Hollywood Cracks Down on Sexual Misconduct – What Will the Oscars Bring?

by: Zoey Miller, Intern at KBEP 

This year’s awards season has been dominated by a slew of social movements catalyzed by celebrities’ desire to highlight the issues of gender discrimination, lack of diversity, and sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry and society as a whole. At the Golden Globes in January, stars banded together to wear all-black to make a statement against the epidemic of sexual harassment in Hollywood. The next month at the Grammy Awards, stars such as Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, and Cyndi Lauper wore white roses in support of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

The #MeToo movement went viral in October 2017 after many took to social media to share their own experiences of sexual harassment or assault in the wake of New York Times’ investigative report on Harvey Weinstein, which detailed numerous accusations against the big-name producer.

Time’s Up is a legal defense fund founded by a conglomerate of celebrities, which covers the fees for women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. Celebrities who have donated or publicly supported the organization include Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Debra Messing, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Meryl Street.

While at first, it appeared that these movements were supported solely by the actors and actresses, the institutions themselves have begun to take a stand on the matter. An example of this occurred when the Motion Picture Academy rewarded Christopher Plummer, who stepped in on a moment’s notice to replace disgraced star Kevin Spacey in the historical drama “All the Money in the World,” a supporting actor nomination. This nomination serves as a message from the Motion Picture Academy that it will no longer be complacent on this issue of sexual abuse in the workplace, and that it will reward those who seek to atone for Hollywood’s many sins of sexual misconduct.

This recent emphasis on the issues of sexual misconduct at these star-filled events and consequently in the media is incredibly important in inciting conversation on this topic which KBEP has been working to improve for the past 17 years. KBEP believes that the issues of relationship violence, sexual harassment and misconduct, and gender discrimination are all intrinsically connected. KBEP also believes that the best way to prevent these forms of structural violence is through conversation and education about these topics. With next week’s Oscar’s fast approaching, it will be interesting to see what forms of social activism transpire, and how it will further the conversation on sexual violence and misconduct.