3 reasons it’s hard to end harassment in Hollywood

The subtitle of the article below is one of the most sadly meaningful sentences this TVWriter™ minion has ever read: The way the film and TV industries are structured makes them a breeding ground for abuse.

Time now for a few words about the most important conversation we’ve ever wished we didn’t need to have:

by Todd VenDerWerff

The New York Times published its exposé on Harvey Weinstein on October 5, and in the not-quite six weeks since its publication, long-buried bombs have been exploding throughout the entertainment industry, often in unpredictable fashion. Some of the industry’s biggest “open secrets” are now out in the wide open, and there’s a palpable sense that even more will come to light before the cycle has run its course.

This series of stories has left the sense, in many minds, that Hollywood is rife with sexual harassment (true) and that it is unique among industries in that regard (not true). If you pull back from just the Hollywood stories, sexual harassment and assault scandals have been roiling multiple industries since last year, when Roger Ailes was pushed out of his position at Fox News, after word of his frequent harassment of women employees came to light.

Or, honestly, you could go back even further. We have been having forms of this conversation — in some cases more openly than others — since Anita Hill brought the term “sexual harassment” into the mainstream with her testimony against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Politics, media, academia, finance — all have been hit by at least one major sexual harassment scandal in recent memory.

Really, then, what’s so unique about this recent spate of Hollywood stories is how long it took them to come to light. Weinstein’s actions — as with the behavior of Kevin SpaceyLouis C.K., and others — were long known via the rumor mill, and many industry reporters were at least aware of the whispers, if not their veracity. But there often seemed to be an impregnable wall around the entertainment industry, and it was constructed as much out of “This is just how things are done” as it was legally binding NDAs.

So what made Hollywood harassment so prevalent for so long? And why will it be so hard to curtail even now? Here are three big reasons.

1) The idea that any behavior is acceptable in the pursuit of great art (or great commerce)…

2) In Hollywood, firing one person can lead to firing everybody…

3) The entertainment industry requires environments that foster intimacy — and make lines easier to cross….

Read it all, including the details we’ve omitted, at Vox.Com