Two years on, Hollywood reflects on #MeToo changes
Harvey Weinstein is due to stand trial in January on charges of rape and predatory assault of two women. He denies any non-consensual sex.
LOS ANGELES - This week marks two years since the New York Times and the New Yorker published accounts by multiple women accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, fueling the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and a drive to empower women who work behind and in front of the camera.
Weinstein is due to stand trial in January on charges of rape and predatory assault of two women. He denies any non-consensual sex.
Reuters asked actors, directors and producers how much Hollywood has changed since October 2017. Below are their replies, edited for length and clarity.
“I’d like to say that I feel like men might be beginning to behave themselves a little bit better, and I say maybe. I’m not saying they have definitively, but there is a new way of communicating, or a slightly new awareness, an awareness shift that’s happened. It’s in process. This job is not done. It will never be done, but I think there’s a way of communicating that has improved, hopefully.”
“The #MeToo movement - my sister was one of the first people to come out - and I think it’s had a ripple effect all across the world, beyond Hollywood. Luckily there is more representation of women and women of colour on television than there was before, but it’s still not really equal yet ... Activists and people have been trying to get this work done for a long, long time, but the more we have this conversation, the more we ask for it, the more we talk about the need for it, the better. You have movies like Wonder Woman and Black Panther busting box office records and then suddenly, all of a sudden, the world is like ‘Oh, right, they could be successful.’ The business is sometimes the last one to learn.”
“We seem to work as a pendulum. We swing too far one way, then we find that sweet spot, and then we go too far back and we keep on this swing. But what is going on, which is positive, is that we’re recalibrating our relationships, behaviors and workplace. It’s long overdue and needed, and it’s a good thing.”
“I’ve seen so many changes within my industry, but not just within my industry ... I see it at my daughter’s school. I see it in my friends’ places of employment. I see it really everywhere, and it gives me great faith that the world that these girls are growing up in is going to be different than the one that you and I grew up in.”
“I think we have very far to go. I think even in Hollywood there should have been an independent inquiry... There’s a lot of focus about what they say women want and I would say it’s not what we want. It’s what we’d like not to be done to us. Do not limit us to have an education, do not harm us whether it be at war or in our own homes, do not oppress us or try to control us, do not limit our possibilities as human beings and just let us be.”
“There’s this solidarity that is providing women with a chance to start finally telling their own stories and not being used as sort of tools to tell their stories through other people ... There are so many untapped resources and ways in which we can inhabit our own stories and repossess our narrative. (It) is fully doable right now and for the first time, like ever, so it is an exciting time for women in film, like, enormously.”
“I think the #MeToo movement has changed a lot, but like a lot of hashtag movements, the problem is that when you do a hashtag or something, people think it’s fixed. But it’s not. It hasn’t really changed anything, because it’s still happening.”
“For me (on movie The Kitchen,) we had (director) Andrea (Berloff), three female leads, we also had (the) first female (director of photography), and it’s almost one of those things now that’s become natural because these women are the best at what they do, and that’s why they were there and not because they’re women ... It’s just becoming more normalized, which I think is the best part of it.”
“Charlize (Theron), Margot (Robbie) and I just did a film - Bombshell - which is about instigating change in terms of sexual harassment ... We hope that constantly talking about it changes it for the generations to come.”
“Because of Time’s Up, (New York) Governor (Andrew) Cuomo has adopted the Time’s Up safety agenda, which is really, really significant for every woman in New York state. New York is a much less progressive state than California, so when Time’s Up New York got together we thought, ‘What do we address here in our home state?’ And we’ve really been able to make changes (including) extend the statute of limitations on assault.”
“I think there’s been such a seismic shift in awareness in just a year. I think there’s a long way to go but I do think quite a bit has happened already. Already all the conversations I’ve had with women, we just didn’t have those conversations before.”
“I think we’re at the beginning of a movement, and I think we have to keep pushing. You can talk a good game, but you have to wait until it changes, so we’re not there yet. We will be. You’ve got to root for it. I’m a hopeful person. I have two daughters; I have to be. I’ll fight. I’ll fight until I can’t fight anymore.”
“For me, being a young woman in the industry and hearing actresses tell their story and being able to hear those voices and know that it’s OK to speak your truth on things and stand up for what’s right and say no - it’s a great community that has really formed because of this.”
“When we did Cheers, ... if someone was in the bathroom, someone would kick open the door and we would take pictures, but the intent was in fun. And if the intent is to hold you hostage or not give you a job without sexual favours, you know the difference. But I think that the pendulum swung and now it needs to swing and balance out because people are not all ill-intentioned.”
“I have been quite free, always, in my choices in life. I didn’t need #MeToo to do that, but I think #MeToo’s movement was very important for some people, for some women to speak out.”
“You really shouldn’t be able to get away with inequality anymore. The thing is that you’ve got to keep vocal about it; you’ve got to be vigilant. It’s not something that can ever be really done and dusted until there is equality and everybody’s voice is heard.”
“It’s just good everybody’s aware. I mean, out with the old, right? The old status quo can’t hold. There has to be these evolutionary leaps in what is acceptable.”