Wednesday, February 27, 2019

How to Play Ball

I have said that in the case of many of these #MeToo allegations, that they either need to be heard out in court, determined if a crime was committed and in turn prosecuted or at least charged and in turn all evidence and information placed in public record.

A good example is that 2008 R. Kelly was charged and ultimately acquitted of charges stemming from sexual abuse and it appears that the court system functioned as it does and he was and still is a black man so this seems to prove that with power, money, excellent Attorneys that a Jury will ultimately make the decision they feel the evidence supports or does not.   But then for over a decade it seemed to not provide Mr. Kelly with a wake up call instead seemed to give him a hall pass to further denigrate and abuse women and girls.  In this time frame undoubtedly colleagues and associates crossed his path, were aware of the history and perhaps even the present and did or said nothing to stop him. At one point no one felt compelled as a friend to even say, "Hey knock off the girl shit at least Robert as this is not good for you or anyone."   It is clear that you must direct your concerns to the player not the played to get anyone famous to pay attention but hey you do what you can.

This goes the same for Michael Jackson who was also cleared of charges and in a civil case as well and since that time two of the victims have come forward admitting they lied. There were years of problems and warnings with Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, fill in the blank as it appears that all of this was not a secret among friends or family.    Drug use the same and to say that the individual was private and they could not does not recall that two weeks before Prince's plane landed for all the world to know and he was given naloxone to stop a drug overdose. The same with Kurt Cobain who had escaped from rehab only days before .   Are there no Adults in the room at all who can say STOP?! And more importantly talk to each other to stay on message? And yes there were in all the cases and still nothing was done and I have to ask why anyone gave Cobain a gun or continued to work with Weinstein given the whispers.  But then again I don't understand fame or money. 

Another famous individual has emerged from his rock and while it is unclear to what exactly transpired during his years at Pixar it was enough for him to leave and go where I have no idea. But John Lasseter is back working for millions of dollars.  Did he go the the Vatican to seek penance?  That was a bad idea.  Or is there some fake rehab facility that a man goes to on a nice island, say Mustique; I hear in the 60s it was swinging.  There they get their shit together over cocktails, emphasis on the cock part.   That place must be packed like a cool dorm or prison without the cells or maybe with them as who knows what shit goes down on these places.  Oh god did I say go down?  Next patient, Robert Kraft, who comes in and asks for a massage, no happy ending please.

Again I am not sure what to say about men who are 70 plus years old, billionaires and need to go to some odd Asian themed strip mall for a "massage."  You mean you can't find a woman willing to come to you or a discrete secondary location for some kink? Seriously that is the real problem that you have to know that these are not well managed or organized sex brothels like Amsterdam or even the Bunny Ranch (although that pushes the boundary but it is legal) and that sordid place anyone in their right mind would not set foot in there for numerous reasons so why dude why?

When I want to get high I go to states where it is legal and then I get high, really really high and call it my pot vacation.  I have a good time and I pay cash and keep it legal and go home having had a great time.  If I can do it so can anyone.   The same for gambling or well whatever one does on vacation you respect the boundaries and laws of the location but that is what it is there for.   So I have to say the thrill is the abuse, the control and the crossing the lines.  Great I watched season one of Westworld and said this is abuse and misogyny and why am I watching this?  And I stopped.

Sometimes you can stop and sometimes you need someone to give you that Come to Jesus talk and it is clear for men that no one is willing to do that.  And the richer the better.  And yes it crosses racial lines and age so to say black women are more disposable is disgracing women and children - period. No color lines there when you are raping, drugging or abusing anyone. Sorry the race card is tossed, played and promptly thrown from the deck.  It is about money and fame which has no color line.

When I read Emma Thompson's letter today about her withdrawing from a project due to the company's willing to hire John Lasseter,  I applauded her intellectual reasoning and in turn explanation. I agree, you can work with any one of these men and you can choose how to set the boundaries and expectations and in turn you can elect to not and let people know why.  That is what defines free will.  But Ms. Thompson is also famous and rich and it enables her to do so, the crew and others she mentions are not as privileged. Again privilege is not just owned by white people it is owned by those in positions where they have the money, the fame and/or power in which to move seamlessly in life with little recourse.  Well until you go into a sex parlor that was under a sting operation then maybe not.  Or file fake Police charges and in turn in a city that has Police very defensively about race relations so maybe not that either. Or rape one woman to many.  That too.

This is a larger problem that is about men, their issues regarding sex and their relationships with women.  Watching the Ted Bundy documentary on Netflix reminded me of the time we were enthralled with his story as if a man who is white, attractive and with so much "potential" (whatever that means he failed Law school and had no real career but okay) could rape and murder women and finally it was a young girl that finally stopped this maniac in his tracks.  Gosh how many did he kill that we believe - 18?  At the same time the Green River Killer in the same area was killing Prostitutes and that took decades to solve but then they were largely prostitutes.  The same with the serial killer in California that was finally solved what 30 years later?  How many women? How many?

