I sat in front of my television at sharp 8 a.m. on a Monday morning to watch the Oscars. You see, I wanted to watch how the Oscars would go in the shadow of the sexual assault allegations leveraged against many powerful men of Hollywood and, trust me, I wasn’t disappointed. Gary Oldman won the Oscar for Best Actor for his film Darkest Hour. Kobe Bryant won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball. Ryan Seacrest was seen hosting E!’s Oscars red carpet despite being accused of sexual harassment by a former stylist.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Gary Oldman has been accused of violently hitting his wife in the face with a telephone receiver in 2001. Kobe Bryant is accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. Last year, Casey Affleck won the Best Actor for his film Manchester by the Sea even after being accused of sexually terrorising female colleagues on the set of I’m Still Here, a 2010 mockumentary. In the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, Oscars are not even paying attention to the ongoing conversation about the prevailing culture of sexual harassment. Instead, they are hell-bent on rewarding rapists and abusers.
Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant have joined an exclusive club of Hollywood – the accused who get away with anything because of their ‘art’. Everybody knows who they are – Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, etc. Hollywood has a sick forgive-and-forget attitude towards its guilty white male artists. These men should have been facing serious consequences for their actions. Instead, here they are, standing unhurt and continuing with their illustrious careers. Giving these abusive men awards for their work is almost like giving them an institutional approval and dismissing the claims of the victims and survivors.
Why are we stressing so much on this? It is because winning an Oscar gives you a worldwide recognition and elevates your career. As you become more successful, there are higher chances of the victims’ voices to be unheard. By keeping and validating these abusive male artists, we are forcing more and more women and vulnerable populations like children to work with them and subsequently endangering their physical safety and mental health. By awarding the professional credentials of these sexual abusers we are conveying a message that we do not care about the testimonies or the trauma of those who suffered at the hands of these men because the value of successful ‘art’ is more than the lived experiences of anyone.
To make #MeToo a successful movement, it is important that we listen to the victims and believe them. It is also important to make sure that every predator faces serious consequences for every wrong doings and doesn’t get away with it. Not anymore because Times Up!
Feature Image Credits: Getty Images