“Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
Seth McFarlane's Oscar quip wasn't funny in 2013, but at the time it was met with dutiful Hollywood laughter. Now, after revelations of Weinstein's alarming reported history of sexual harassment, the line is being recycled as further evidence of Hollywood's best-kept secret. But it's also evidence of how the industry treats such behavior: as a joke.
Since the studio era, the "casting couch" has been the subject of both humor and lore—an alliterative term used to polish the noir memory of old Hollywood, and to punch out a take-my-wife laugh. More often than not, it was also used to shame and denigrate successful actresses. (For reference see Marilyn Monroe's persona, the term "blond bimbo," the movie Bowfinger, or this oft-repeated one-liner: "There's an actress so dumb she slept with a writer.")
The idea that such sexual misconduct was a secret up until now is patently false. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Judy Garland has detailed horrifying accounts of sexual harassment and assault, though many of those accounts were once relegated to celebrity biographies and listicles. That's to say, nobody took them seriously.Read more