Crixeo: Sex & Hollywood
Sex & The Spotlight: Harvey Weinstein is Nothing New in Hollywood
At the time of this writing, Harvey Weinstein has been accused by 40 women of sexual misconduct over the course of his career as a producer and distributor of films. While applauded by the industry for his “cultural impact,” few saw it fit to speak up about the decades of abuse, assault and rape that had been going on in their ranks. Yet when news broke of Harvey Weinstein forcefully performing oral sex on one actress and masturbating into a plant while cornering an unsuspecting news anchor, no one seemed the least bit surprised — apart from Harvey’s closest friends. And why is that? Why didn’t anyone speak up sooner? Because this is who Hollywood is, and has been, since the very beginning.
Think: Who Goes to Hollywood?
These are your social pariahs and outcasts, your freaks and artists, your sensitives and misfits. These people roll into Los Angeles with big dreams, empty pockets and a willingness to work. A fair majority, like Rita Hayworth (the original starlet and love goddess), enter this world with some training in theater. Rita, for instance, was a descendant of Spanish dancers who had won over the New York vaudeville scene. When she was 13, she joined her father, Eduardo, in Tijuana to dance for the film executives, knowing full well that her family’s survival depended on her success.
Eventually the sultry numbers she performed with her father landed her small, exotic roles in B films. That’s what brought our future “Gilda” to Tinseltown. It wasn’t long before she met her first husband, Eddie Judson, a 41-year-old smooth operator with a mysterious past. Judson landed her more gigs in B films and worked to build her career as a star, hoping to capitalize on her success. When she turned 18, they eloped and Eddie seized complete control over the future starlet’s life. In fact, the Rita Hayworth we know and love was a persona designed by Judson himself, right down to the hairline. As she had with her father, Margarita simply did as she was told.
Marilyn Monroe, on the other hand, had been born in Los Angeles. An unwanted love child, Marilyn would spend her free time at the cinema, dreaming of a better reality. She used to sit in that bright, white light of the moving pictures and pray that it would help her change her life. She believed that through acting and film, she could finally find acceptance and love. She’d married her first husband at 16 to escape an orphanage but divorced him once she’d gained some independence through modeling. She later began relationships with agents, directors and voice coaches, who helped her with plastic surgery and getting a foothold in the industry, but she also knew that you couldn’t just sleep your way to the top — “it takes a lot of work too!”
But many people who come to Hollywood are attracted to the idea of fame and fortune, in one sense or another. They’re not doing regional theater for the love of the craft. They’re out there trying to make money, and that attracts the Eduardos and Eddie Judsons of the world, as well as the Marilyn Monroe hopefuls. It’s a magnet for all kinds of artists and business types, eager to be in a world with blurred lines, where anyone can change their fate. And these individuals are often willing to do anything to achieve their goal, even change what they look like and who they are, to meet the desires of Hollywood.