The firestorm set off by the Harvey Weinstein scandal has brought Hollywood into a state of unparalleled crisis. Major projects shelved, stars avoiding red carpet events, film releases delayed, A-list firings, widespread fear, nobody in entertainment has ever seen or dealt with anything like this.
The big difference between the sexual assault scandals surrounding A-list talents like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Brett Ratner and other scandals in the past — Bill Cosby comes to mind — is that the fallout is not contained to the individual perpetrators. The now-oft repeated phrase “open secret” regarding these power players’ behavior suggests their alleged misdeeds were empowered by an industry willing to look the other way.
“There’s been scandals in Hollywood since the silent movie age but it was one person or one incident,” said Tim Gray, an editor at Variety. “I’ve been at Variety for 30 years, I’ve never seen something like this.”
According to Yahoo News, “Every project linked to The Weinstein Company, co-founded by Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob, is now toxic, whereas a few months ago such a relationship was a mark of prestige.”
The whole Weinstein slate appears to now be guaranteed bombs. Their most recent theatrical release, Amityville: The Awakening, earned just $742 during its one day release. The company now sits on the verge of bankruptcy.
Outside the Weinstein Co., other big brands, such as Amazon Studios, have also taken major hits. Just last month, Amazon Studios chairman Roy Price resigned after accusations of sexual harassment surfaced. His exit would help contribute to the collapse of a Weinstein Co. drama series from director David O. Russel and Robert De Niro.
And that’s just fallout from the Weinstein allegations.
Another streaming behemoth, Netflix, also has a major disaster on their hands from the aftermath of damning allegations made against Kevin Spacey, the star of their hit series House of Cards. Not only has Netflix effectively cancelled the show and halted all filming on season six, but now the media giant must deal with the subsequent PR disaster surrounding allegations of Spacey’s behavior on the show’s set.
Within days of actor Anthony Rapp accusing Spacey of sexually assaulting him at age 14, stories immediately broke from male crew members on House of Cards that Spacey harassed them on set and in private, and yet, somehow Spacey was never reprimanded for his behavior. A pattern quickly emerged: Spacey’s alleged sexual predation was an “open secret” in Hollywood, meaning that Hollywood continued to work with him despite the fact. The same could be said for another one of Hollywood’s “open secrets,” actor Dustin Hoffman.
Spacey’s downfall has also torpedoed the upcoming Ridley Scott film All the Money In the World, where Spacey’s portrayal of twentieth-century billionaire J. Paul Getty had the words “Oscar buzz” fluttering about in the halls of Tinseltown. The buzz has fizzled and the movie will not be released until sometime in 2018. A total bust for all involved.
Over at Warner Bros., the allegations leveled at Hugh Hefner’s admirer Brett Ratner has now reportedly “threatened a co-financing deal between the studio and Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“This is kind of a lesson for everyone in Hollywood. You know what? Everybody is replaceable,” Gray said before speculating on whether any of the men can work in Hollywood again. “Hollywood loves a comeback story, loves to forgive … (but) this is not something you can forgive.”
Only four months left before the Academy Awards and the fear now is what happens if a potential nominee or presenter becomes embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. Last year, actor Casey Affleck ducked the controversy surrounding him thanks to a brilliant PR team; that is highly unlikely to happen in 2017.