On Sunday evening, Hollywood had its #MeToo moment at the Oscars. Unfortunately, it didn’t involve actual penance for the culture of sexual misconduct that has plagued the town for decades. Instead, it turned into a moment of virtue signaling about diversity in Hollywood.
Three women allegedly abused by Harvey Weinstein entered the stage to introduce a video about #MeToo. But you wouldn’t have known that from anything they said onstage. Annabella Sciorra, who was blackballed by Weinstein, simply rattled off a series of meaningless clichés that meant nothing without knowledge of who she was personally: “This year, many spoke their truths, and the journey ahead is long. But, slowly, a new path has emerged.”
Then, Ashley Judd, who also accused Weinstein of abuse, chimed in: “The chances we are witnessing are being driven by the sound of powerful new voices, of different voices, together in a mighty chorus that is finally saying ‘time’s up.’” Again, you wouldn’t know about Judd’s association with Weinstein from the context, since nobody mentioned it.
Finally, Salma Hayek joined the crew, and stated that women had to fight against “the biased perceptions against their gender, their race, and ethnicity to tell their stories.” But nobody knew, without reference, that Hayek had written a New York Times op-ed calling Weinstein a “monster.”
So all the audience saw was three beautiful actresses making vague references about something bad happening in Hollywood. Then, the Academy played a video featuring various actresses and actors talking about the role for women in Hollywood.
Mira Sorvino – again, an unidentified Weinstein accuser – said, “Everyone is getting a voice to express something that has been happening forever, not only in Hollywood, but in every walk of life.” What would that something be? Was it unpaid parking tickets? Bad action movies? The audience had no clue, since the words “sexual harassment and assault” were never uttered. Sarah Silverman said, “Some people, in their hearts, they’re threatened or they’re scared, and there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s just equality.” Again, this sounds like women aren’t working in Hollywood, not like they’re being abused.
And that was the theme: Hollywood’s hiring more diverse people! Kumail Nanjiani, writer of The Big Sick, stated, “Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes, about straight white dudes. Now, straight white dudes can watch movies starring me, and you can relate to that. It’s not that hard. I’ve done that my whole life.”
This wasn’t the problem for #MeToo in Hollywood – lack of people of color and women in positions of power. That may be another problem, although you’d have to explain why the skin color of a particular director should be an indicator of quality. But the #MeToo movement was about Hollywood’s longstanding history of abuse of women, and that got scant mention from the Oscar crowd. Which is no surprise, since they were more interested in virtue signaling than in cleansing themselves from the sins they will no doubt continue to engage in as soon as the spotlight of media attention moves on.