Dear Friends of The Accused, Please Stop Publicly Shaming Victims
This time last year, the #MeToo movement was in formation, as the “Weinstein Files” became the virus that employed numerous outlets for the traffic-savvy task of publishing non-stop testimonies from victims, who were finally getting the opportunity to publicly shame their once untouchable abusers.
The entertainment industry was held hostage by the awkwardness of exposure that juxtaposed the glamorousness and shameless opulence of award season, with the long-standing tradition of shameful behavior conducted by the powerful, and enabled by the cowardly.
The only thing to do was to utilize the red carpet as the backdrop of all-black designer duds worn by A-listers, who arrived with the reinforcement of those who couldn’t relate to the privileged world of feted victims, but showed up as brief reminders of the vastness of this unbiased issue.
As the months went by, and the awards were safely tucked in the marble bathrooms of recipients, it was becoming increasingly clear that the initiatives that were formed by women with impressive clout and the determination to wield that power for good — still needed to be dutifully streamlined for the sake of cohesiveness and mandated inclusion.
Things were initially off to a bumpy start when actress Alyssa Milano failed to follow protocol by acknowledging that the viral hashtag she authoritatively shared was actually conceptualized by a Black woman — Tarana Burke — long before hashtags ruled our existence.
Milano was forced to remorsefully admit it when she was called out by Twitter, and while her gracious response was noted, the damage was already done.
Both #MeToo and Time’s Up, have flourished with the bandwidth of White feminism, and how the pain of White women is historically recognized above all others.
That sentiment was demonstrated through the frustrations of Westworld staple, British actress, Thandie Newton, who has been quite open about the inappropriateness of her Flirting director, John Duigan, who was considerably older, and grossly took advantage of an impressionable teenager in a hauntingly vile way.
Newton first bravely shared her harrowing experience back when talking about it was unheard of and even discouraged. And there was no public rallying around an actress who desperately needed the support. Not even from her notably silent Flirting co-star, actress Nicole Kidman — who has conveniently attached herself to the #MeToo club, and is currently filming the Roger Ailes movie, along with a cast of White A-list actresses.
The silence has continued with the lack of inclusion from her White counterparts, who callously didn’t extend a formal invite when the time came to activate Time’s Up. Newton was quite certain that her absence from the lineup of nominees during award season 2018, basically meant she wasn’t visible or viable enough for recognition.
“I wasn’t hot enough.” “I wasn’t mainstream enough and I wasn’t going to be at the Oscars this year, even though I am having a kind of renaissance in my career.”
A year later, and Newton is a Golden Globe nominated actress, who still carries the pain from being shunned by her White counterparts. Gabrielle Union can certainly relate to Newton’s plight, since she has also been fearless in her quest to be transparent about her horrifying tale of physical assault, and her revelation also happened way before women in Hollywood dared to be graphically personal.
A-list Black actresses don’t get the chance to star in ambitious movies that will capitalize on the themes that legitimize the mission of women’s movements. And they also don’t get to gratifyingly experience the resurgence of flatlined careers like Mira Sorvino and Annabella Sciorra get to do.
But what’s even more fascinating is how the ordained mascots have the tendency to turn on each other. It’s the double-edged sword of White feminism, that’s somehow flexible enough to attack its own while also making room for vulnerable outsiders.
Take for instance the venom of Lena Dunham, is a terrifically bad ally to Black women, and ceremoniously illustrated that when she and writing partner Jenni Konner, took it upon themselves to outrightly humiliate an up and coming biracial actress — Aurora Perrineau — the daughter of Lost actor Harold Perrineau — after she exposed her assault at the hands of former Girls co-showrunner Murray Miller, when she was just 17.
Miller, is a close friend of Dunham and Konner, and so the loyalty of both women overwhelmed Perrineau’s heart-wrenching testimony when the news broke about the appalling allegations, and so the pressure was on to exact damage control.
In true “Dunham-style,” the actress and her girl pal, issued an ill-advised statement that was meant to exonerate the embattled abuser, at the expense of his violated accuser, who was blindsided and undeservedly punished for doing exactly what tons of victims avoid, for fear of being mocked and rejected.
The hostile words from two bullish White women, fighting against the truth of an innocent woman of color were hard to internalize:
“While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year.”
It’s not surprising that Lena Dunham felt “confident” enough to disgracefully shame the courageous act of a victim when you consider that she also disgustingly tried to take credit for assisting in the implementation of Time’s Up, when in actuality, she was nowhere to be found until the grand premiere.
Actress Tessa Thompson divulged that fact in a tweet which she weirdly retracted after Dunham, who claims that she’s a survivor of abuse, responded with the weaponry of White victimhood.
