Archive for October, 2017

Today’s blog article is based on something I originally wrote on my Facebook page on October 17, 2017. A number of people offered positive comments, so in order to give this issue a wider audience, I felt it might be wise to share it all with you on my blog. As always, feel free to share this with anyone you wish.¬†

I really hope some good things come about as a result of this Harvey Weinstein situation – which not only has dominated the news for the past few weeks, but also seems to keep changing rapidly as more women come forward to discuss their “encounters” with him. As an aside, unless you have just beamed in from the outer planets, or maybe you just did the Tom Hanks “Castaway” thing where you spent four years on a remote tropical island and just returned to civilization, I’m sure you know that this is the creep who has been recently accused of making sexual overtures, advances and other disgusting behaviour to many of Hollywood’s leading actresses and other prominent women. Not unlike what many men in positions of power in the entertainment industry have been doing for decades. For example, here’s an October 2017 article from the Toronto Sun which notes that many well known actresses¬† including Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins and Judy Garland were asked to “be nice” to many of Hollywood’s most powerful men (as Ms. Collins describes it). Casting Couch Confidential¬† The legendary Claudette Colbert, one of the most glamourous actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age in the 1930’s and 1940’s, once commented “The casting couch? There’s only one of us who ever made it to stardom without it, and that was Bette Davis”.

Joan Collins comments are especially interesting to me, not only because she has long been one of my favourite actresses (I loved her as The seductive Siren on Batman and of course she played the cunning Alexis Colby on the 1980s prime-time show Dynasty, a role which really made her career in America take off) but also because I knew that she had originally been cast to play “Cleopatra” in the 1963 film of the same name, only to be replaced by Elizabeth Taylor. I had never heard any definitive reasons why she was replaced, so it was interesting to read in this article that the studio chief at 20th Century Fox (which other sources note turned out to be none other than Darryl Zanuck, one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful executives at the time) invited Ms. Collins into his office and bluntly told her that in order to be confirmed in the role she “had to be nice to him”. Obvious code for “let’s get it on, darling” or other sexual innuendo. The article goes on to say that she fled in tears and of course never got the part. Given that the picture underwent major casting changes and other overhauls during the production process, it would be easy to cover up this sordid episode. I’ll bet even today, over 50 years after its release, most people are not aware of all this. If you can’t get enough, here’s an article from The Daily Mail which discusses that same encounter as well as other times when Ms. Collins was propositioned by powerful entertainment executives So sad, disgusting, repulsive and so much more. One last comment about this – in an ironic twist of entertainment fate, Joan Collins actually did get to play Cleopatra in a 1980 episode of the popular TV series Fantasy Island

Should it surprise us that the dashing swashbuckler Errol Flynn had the “hots” for teenaged girls? According to the same Toronto Sun article,he had an affair with an actress (Beverly Aadland) which started when they met on the Warner Brothers studio lot in the mid 1950s. She was 15 at the time, and the affair was such that she was with Flynn when he died from a heart attack in October 1959. Hmm – although this only lasted for a couple of years (another article describes the relationship in more detail) dare we say that had the dashing actor lived longer that things would have really heated up? Indeed, that Daily Telegraph article notes that Flynn proposed to “his darling Woodsie” (apparently she reminded him of a wood nymph) on her 17th birthday and they were engaged at the time of his death. He’s not the first, nor will he be the last, Hollywood actor who couldn’t keep his libido in check. There are, of course, countless more episodes like this – rather than turning this blog into a 500 page essay that will contain so many sexual/”XXX rated” references that it will be branded as pornography and not suitable for general reading, I suggest you do your own research into why, as another Toronto Sun columnist notes, Hollywood is such a sleazy place

Now before I go further, if anyone reading this (especially women) are offended by my opening statement, and feel that it’s impossible for anything good to come out of this and feel hurt or offended by my comment, I sincerely apologize. But work with me for a minute, gang, and let me tell why I chose to start this article with those comments. I think you’ll understand once you read the whole thing. Weinstein and (sad to say) millions of other men out there are repulsive, disgusting creeps. Any man who treats any woman this way is not a real man. You guys give the rest of us a bad name. Please get the help you need. Not tomorrow, not next week. Get help NOW!! Or let me put this another way. If you’re one of those men who likes to “prey” on women, who thinks it’s OK to make sexual advances to them, “hit” on women as often as possible and other disgusting behaviour, not only are you just as much a repulsive, disgusting piece of filth as Harvey Weinstein, I also “pray” that you have a “Jacob Marley wake-up moment” and realize how inappropriate your actions have been.

For those of you who didn’t get the above reference, I’m sure that all of you reading this recall the classic Charles Dickens story “A Christmas Carol” and the saga of the miserly, cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge. The story is set on a Christmas Eve long ago, and soon after Scrooge returns to his home, he is greeted by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The ghost reminds Scrooge of the life he has lived, and offers him one last chance at redemption. That Scrooge will be visited by three other ghosts who will work with Scrooge at turning his life around. We know the rest of the story. Scrooge is indeed visited by the ghosts and he becomes a changed man. So to you repulsive creeps who call yourselves men, but who seem to think you can force yourselves on women and make their lives awful, I hope this is your “Jacob Marley wake-up moment”. Get the help you need. Do IT NOW! I could say more, but probably best to leave it there.

Everyone (men and women together) should be treated with love, respect and dignity. That is how I have always tried to live my life every day. It doesn’t mean I always agree with their feelings on things (especially political or social issues, where I will admit that I do take a more traditional/conservative view of society), but it does mean that simply by living on this earth as a human being, that in itself deserves that we treat everyone with respect and dignity. I say this especially not only to all the women who are in my life, but in fact to every woman reading this article. What Harvey Weinstein and these other “thugs” did (and sadly continue to do today) was not love, sex or anything resembling any of those things. What they committed were acts of violence and so much more. Those acts do not belong in a society that claims to be progressive, tolerant, inclusive and so on.

To all the women reading this, if even one of you has experienced this kind of behaviour, my heart aches for you. You deserve so much better and I hope your lives today are filled with love, compassion and especially support from those who truly care for you and are helping you every day. If the actions of pigs like Harvey Weinstein leads to a worldwide discussion of sexual harrassment and related issues in our society and helps build a better world, then perhaps some good will come from all this after all. Which brings us full circle and right back to where I began. Yes I do want some good things to come out of this situation. And I want to do my part to help build that better world I just described. I hope all of you do as well.

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