By endlessly forgiving abusive men, we tell women that the abuse they suffer is less important than some guy’s right to get his point of view across.
BY SADY DOYLE
White men in entertainment can get away with anything. That one, soul-deadening lesson has been drilled into women’s heads recently. We saw reality TV star Donald Trump caught, on tape, sexually harassing a female colleague and giggling about “grabbing [women] by the pussy”—and we saw America elect him president a few weeks later. We found out that Bernardo Bertolucci and Marlon Brando had assaulted actress Maria Schneider on film to create a rape scene in Last Tango in Paris—and we also found out that, prior to her death, Schneider had been talking about this for years.
We saw the image rehabilitation of Mel Gibson, who was similarly caught on tape telling his ex-girlfriend that “you look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n—— it will be your fault,” shortly before threatening to kill her and rape her himself. At the Academy Awards, the 61-year-old Gibson sat in the front row, racking up awards for Hacksaw Ridge and merrily chortling along at jokes about O.J. Simpson. And Casey Affleck took home the prize for Best Actor.
Affleck, for those who are unaware, stands accused of sexually terrorizing female colleagueson the set of his 2010 mockumentary I’m Still Here; this allegedly included everything from referring to women as “cows” to insisting that one employee, Amanda White, share his hotel room, then deluging her with abusive text messages when she refused. Another woman, Magdalene Gorka, says she woke up in a private hotel room to find Affleck “curled up next to her in the bed wearing only his underwear and a T-shirt,” according to her complaint. When Gorka managed to get Affleck out of her room, he allegedly rallied crew members to harass and bully her until she quit the project.
Affleck’s Best Actor win isn’t the most upsetting item on this list; for one thing, an Oscar doesn’t come with nuclear launch codes. But it is grim confirmation of an all-too-common pattern. An Oscar provides an invaluable career boost; Affleck will probably get more roles, better roles, and more name recognition as the result of the award. As he becomes increasingly successful, he will become increasingly untouchable; meaning, if the allegations are true, that the women he’s victimized will have less and less chance to be heard. That’s not just damaging to the individuals involved here, but to all women who find themselves victimized by powerful men. Continue reading on next page…