“Lena was not anywhere present in our group during the countless hours of work for the last two months. We hosted an open house for the actresses for red carpet messaging and Lena presence was a surprise to us all. This is a time of reckoning. And for many, a re-education. So many women also have real work to do. I’m afraid it’s too nuanced a conversation to have on this platform. But I hear you, and know that your thoughts and words are not lost on me. It’s been discussed.”
Thompson issued an apology right after posting the tweet, and that was an infuriating gesture, since it remarkably took a whole ass year for Dunham to finally apologize to Perrineau for her demonic actions towards a broken spirit, who was victimized all over again by the warriors of White feminism.
And that apology wasn’t genuine, based on Dunham’s self-cleanse tour — being hosted by notable industry outlets — that permit trifling White women the audacity to weaponize their bad behavior with the honor of a splashy spread and oodles of clicks.
When you examine the progress of #MeToo and Time’s Up with the annual check up, there’s no way to downplay the glaring challenges that prevent the path to progression.
The unevenness of targeting Morgan Freeman with the threats to his established career while ignoring the pending serious accusations levied at Dustin Hoffman, seemed to hint at disorganization at the epicenter of operations.
There was also the dire consequences that stemmed from the avalanche of first-person accounts, that felt like a full-on attack, that was both paralyzing and mentally catastrophic for those of us who have suffered through personal trauma, and don’t need the unavoidable minefield.
But through it all, sufferers always maintain the attitude of reverence when it comes to accommodating the testimonies of other women, who finally feel safe enough to validate the unrelenting burden that they’ve carried around for far too long.
I’m still tirelessly lugging my load, and the two times I trusted an uncle and a school counselor with the details of my ordeal, they casually dismissed it with such disdain, that I swore to take my pain to the grave.
And so, it’s difficult for me to comprehend the incentives of anyone who relishes the role of destroyer, in cases where victims confront their harasser, and are compensated accordingly.
It’s quite telling that these “destroyers” are almost always White women, who inexplicably prefer to pledge allegiance to the accused White males in full view of the public, instead of respectfully performing that act in private.
We saw it happen during the Kavanaugh hearings, with the end result favoring the accused over the private citizen who tried to prevent the very worst from happening.
And this circus of hate-filled betrayal is ongoing as the abusers and harassers are outed with cringe-worthy details, and their earnest defenders immediately attempt to vouch for these men as if their lives depend on it.
We saw it with Sarah Silverman when she provided more than we needed to know in an effort to highlight the “remorsefulness” of her buddy and fellow comedian, Louis C.K. Her ploy was to apply her uncanny tolerance for impromptu masturbation requests to her less eager counterparts, who weren’t psyched about forced participation.
Silverman’s reasoning was that if she could take it, then the other women must’ve felt the same way, which essentially victimized the victims by giving the accused the benefit of the doubt.
The latest attack comes from former co-stars of actor Michael Weatherly, and it stems from sexual misconduct allegations that have resulted in a $9.5 million settlement for actress Eliza Dushku.
Dushku accuses the star of CBS series, Bull, of sexual harassment while she appeared as his love interest on the show. Despite being contracted beyond the three episodes she fulfilled, right after she complained to the network about Weatherly’s misconduct, her character’s run came to an abrupt end.
And now the headlines are blaring with Dushku’s pay day which is the sum of what she was owed before she was prematurely terminated. This public exposure has energized Weatherly’s staunch supporters from his NCIS days— who want the whole world to know what a swell guy he really is, regardless of the damning evidence brought forth by a fellow actress.
Incidentally, Pauley Perrette has shared her own #MeToo moments, that include the “multiple physical assaults” that she alleges happened on the set of NCIS, and forced her to leave the series in 2017 after 15 seasons. She also claimed that the “machine” was responsible for her years of silence.
Dear friends of the accused, please stop publicly shaming victims.
It’s absolutely revolting to witness how women who’ve also been abused, seem more than willing to publicly stick up for the abusers of victims who want nothing more than to be heard and protected, with soothing words of comfort and encouragement.
Why is it necessary for Lena Dunham and her roster of White feminists to provide that middle-finger salute to women that they should be warmly embracing, with the dutiful diligence of sisterhood, that usually furnishes those instincts.
And if the preference is to stroke the ego of the accused White males, wouldn’t it #BeBest to reach out to them in private, as opposed to the scorchingly traitorous tweets and statements, that are executed with the intent of making the accusers feel and look and shitty?
A year later, and there’s still much to be concerned about when it comes to the messaging of the two primary initiatives that are sadly lacking the honor of inclusivity and dependable allyship.
And by the way, the upcoming Roger Ailes blockbuster movie won’t solve a thing.