The “casting couch” has been a ‘fact’ of Hollywood life for so long that it even became an apocryphal joke from the set of “The Ten Commandments”.
Charlton Heston, in his autobiography In The Arena, wrote that the orgy scene being filmed about the Golden Calf celebrations went on for so long (four days), that…
At last, one of the extra girls went over to the first assistant director. “Tell me, Eddie,” she said wearily. “Who do I have to fuck to get off this picture?” (page 140)
Harvey Weinstein’s trial has been dragging on for a couple of weeks. He is the ‘ugly’ poster boy for all the naughty Hollywood producers who came before him. Powerful men use fame and fortune as a dangling carrot for up-and-coming starlets. “Sleep with me, and I’m make a star out of you,” is the bait. These young women have no other options, even though it would be preferable to keep their distance from such odious men. And yet, to keep their jobs and their prospects alive, they must also send messages of affection and gratitude afterwards. And the defence attorneys think that proves the sex was consensual.
Obviously, not. Yet Jian Gomeshi was acquitted because of those ‘love’ notes, in 2016.
When one person holds a position of power over another, anything that happens is not a transaction between equals. How could it be? And yet, the game is: I’ve got something you want, what are you willing to trade in return?
Whatever befalls Weinstein, his days on the casting couch are long gone. Thank God.