A collective jaw dropped this week as Asia Argento, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette and a host of other women joined Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan in speaking publicly about being harassed, mauled and even allegedly raped by Hollywood’s heavyweight gorilla, Harvey Weinstein.
Media outlets ironically wrung their hands and asked in big, bold block letters: How could this have gone on for so long? If everyone knew, why didn’t anyone say anything? And the inevitable: What can be done?
To answer these questions, let’s look beyond the Harvey-shaped elephant in the room. Behind the touted veneer of creative genius and imagination, the Hollywood studio system (an umbrella term that now encompasses movie studios, television networks, news organizations, tech companies and new media) was built on top of the cushions of the casting couch. And, as we’ve seen several times this year, that couch was never retired.
I witnessed a lot at Page Six — only a fraction of which ever hit the paper (for a multitude of reasons). But I will share one incident in May 2004 that has always summed up for me how this industry really feels about women.
I had gone to dinner with a friend who was in town for the upfronts (the big annual congregation where television network executives fly in from Los Angeles and present their upcoming slates of new shows). He worked at United Talent Agency and was psyched when I scored us an 8 p.m. reservation at the hottest place in town, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market, unfortunately, next to a table of three drunk and loud television executives, one of whom I knew headed up a cable network.
“I need a hooker while I’m in town,” one man quasi-yelled.
“Dude — the top-shelf whores go for $1,000 an hour, $5,000 a night,” the cable exec bragged to his friends.
“That’s all? All night?”
“All night — whatever you want — and these are working actresses.”
“No way — who are we talking about?”
The executive, in between ordering more bottles of Patron silver, proceeded to bray out the names of women who were indeed working actresses as well as models — including one woman who was cast in a show on his network. He was her boss.
“How do you think she got the job?” the executive joked, as the others high-fived him.
That incident always ate at me — it was the crystallization of just how lousy it is out there for women trying to either get a job, do their job or advance in one of the most powerful industries in America. Read the rest of this entry »
Source: Covers | New York Post
Jolie Pitt directed the pic, which tells the story of a couple in the 1970s who seem to be drifting apart, so they take a vacation in a small European seaside town in hopes of saving their marriage. The relationship movie, based on an original idea by Jolie Pitt, was actually filmed in Malta….(read more)
New York Post front page for Sunday, November 30, 2014
“She has the ability to change the course of people’s lives with a click of her mouse.”
Interview with Actress Yao Chen
The Telegraph‘s Sarah Keenlyside: “Is it like having a superpower?” I ask the actress Yao Chen as she raises her coffee cup to her lips. She breaks into a broad smile as her translator explains my meaning. “I’m getting more mature,” she says, avoiding the question. “These days I am much more careful and cautious.”
China’s Answer to Angelina Jolie
“Stories abound of children’s operations that were paid for by donations from her Weibo followers.”
One could add the word “modest” to that list, because Yao, self-effacing as she is, has more followers on Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) than the population of Britain. That’s 71 million, in case you were wondering. And when five per cent of the population of one of the world’s most powerful (not to mention politically sensitive) countries is hanging on your every word, you have a lot of influence, no matter how cautious you are.
“When I was younger a family member shared the gospel with me. And over the course of that summer I read the Bible and it just answered all of the questions I had about life, so very soon after I was baptised.”
In fact, so great is that influence, she has the ability to change the course of people’s lives with a click of her mouse. Stories abound of children’s operations that were paid for by donations from her Weibo followers, of old ladies who put their entire savings into causes she supports – even of a condemned man who was suddenly hailed as a hero because of her impassioned online defence of his character (he was a friend of her father’s).
How did a nice middle-class actress conquer Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, and turn herself into one of the most influential figures in the world?
A still from Color Me Love (2010)
So how did a 34-year-old from a small coastal city in south-east China rise from obscurity to become one of Time magazine’s 100 most powerful people on the planet? (Forbes ranked her 83rd among the world’s most influential women.) And, more to the point, why have we never heard of her?
Publicist Ronni Chasen was waiting at a red light in Beverly Hills in 2010 when she was shot five times through the car’s closed passenger window and killed.Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, was leaving a party in L.A. when a gunman sprayed the door of the rap star’s Suburban with 9 mm bullets, striking Wallace four times and killing him.
The combination of guns, death and the particular vulnerability that a car on a public street presents to stars who are under siege from paparazzi and stalkers hits close to home for many in L.A.’s celebrity culture, where spending lavishly on personal security is a seldom-discussed necessity. Read the rest of this entry »
Even as male moviegoers are slow to let go of Angelina Jolie’s amazing technicolor dream breasts, women are asking themselves: What about my boobies?
Are they fetching objects of desire or ticking time bombs?
Along with a spectacular jawline and an immune system strong enough to survive a four-year marriage to Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina also inherited the deadly BRCA1 gene, which jacked up her odds of breast cancer so high that she took pre-emptive action and had a prophylactic double mastectomy. If only she’d shown the same foresight before filming The Tourist.
Angelina learned about her risks because of the sort of medical innovation in which the U.S. has long been the clear leader. She benefited from a genetic test that is at the center of a Supreme Court case challenging test-maker Myriad Technologies’ right to enforce genetic patents.
The ACLU and others have sued the biotech giant, saying that you can’t patent products of nature, or even seemingly unnatural products like Angelina’s perfect lips.
However the case plays out, here’s something to think about: Over the past few decades, America has lead the world in the number of new drugs being developed– and I’m not just talking about purple kush.
We’ve also led the way in developing a host on new technologies, too – like MRIs, CT scans, and genomic sequencing.
We haven’t been number one because American researchers are smarter. However messed up America’s health care system might be, it’s still more driven by free markets than virtually any other place. That’s where innovation and change – and the next big lifesaving breakthroughs — come from. With the right incentives, even Jenny McCarthy could come up with a lifesaving vaccine.
Angelina’s test cost north of $3,000, well out of the price range of most women in America. But just like VCRs, cellphones, and Lindsay Lohan’s dignity, things that start out expensive and rare quickly become cheap and ubiquitous.
It’s not clear how the Supreme Court will rule in the Myriad Technologies case, but this much is more certain than the fact there’s not going to be a sequel to Salt: As Obamacare kicks in, groundbreaking genetic tests and preventative surgeries will remain elusive perks of the privileged, as innovation and patient choice are always the first things to go when bureaucracy and the state take over health care.
For Reason.tv, I’m Kennedy.
Written by Nick Gillespie and Kennedy and produced by Joshua Swain. Music by Kevin MacLeod.