Nowadays, the tremendous rise of the film industry and the film industry is growing in a way that we cannot imagine. However, problems come along with the resplendence. “Metoo” movement was founded in 2006 to help victims of sexual violence. It is an international and large group hold against sexual abuse. Sexual harassment in the film industry has always been existed but came to society’s attention until lately. It happens in well-known actors, actresses especially, and minors as well.
To start with, sexual abuse not only happens in unknown actresses but also well-known actresses. An article in the New York Times claims that “ The actresses Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, and Molly Ringwald this week joined a growing chorus of women sharing their own stories of sexual harassment and assault in the industry.” (Chokshi) These three actresses are all experienced and famous for their excellent acting skills. Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, and Elle Woods have been outspoken about sexual harassment scandals. “I’m really terrified I’m destroying my career right now. I wonder if people will still see me as an actress, and want to work with knowing I have these opinions.” (Buckley) by the New York Times. Who can imagine these successful female figures had been sexually harassed in the early years. It is unbelievable when people realize what their favorite actresses had been through and it seems like there are more victims who have not spoken up yet.
It has never been easy to tell someone what happened to oneself, especially for actresses, they are public figures and people are watching. Furthermore, it always takes victims for years to speak for themselves. Roman Polanski, a world famous director and a molester. He had been sexual assault numbers of women in the film industry from the 70s. The New York Times states that “The woman, who was identified only as Robin, held a news conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday with the attorney Gloria Allred. She said that Mr. Polanski “sexually victimized” her in 1973 when she was 16. She is now 59.” (Haigney) It took Robin 44 years to speak for herself, in her words, “I am speaking out now so that Samantha and the world will know that she is not the only minor Roman Polanski victimized”. After she knew there were possibilities that Roman Polanski’s cases may be dropped due to the fact that he has not been in the U.S. for years, Robin was champed with rage. However, if there was not a woman who reveals what Roman Polanski did to her first, will anyone speak up about what he did? Although it took victims for years to charge him, at least it is a good start.
In the film industry, especially Hollywood, sexual abuse not only exists in adults but also in minors. It is heartbreaking, but it is the truth. “The British police are investigating more than 1,400 people, among them 261 high-profile figures, including celebrities and politicians, who face accusations of child abuse in the past, according to a report released Wednesday.” (Bilefsky)
Due to this survey, people can imagine there are thousands of people who were in the film industry who had been sexually assaulted as a child by people of public prominence. With the passage of time, the progress of society, sexual abuse have been paid attention by more and more people. There is a documentary about child actors were sexually assaulted in the film industry, called “Open Secrets” directed by Amy Berg. According to the New York Times, “The victims and their parents defy the stereotype of hard-driving dream-seekers. They come across as merely trusting, which led them to rely on those who promised successful careers. Such faith was exploited by men who later turned out to be predators.” (Jaworowski) People should encourage this kind of documentary because till now, “Open Secrets” are still influential, especially when the victims tell their own experiences.
Sexual abuse in the film industry has always been there. It often happens in famous actresses, and it took years for victims to speak out. Furthermore, child actors are suffered from it too. It is a good sign that more and more sexual abuse cases in the film industry came into the public eye by different means and it indicates people began to realize the seriousness of the incident. For example, celebrities in Hollywood like Emma Stone, Selena Gomez and so on launched an initiative to fight sexual harassment and assault called “Time’s up”. This campaign has more than 300 actresses, writers, and directors who have donated for its legal defense fund. There will be fewer people who attempt to take advantage of their positions and abuse women. As a film student, I am glad to see celebrities join the “MeToo” movement and sexual abuse in the film industry have caught public attention.