The Berlin Film Festival has rejected the #MeToo call for rolling out a black carpet instead of a red one at the festival's premiere event.
According to Deadline, the festival will not be replacing the red carpet for black carpet in honor of #MeToo as the organizers felt it would only scratch the surface of an otherwise deeper problem. Chief Dieter Kosslick said the festival should “delve deeper into the #MeToo discourse, deeper than our carpet allows … So laying out a black carpet at the Berlinale is not the path we have chosen.”
That's all just a fancy way of saying that virtue-signaling with a black carpet instead of red carpet will do nothing compared to an honest discourse.
Despite calls for stars to wear only black at the debut of Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs, Kosslick confirmed that did not take place and that people were allowed to dress however they please. “Everybody can choose how she or he wants to walk the red carpet – freedom of expression," he said.
The #BlackCarpetBerlinale began with a petition on Change.org that has now garnered 23,000 signatures. The petition's author, German actress Claudia Eisinger (Too Hard To Handle, Tatort), called for an all black premiere as a way to speak truth to power.
"As an actress I know how power structures can create insecurity and how overwhelming it can be to feel dependency, how much space there is for abusive behavior in professional hierarchies," wrote the actress in the petition. "In Hollywood the actresses wore black. In Berlin we want a black carpet. It is our responsibility to show the world that sexual abuse, harassment, and discrimination against women no longer remain unseen — and not only in our business.”
While Chief Kosslick admits the importance of the #MeToo movement for turning attention to the alleged evils of men like Harvey Weinstein, he feels that symbolic politics will not bring the change women like Eisinger hope for.
"Above and beyond sexual violence, the public discourse has led us to challenge the balance of power and role models in society," said Kosslick. "We at the Berlinale firmly believe in the importance of the actions and debates around the #MeToo movement. We fully understand the motivation behind Ms Eisinger’s petition. But for the festival, we made a conscious decision not to engage in symbolic politics.”
Kosslick's measures were far more practical, such as having a panel discussion on sexual harassment, a counseling corner, and a seminar training women on how to speak up about sexual harassment.
“The urgently-needed equality for women in the film sector will undoubtedly reinforce comprehensive changes in awareness of sexism and abuse of power, and perception of sex and gender roles. That will lead to changes in behavior and a joint future, as the #blackcarpet petition calls for,” said Kosslick.