A couple of weeks ago, I got the impression there might be a resurfacing of the #MeToo movement from 2017, with a few similarities in the entertainment news. For example, one instance was when actress Evan Rachel Wood confirmed last month the rumors of her past abusive relationships being linked to ex-boyfriend Marilyn Manson. Another was the Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) legacy nearly imploding when former co-star Charisma Carpenter claimed she was victim of harassment and bullying while working with show runner Joss Whedon. Then in the middle of all this a new documentary was released — the NY Times’ Framing Britney Spears, highlighting the pop star’s possibly shady legal conservatorship since her 2007 public breakdown.
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Fortunately, it looks like I might have been a little too premature with my predictions because not much else has broken through beyond those sexual assault allegations in the past month. That isn’t to say people aren’t talking about harassment and misconduct still being a current issue though. In 2018, ERW testified in court to help pass the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights. A year later, she testified again, this time for the Phoenix Act to extend the statute of limitations in California. Though she chose to keep her abuser anonymous during both legal moments, many wondered through her wording and relationship history if Wood was referring to Manson. When the actress did confirm the rumor on her Instagram last February, reports rocketed with four other women backing up Wood with their own claims regarding Manson.
Media outlets and music fans started revisiting the star’s goth, ‘shock rock,’ bad boy reputation from the late 1990s to find some aspects even more sinister in retrospect—including Manson’s long term bassist, Twiggy Ramirez’s own abuse allegation in 2017 from ex-girlfriend and Jack Off Jill frontwoman Jessicka Addams. Similarly, only two months earlier in December 2020, music artist FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against former boyfriend, actor Shia LaBeouf for sexual battery and emotional distress. Like Wood, Twigs was greeted with much support from her female celebrity peers. One wonders if maybe the singer’s own story inspired the actress to make her official statement.
— charisma carpenter (@AllCharisma) February 10, 2021
When Charisma Carpenter spoke up to support Justice League (2017) actor Ray Fisher’s accusations of director-producer Joss Whedon instigating a toxic work experience, she also verified longtime rumors of herself being professionally mistreated during production of the Buffy spin-off, Angel (1999-2004). Carpenter recounted on Twitter moments from the set where Whedon mocked her weight, suggested she get an abortion to not alter the TV series’ shooting schedule and threatened to fire her more than once. Fairly quickly, fellow Buffy actresses Amber Benson and Michelle Trachtenberg supported Carpenter’s stories. While show lead Sarah Michelle Gellar suggested on Instagram that she doesn’t want to be associated with Whedon anymore.
“The way people talked about Britney Spears was terrifying to me then, and it still is now,” writes Mara Wilson. “Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon I’ve witnessed for years: Our culture builds these girls up just to destroy them.”https://t.co/LBdrHs0Pwq
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 23, 2021
With a little different context compared to the previous incidents, Framing Britney Spears recently brought to attention the unethical implications of Spears’ legal conservatorship, which is run by her father, Jamie. The documentary also revisited and reminded viewers of how inappropriate a lot of the starlet’s public exposure was when she was only 17-19 years old — whether it was heavily sexualized photoshoots or out-of-line questions on her virginity or rumored breast implants during interviews. Many forget Spears was only 25 when she had her infamous breakdown to much scrutiny. Now, two decades later, comedians and celebrities are coming forward to apologize for making Spears the butt of jokes during her episode. Former actress Mara Wilson and fashion blogger-turned-actress Tavi Gevinson both used Framing as a good example of how arguably impractical stardom is for young people. Wilson recounted her own bizarre experiences as a child star in a February 2021 NY Times op-ed; and Gevinson penned her own piece at the same time for The Cut on retrospectively realizing how show business took advantage of her legality the second she turned 18.
I’m glad we haven’t gotten as big of an influx of #MeToo type sexual assault accusations for the sake of less possible victims. It’s also great that after the nightmare of the Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein scandals in 2016-17, the general public’s knee-jerk reaction isn’t denial or refusal. But the fact that so many people have come forward supporting and commenting on how relatable Evan’s, Charisma’s and Britney’s stories are, also shows that we still have a long way to go to stop harassment and abuse at work and at home.
Do you feel things have improved with sexual misconduct exposure since #MeToo? How do you feel about the resent sexual assault allegations? Let us know in the comments.
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