It’s been less than two weeks since women came out saying Harry Knowles molested them. It’s been just over a month since Devin Faraci. The Cinefamily is still closed for its own investigation into its management’s sexual harassment. This week, three more people involved in the film community have been accused of being sexual predators.
Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski really wishes his child rape charge would go away. Actually, his victim, Samantha Gailey, also wants the rape charge to finally go away. She’s been living with the trauma for 40 years now, and she can’t forget it because the case will probably never close until 83-year-old Polanski has finally died in exile.
Here’s the deal: Gailey was brutally raped when she was 13 back in 1977. Before the case went to trial, Polanski’s and Gailey’s attorney’s arranged a plea agreement where Polanski would plead guilty to unlawful sexual assault of a minor. Under the terms of the plea, Polanski was ordered to get a 90 day psychiatric evaluation before the judge issued a final sentencing under the terms of the deal. Polanski did report to prison for that deal, but somehow left after only 42 days. The judge ordered him back to jail and Polanski fled the US never to return.
Since then, Polanski has lived in exile in Europe for the past 39 years. He’s had a fruitful film career, but he is not allowed back into the US unless he submits himself to sentencing. This year, Samantha Gailey, who has written a book about her experiences, formally issued a plea to the state of California for them to close the case so she can finally get some peace. When news of Gailey’s request went public, several more women came forward to tell the State of California that they should keep pursuing the case because Polanski had raped them when they were teenagers, though they never came forward at the time and they are now out of their statute of limitations.
Meanwhile, Polanski and his lawyers are also trying to plead with California to rule on the case with Polanski in exile with a sentence of time served (a total of 332 days: 42 days under evaluation and some 290 days under house arrest after the US tried to extradite Polanski from Switzerland). California refuses to commit to such sentencing until Polanski returns to California and we’re back at a stalemate.
An in-depth article from the New York Times reports that Academy Award-winning producer Harvey Weinstein has also been accused of committing decades of sexual harassment to his underlings. Rumors of Weinstein’s notoriously terrible behavior have floated in film circles for years; one such personal recollection seems to be linked to production announcements of a new Quentin Tarantino movie (any reader of Jane Hamsher’s Killer Instinct knows that QT has also behaved in creepy ways himself). Weinstein’s behavior included casting couch meetings, he would demand young female staffers watch him bathe, and pressure other women into having sex with him. Sexual harassment suits have previously been filed with Harvey, resulting in 6 figure payouts in hush money.
Harvey Weinstein, who founded Miramax and now heads The Weinstein Company and has thrown many galas in favor of liberal causes, has been launching into a meltdown. First, he hired Charles Harder to sue the New York Times for $50m harassment and defamation, suggesting that the NYTimes had a vendetta against him. Some may remember Harder for being the lawyer hired by Hulk Hogan in the Gawker harassment case that caused them to go bankrupt and sell themselves and their family of websites to Univision. That harassment case was orchestrated by conservative gay tech giant Peter Thiel (cofounder of Paypal and board member of Facebook).
Then, Harvey released a severely unhinged statement stating that his behavior was based on previously acceptable behavior from the 1960s and 1970s, and he was just an old fossil who was trying to be better. He even hired a woman to help him be better. He was “going to step away from his company” (see also: Harry Knowles, Devin Faraci, etc) and concentrate on liberal campaigns to promote gun regulation and Democratic Party shit and whatever the fuck else kind of nonsense he threw in. The statement included information about his bar mitzvah and something about not wanting to disappoint his mother? It was a very crowded “Yeah, so sue me” non-apology apology.
Look, if you need a consultant to help you know that making your personal assistants watch you bathe is not a good idea, you probably need more help than just a consultant. Though I chuckle at the mental image of a woman walking around and hitting him upside the head every time he says something sexist or behaves in a sexually harassing manner, I don’t have any faith that he’s actually trying to correct his behavior nor do I feel that he is entitled to forgiveness when he’s suing the messenger.
Just after these two bombshells dropped, a group of women came forth with accusations against Emmy-nominated Andy Signore, creator of Honest Trailers for ScreenJunkies (owned by Defy Media). April Dawn, a YouTuber who goes under the SN April13Dawn, said that she and two other women have been talking with Defy’s HR to accuse Andy of sexual assault, including “he took out sex toys and tried to force them in me, took pictures of me without my permission, and promised a position at Screen Junkies for sexual favors.”
Since Ms. Dawn’s revelations on Twitter, many many other women have come forth with creepy and objectifying behavior. Emma Bowers stated he told her he wanted to jack off in front of her when she was just an unpaid intern. Stacey Herbert got objectifying emails including one that read:
I’m realizing i was a huge douchebag byj just objectifying you in the first place, by pointing out how fucking incredible you look in your cosplay – which I didn’t mean to be creepy about – but then its sort of complicated, because you’re in skin-tight leather, looking amazing – are we not supposed to compliment like that? Do enlighten me lol I didn’t mean to offend, or be creepy – unless you’re cool with it.“
Becky Moore shared messages where he stated he wanted to be her “secret pen pal.” Devin Murphy said he told her he would get her a show on his channel if she wore her sexy cosplay outfits. Since the revelations, even more women have been coming forward with their stories on Twitter.
Since the women came forth, Defy Media and Screen Junkies have suspended Andy Signore from operations pending a further investigation.