This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fuelled by the fact I have been so protective of my privacy. ... I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.

5. Roman Polanski expelled from the Academy

Polanski was one of the most prolific and celebrated directors in America’s history, and despite the fact that he is a convicted sex offender who went on the run some 40 years ago, he was still a member of the coveted Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In May he and Bill Cosby were finally expelled from the Academy following a vote.

6. Actor’s Union in the UK, Equity

A number of entertainment unions in the UK have called for “anti-harassment clauses” in employment contracts as a result of #MeToo.

But there is still more to do...

Barry Jenkins, who won best director and best feature at the Film Independent Spirit Awards for If Beal Street Could Talk, recently invoked Regina King's speech at the Golden Globes, where she said, "I am making a vow … to make sure that everything that I produce, that it’s 50 percent women, and I just challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power … I challenge you to challenge yourselves and … do the same.”

In his speech, Jenkins said:

You know, Regina was at the Golden Globes and she said something that was very wise and very true.

Women only make up 4 percent of studio directors, yet they make up 44 percent of directors in competition at Sundance and 60 percent of the directors nominated for this award.

If even just 30 percent of us agree with Regina to in the next 18 months to produce or finance a film directed by a woman, that 4 percent can become 8 percent or 10 percent or 16 percent.


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