From today’s edition of The Ankler:
Blazing in triple-digit heat just before Halloween, it feels as though the gods of showbiz are trying to get our attention. Too bad for them, we’ve got air-conditioning; CFC’s be damned.
As earthquakes go, Harvey was The Big One, bringing down a couple skyscrapers (Harvey and Roy Price), a few smaller condo complexes, and revealing the crumbling foundation of the entire enterprise,
The American Way of disasters, however, is a three step process:
- Horror and Grieving
- Declarations that this Changes Everything
- Change nothing, except the subject, at the first opportunity.
Hollywood may not have invented this playbook, but with our poobahs have perfected it. Hollywood’s ratio of Claims-That-This-Is-Unacceptable to Total-Inaction greater than in the entertainment industry rivals even Washington’s.
The thing about Harvey-quake is: things will change now. Victims have found a voice; their mass silence is not coming back. And now, every time one speaks up – an option available to anyone who can sign on to Twitter – there will be no “How dare this nobody!” harrumphs, or pointing to the fundraiser the accused threw at his home for a very important cause, just a month ago.
What has changed now, actually changed, is that no matter who the target is, no matter how high up or how much a Social Justice Warrior they might think themselves, when the accusations come out, their friends, their company, their entire society will abandon them like a carrier of bubonic plague. And those who don’t, or who don’t quick enough, will be forever tarnished with them.
But what would be nice is for the industry to get out in front of this problem. A general, grandee level public acknowledgement that there’s something very broken in Hollywood, and it has created an environment where every kind of abuse thrives.
And then maybe appoint a commission headed by Kathleen Kennedy and Megan Ellison to put forward concrete steps all industry players – studios, networks, guilds, agencies, PR firms, you name it – must commit to adopting or be labeled a toxic workplace.
As I wrote before, I think the situation is so horrendous, that a fair amount of total overreaction would be a very good thing. Saying, next time someone brings this to our attention, our HR department is going to be on the ball – is not going to cut it For starters, I’d propose a rule something along the lines of – anyone who raises their voice to another person in these offices is fired, immediately. Something like that that we can keep in place for a few years and see how that changes the environment, and then maybe consider if it’s safe to bring back yelling. We can earn the right to yell again.
An Ankler friend/industry vet, wrote me:
When you think about that verbal degradation and dignity stuff; the toxic atmosphere created by bullies with titles…If we are going to have meaningful change we have to address the ranting and raving and real bullying too.. and there are degrees of it that we all put up with but then there is the stuff that goes over the edge and creates wholesale damage to the work environment and affects employees and creators at all levels.
To date, two and a half weeks in, there’s zero sign that any kind of general soul-searching, much less systemic changes are in store. The thing about the Harvey charges is that they are so American Psycho-esque that they can almost, kinda be dismissed as an anomaly. And then there’s Roy Price, but you know, that’s Roy Price.
So instead of really dealing with our cultural problem here, we’ll just keep our heads down and die a death of a 1000 tweets as every week another poohbah is brought down by new accusations.
What change would look like, is Hollywood getting out in front of this problem and showing the door to a few major people who need some firing bad before the expose is published; before the tweets are unleashed.
So now its mushrooming outward. Hollywood’s getting serious and willing to unload…James Toback! And an APA agent! And a few other mid-level agents! And the show runner of Loud House!
How will we ever go on? Are we even going to be able to put films in the theaters?
But while Hollywood fritters, the press is actually on the hunt now. There’s blood in the water, and some very low-hanging poobahs whose recent behavior has Pulitzer Prize written all over it. People are talking. More is coming.
To the bosses of these folks. You know what you’ve got. You know what the deal is now. If you’re sitting on this stuff at this point, waiting to see if it comes out or not, when it does, it’s not going to be just about the offender anymore. These weeks where you could’ve acted but kept someone in place will be noted and questioned.
And absent some kind of general housecleaning, along with the heat, this is going to keep coming, so get comfortable folks.
ALSO IN TODAY’S ANKLER!
- CLEANING UP AFTER THE GEOSTORM!
- THE ANKLER LIST! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??
- THE STUDIO THAT PLAYS TOGETHER…!
- JAMES MURDOCH’S BUDDY ACT WEARS THIN!
- NICK CAGE STORYTELLING CLASSICS!
- WHERE THERE’S SMOKE…THERE’S ONE OBLIVIOUS STUDIO EXEC – A BLIND ITEM REVISTED!
- AND SOME BIG ANKLER NEWS!
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