This is just one of the many letters that need to be written but more importantly read.

Emma Thompson releases blunt letter about why she won’t work with ex-Pixar chief John Lasseter

By Michael Cavna
The Washington Post
February 26 2019

Last week, the news became public that Emma Thompson was departing a film project at Skydance Animation because the studio had hired John Lasseter. Now Thompson is publicly posing questions about why she believes Lasseter’s presence there is problematic — and why she won’t work with him on the animated movie “Luck.”

In her letter last month to Skydance, which was published Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times, Thompson wrote: “It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate.”

Lasseter, the former creative chief of Pixar and Disney Animation, began leading Skydance last month, immediately after retiring from Disney/Pixar in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal in which employees accused him of inappropriate contact.

He has admitted to professional “missteps” in his behavior without specifically acknowledging the allegations.

Last month, Skydance Media chief executive David Ellison referred to Lasseter’s past actions as “mistakes” and told workers that Lasseter had promised to “comport himself” professionally. In hiring Lasseter, Ellison called the Pixar co-founder and “Toy Story” director “a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated.”

In her letter, Thompson, who worked with Lasseter seven years ago on the Pixar film “Brave,” writes: “If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades, why would a woman want to work for him if the only reason he’s not touching them inappropriately now is that it says in his contract that he must behave ‘professionally’?”

Thompson expressed regret for stepping away from working with “Luck” director Alessandro Carloni, who has worked on such blockbuster animated franchises as “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

A representative for Thompson told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the Oscar-winning actress-writer hopes her letter can have a ripple effect, stirring further conversation within Hollywood in the #MeToo climate.

Melissa Silverstein, founder of the website, which promotes gender equality and inclusivity in the entertainment industry, told The Post that she “can’t convey the gravity” of Thompson’s letter and its potential impact.

“What she has done is put a line in the sand,” said Silverstein, who called the letter a “rallying cry."‘

Thompson, she adds, is using the privilege of her power not only to leave “Luck” but also to pose “the questions we need to be asking” about such issues as workplace safety, career protection and freedom from harassment.

Skydance declined to comment on Thompson’s letter.

The announcement of Lasseter’s hiring led to a long town hall meeting between concerned Skydance employees and Lasseter, who reportedly fielded tough questions. Following the backlash to Lasseter’s hiring, Skydance Animation production head Holly Edwards was promoted to president.

Thompson’s departure and letter are the most visible indications that Skydance may face ramifications over the hire.

Here is Thompson’s letter to Skydance in full:

As you know, I have pulled out of the production of “Luck” — to be directed by the very wonderful Alessandro Carloni. It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate.

I realise that the situation — involving as it does many human beings — is complicated. However these are the questions I would like to ask:

If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades, why would a woman want to work for him if the only reason he’s not touching them inappropriately now is that it says in his contract that he must behave “professionally”?

If a man has made women at his companies feel undervalued and disrespected for decades, why should the women at his new company think that any respect he shows them is anything other than an act that he’s required to perform by his coach, his therapist and his employment agreement? The message seems to be, “I am learning to feel respect for women so please be patient while I work on it. It’s not easy.” 

Much has been said about giving John Lasseter a “second chance.” But he is presumably being paid millions of dollars to receive that second chance. How much money are the employees at Skydance being paid to GIVE him that second chance?

If John Lasseter started his own company, then every employee would have been given the opportunity to choose whether or not to give him a second chance. But any Skydance employees who don’t want to give him a second chance have to stay and be uncomfortable or lose their jobs. Shouldn’t it be John Lasseter who has to lose HIS job if the employees don’t want to give him a second chance?

Skydance has revealed that no women received settlements from Pixar or Disney as a result of being harassed by John Lasseter. But given all the abuse that’s been heaped on women who have come forward to make accusations against powerful men, do we really think that no settlements means that there was no harassment or no hostile work environment? Are we supposed to feel comforted that women who feel that their careers were derailed by working for Lasseter DIDN’T receive money?

I hope these queries make the level of my discomfort understandable. I regret having to step away because I love Alessandro so much and think he is an incredibly creative director. But I can only do what feels right during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising.

I am well aware that centuries of entitlement to women’s bodies whether they like it or not is not going to change overnight. Or in a year. But I am also aware that if people who have spoken out — like me — do not take this sort of a stand then things are very unlikely to change at anything like the pace required to protect my daughter’s generation.

Yours most sincerely,

Emma Thompson

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