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 »
(CNN) Dana Ford reports: An alleged prostitute accused in the death of a Google executive pleaded guilty on Tuesday, and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Alix Tichelman faced a series of charges in the death of Forrest Timothy Hayes, 51. The married father of five was found dead in November 2013 aboard his 50-foot yacht in California’s Santa Cruz harbor.
Authorities say Tichelman gave Hayes an injection of heroin and then, as he began to die, she sipped her wine, gathered her belongings, and calmly walked away.
She pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, administering a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, destroying or concealing evidence, and engaging and agreeing to engage in prostitution, according to the Santa Cruz Superior Court. Read the rest of this entry »
AND YOU WEREN’T INVITED: DEA Agents Allegedly Participated in Wild ‘Sex Parties’ Funded by Drug Cartels, Report FindsPosted: March 26, 2015
DEA agents allegedly participated in “sex parties” funded by drug cartels, report finds. Read more…
Oh Yes She Did: Registered Sex Offender In Jail After Taking part in Motivational Assembly at Washington High SchoolPosted: February 19, 2015
Salsbury was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to almost a year in jail for her role in forcing underage girls to work as prostitutes. Law enforcement learned of the operation after one of the girls told her school resource officer about it
A registered sex offender was among the performers at a motivational assembly Tuesday at Kiona-Benton City High School.
Melissa Salsbury, who models under the name Mia Rose, is prohibited from being anywhere minors congregate, including schools, parks and public pools, said Benton County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Wilson.
She turned herself into authorities Wednesday afternoon.
“It wasn’t the school’s fault; they wanted to give their kids inspiration.”
— A.N.E. spokesman Ron Adams
She had not been cleared to speak in advance by high school administrators, according to a news release issued late Wednesday by Superintendent Wade Haun.
“The district accepts responsibility for this unfortunate situation and has acted to notify parents via our school reach system (a voice recorded message sent to all high school parents),” the release said.
A letter will be sent to parents Feb. 19 that informs them of events surrounding the assembly and steps the district will take in the future to prevent a recurrence, the release said.
Salsbury performed with a group called A.N.E./Money over Misery, comprised of musicians and artists sharing positive messages about bullying, peer pressure, education, overcoming negativity, self-worth, personal drive and staying focused.
A.N.E was not aware of Salsbury’s status, spokesman Ron Adams said. He noted that her background as a troubled youth trying to turn her life around resonated with Ki-Be students. Read the rest of this entry »
A two-week nationwide sex trafficking sting that coincided with the Super Bowl snared several hundred men seeking to buy sex, and almost two dozen pimps.
A total of 570 would-be “johns”—men who hire prostitutes—and 23 pimps were arrested during the annual “National Day of Johns” sting orchestrated by Cook County, Ariz. Sheriff Thomas Dart, which involved 37 law enforcement agencies in 17 states.
Around two-thirds (64%) of the “johns” arrested for soliciting prostitutes were answering fake Backpage.com ads, and 7% were responding to fake Craigslist ads. Almost 3,000 would-be purchasers of sex have been arrested in nine similar operations since the program was started in 2011, but Sheriffs said the 2015 sting was the largest and most successful yet.
“Law enforcement is beginning to realize that arresting the girls over and over again is never going to effectively address prostitution,” said Sheriff Dart. “If there were no johns, there would…
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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A high-priced prostitute accused of leaving a Google executive to die on his yacht in California after shooting him up with a fatal hit of heroin has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and heroin charges.
Twenty-six-year-old Alix Tichelman entered the plea on Wednesday in a Santa Cruz County courtroom. Prosecutors, additionally, charged her with great bodily injury.
A judge refused to reduce her $1.5 million bail.
Police say Tichelman did not help 51-year-old Forrest Hayes or call 911 as he went unconscious after she administered heroin to him.
According to police, surveillance footage from the yacht shows Tichelman gather her belongings, including the heroin and needles, casually step over Hayes’ body to finish a glass of wine, clean up a counter, then lower a blind before leaving the yacht on Nov. 23.
Hayes was found the next day. Read the rest of this entry »
China Central Television Investigation Sparks Sex Trade Crackdown: 6,525 Police Officers Bust Up Flourishing Prostitution ServicesPosted: February 10, 2014
Just hours after a national broadcast program accused police of doing nothing about the rampant sex trade in Dongguan, 67 suspects had been detained and 12 entertainment venues shut down in the city in southern Guangdong Province.
The highly visible trade in sex, according to CCTV, included beauty contests where prostitutes wearing revealing dresses and number tags paraded along a catwalk in front of prospective clients. Sometimes presenters promoted girls like products on shopping channels
Zhongtang Town public security bureau chief He Cheng has been suspended.
A total of 6,525 police officers took part in a crackdown that began at 3pm yesterday and was due to continue until early this morning.
Crackdown: Hong Kong police have raided triad gang-run brothels operating out of converted public toilets in an unused shopping mall, reports say.
Many of the women held are thought to be from mainland China.
France’s ruling socialist party wants to punish the clients of prostitutes. But a group of French celebrities has signed a petition against the proposal.
Geert De Clercq writes: A group of French celebrities including singer Charles Aznavour and actress Catherine Deneuve have signed a petition against a socialist proposal to punish clients of prostitutes.
Next week, a French parliament committee will review a proposal by the ruling socialist party faction to scrap sanctions on soliciting and instead punish prostitutes’ customers with fines. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal in December.
“Without supporting or promoting prostitution, we refuse the criminalization of people who prostitute themselves and those who use their services,” some 70 French celebrities, including former socialist culture minister Jack Lang, said in a statement published in French media on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »