“…It’s time to address the elephant not in the room,” Seth Meyers said in his opening speech at the Golden Globes. “Harvey Weinstein isn’t here… But don’t worry, he’ll be back in twenty years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the ‘In Memoriam.’”
It took four minutes for Weinstein to be brought up and subsequently booed.
The Golden Globes had a major emphasis on movements against sexual harassment: Michelle Williams brought #MeToo founder Tarana Burke to the Globes, and scores of actors and actresses wore black and Time’s Up pins in solidarity with the movement.
When James Franco went up to accept his reward for his role in “The Disaster Artist,” a few people paid more attention to the Time’s Up pin on his lapel. Namely, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, Hilary Dusome, and Natalie Chimel, three of the five women who have accused Franco of sexually inappropriate behavior.
Dusome and Chimel said that while they were filming in masks and lingerie for a project, Franco approached them and asked, “So, who wants to take your shirt off?” and stormed off when no one did. Tither-Kaplan told the LA Times that among other behaviors, she and other women were filming a “bonus” orgy scene for the movie The Long Home with Franco, who simulated oral sex on each actress.
In each case, she said that Franco removed the clear plastic guard protecting each actresses’ vagina, but continued to simulate sex with them. “Hey James Franco,” Tither-Kaplan tweeted after Franco won his Golden Globe, “nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes, remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn’t exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!”
An article published on babe.com titled “I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life” has made its rounds recently. The article details an encounter that actor Aziz Ansari thought was consensual while a woman identified as “Grace” took his advances as unwanted. Grace described her sexual encounter with Ansari as “violating” and “painful,” and Ansari later responded by saying that everything was “completely consensual” and that, “It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned.”
Readers view the story as a situation full of misunderstandings, saying that Grace may have wanted Ansari to take it slower and treat her more like a potential girlfriend while he was looking for a hookup.
When he did not meet her expectations, she funneled her disappointment into a story about how he was sexually perverted.
While some say that stories such as Grace’s are leading to the downfall of movement likes #MeToo as stories of sexual harassment and abuse are bogged down by false accusations, others think that #MeToo is a big enough movement to encompass multiple layers in the discussion of sexual harassment. Sarah Hosseini, who writes about sex for Bustle, told Time Magazine that there are some murky and morally gray areas concerning sex that have not been talked about collectively as a society yet. “…Do we have language yet for intimate encounters that teeter on the edge of absolute sexual assault/abuse? I don’t think we do. We have lived in a misogynistic world with misogynistic sex for so long. We thought this “bad sex” was normal. Until someone spoke up and said, this is NOT normal. This is not OK.”
Keene State College’s student handbook describes sexual misconduct as “antithetical to the standards, values, and mission of Keene State College and will not be tolerated.” All forms of relationship and sexual violence, whether they happen on or off campus, are prohibited and can ultimately lead to expulsion of the offending person. It is incredibly important for a victim of sexual assault to have a safe space where they can step forward.
Failure to provide that save environment may prevent someone from speaking out, but movements like #MeToo have made international headlines. These movements give people an outlet to tell their stories of partners who seemed wonderful at first, but because pushy and sometimes criminally abusive when things became sexual. While no one should have to feel scared or worry about backlash for reporting on sexual assault, recent stories have blurred the line between what constitutes as sexual assault and what’s just bad sex or a date gone wrong.
Izzy Manzo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org