If you’ve tuned in to basically any news, media outlet or courtroom there have been allegations of past and present sexual assault and misconduct in Hollywood.
To name a few, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. have been accused, and the United States Women’s Olympic gymnastics team recently brought charges against their team doctor. Many people are coming forward to speak about past sexual attacks against them. This has led to some calling the situation a witch-hunt.
Collins Dictionary defines a witch-hunt as “an attempt to find and punish a particular group of people who are being blamed for something, often simply because of their opinions and not because they have actually done anything wrong.”
Some in Hollywood are worried that in order to find and bring the guilty to justice, the public is reacting to past reports that have been shown to be incorrect, and that they are going back to a time when the media was just unwilling to investigate allegations and publish stories without proof.
Jeremy Piven, who played Ari Gold on the HBO series “Entourage” and currently plays Jeffery Tanner in the CBS show “Wisdom of the Crowd,” said that he wants Hollywood and the public to remember that people are innocent until proven guilty in the American court system. Of course, he did say this after a third woman came forward accusing him of sexual harassment.
Cicely Barker, a freshman communication major from Laguna Beach, California said, “I think that it’s not a witch-hunt. I think the reason why now a lot more is coming to light is because now it’s more socially OK to talk about these things. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that people are now feeling more comfortable discussing those horrible things that have happened to them. Obviously it’s not something that people would like to go around talking about so it took a lot of courage for them to speak up.”
However, it is not only women who have been affected. In the case of actor Kevin Spacey, many men have come forward with accusations of sexual assault and harassment; some of them reportedly happened when the men were minors.
Lars Palmer, a junior interdisciplinary studies major from Boulder City, Nevada said “claims involving sexual assault shouldn’t be taken lightly on both ends. It’s a very serious issue that, if made a joke of, begins to feel like the boy who cried wolf. All claims deserve to be legitimately investigated. However, not all claims could be legitimate which, frankly, is awful because that affects those who have experienced sexual assault and their claims might not be taken seriously as a result.”
While some of the claims have been proven true and action has been taken against the responsible parties, we will have to wait and let the system work to bring justice to the victims and provide adequate punishment to the offenders.
If you or anyone you know has thoughts on these cases and accusations of sexual harassment in Hollywood, send firstname.lastname@example.org a Letter to the Editor.
Carlee Jo Blumenthal