It’s been just six months since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, and the dust is beginning to settle.
People are going back to their lives, no longer encompassed by the endless reports plaguing their phone and TV screens, most thinking the same thing: Hollywood will never be the same again. Unfortunately, however, that belief is not universal – especially not for the men responsible for the uproar in the first place. Instead, it was reported last week that plans were already being made to put some of the most prolific men outed in the past six months back on their pedestals. Page Six revealed that Charlie Rose, a previous CBS anchor, is in talks with producers to get his own comeback show, in which he talks with other disgraced male stars, such as Matt Lauer and Louis C.K., about their lives since the allegations and the ‘negative impacts’ they faced.
If you need a reminder of said allegations, like some people apparently do, then let me recap for you. The Washington Post gave a pretty expansive report on the allegations against Rose; which accused him of making lewd comments towards his female employees, walking around them nude, and in some cases, groping and forcing himself upon them. The article itself is quite harrowing, and it’s astounding how a man of such stature and intelligence could be so demeaning, manipulative and unapologetically inhumane to the women he says were ‘smarter, more thoughtful and more eloquent’ than himself.
Matt Lauer, a news anchor for The Today Show, faced similar allegations to those of Rose, except he mixed up his tactics and had what was deemed as a ‘sex button’ in his office. This button could lock his doors from the desk, allowing him to objectify women from the comfort of his own chair without fear of being caught. His former co-host, Ann Curry, says she approached NBC bosses in 2012, saying “we have a problem [with Lauer]” and the way he treats women, though this was seemingly ignored as the network have no recollection of such conversation taking place.
Finally, comedy-God Louis C.K. got knocked off his pedestal after The New York Times published an article documenting more allegations of his inappropriate behaviour towards other female comics. It was revealed he had repeatedly gotten naked around his female counterparts, often masturbating in front of them while they looked on in horror. After years of both ignoring and denying allegations, he later came forward to own up and “apologise” for his mistakes – only after the production of his movie was threatened, and consequently stopped, however. In his apology letter, C.K. writes “I have spent my […] career talking. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”
If a ‘long time‘ is six months, think of how achingly long it must’ve been for the women you hurt. Many of these allegations date back years, some as far as the late 90s, which left these men’s victims ashamed, embarrassed and too afraid to talk for fear of ruining their careers. Ironic, right?
I suppose the question will always be ‘when, not if, these men will return to the industry?’
What strikes me is how quick we are to reward these men after a quick time-out on the naughty step. You stay in your mansions for a couple of months, and suddenly you’re offered a T.V. show to help rebuild your brand, and before you know it, nothing ever happened. Why do we need these men to return to the limelight? The news will still be read, comedy line-ups will still be filled, great articles will still be written. Often times, these texts are anchored by strong, uplifting and enamouring women who deserve a platform over the seedy men who don’t know how to keep their hands to themselves. Let’s stop pretending like we need these guys in Hollywood. As if some words on a teleprompter or a couple of jokes are more important than the well-being of women. We no longer need to inflate their egos, to allow them to dominate our industries, to give them a voice. They were given these opportunities once, and they ruined it: they exploited them for all they were worth, at the expense of women.
Let it be known that these woe-is-me implications these men feel are the result of their own selfish ways: they are not, and never will be the victims in this story.
The second you give them a platform, much less six months after you decided you were going to prioritise women, you justify every single allegation made against them. The harsh reality is that they made their bed, a bed stained with their own lust, greed and rampant sexism, and now they don’t want to lie in it, after years of hiding under the covers. Well, I’m sorry guys, but it’s going to take a lot more than six months and a T.V. show to come out clean.