Hollywood ‘casting couch’ exposed

Serra Raquel, Entertainment Editor

For years, stories of sexual harassment, assault and rape have surfaced involving big names in the entertainment industry.
“A lot of up-and-coming actresses and actors want to make it big in Hollywood and it’s really hard for them because there are so many of them, so in order to get big a lot of these directors and producers take advantage of them,” senior Thuy Bo said.
With more and more allegations surfacing recently, the prevalence of sexual assault in the entertainment industry is put into question.
“I do not believe that sexual assault is rampant within the entertainment industry and just because a few people within did commit sexual assault does not mean that the industry as a whole has a problem,” senior Bryan Thy said.
So, how many cases are too many?  Is the entire industry plagued with obsession for power and sex?
“It is an industry dominated by a socialite bubble, where the only way to ascend and be successful is to [use sex] in exchange for favors,” senior Kate Lagera said.
Allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein were first brought to light in a “New York Times” article on October 5 titled “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.”  Weinstein produced films such as “Shakespeare in Love,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Gangs of New York.”
Since then, some 80+ women have come forward with accusations that range from Weinstein asking them for a sensual massage to rape.
It’s difficult for people to step back and acknowledge sexual assault for what it is when victim put up with it to boost their careers and increase opportunities.
Within weeks of the Weinstein allegations, actor Kevin Spacey was also accused of sexually harassing a then 14-year-old boy.  The day after allegations came out, Netflix announced plans to suspend production of the sixth season of “House of Cards,” which stars Spacey.
At a Boston news conference, former news anchor Heather Unruh accused Spacey of buying her 18-year-old son multiple alcoholic drinks and sexually assaulting him.he was not of legal drinking age.  Spacey then put his hand down the 18-year-olds pants and fondled him without consent.
“Nothing could have prepared my son for how that sexual assault would make him feel as a man,” Unruh said at the conference.  “It harmed him and it cannot be undone.”
Spacey was to receive the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award in November, but the Academy released this statement:  “The International Academy has announced today that in light of recent events it will not honour Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award.”
Around 10 people have since come forward with sexual assault allegations against Spacey.
Even with people coming forward, the accused often do not face consequences.  Since some people wait years before coming forward with accounts of sexual assault, the accused may not be proven guilty due to the statute of limitation laws.
In California victims have 10 years to report rape; those who are minors at the time of the crime – under the age of 18 – they have until they reach the age of 28 years old.  However, a case of aggravated rape has no limitations in California.
“I think it takes years [for victims to come forward] because most of the time women are embarrassed and if they come out it’s all over the news,” Bo said.  “A lot of women don’t feel comfortable sharing that information even with their friends, let alone the whole world.”
A reluctance to come forward also stems from fear of being shut down.
Corey Feldman was a famous child actor starring in movies including “The Goonies,” “Stand by Me” and “The Lost Boys.”  Feldman appeared on “The View” in 2013 to speak up about the dark secrets in Hollywood and his experiences with sexual assault in the entertainment industry.
“There are people that were the people that did this to both me and Corey [Haim] that are still working,” Feldman said on the show.  “They’re still out there, and that are some of the richest most powerful people in this business. And they do not want me saying what I am saying right now.”
“Are you saying they are pedophiles and that they are still in this business?” asked host Barbara Walters.
“Yes,” Feldman said. “They don’t want me here right now. They want me dead.”
“You’re damaging an entire industry,” Walters said.
Corey Feldman is currently fundraising for a film to expose Hollywood’s pedophilia ring.
Although accounts of sexual assault have been flooding recent media, it is not a new problem.  Accounts of illegal sexual acts have been swept under the rug for decades.
In 1977, film director Roman Polanski was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl.  Polanski spent 42 days in prison and was then released on bail.  Polanski pleaded guilty to “illegal sexual relations” with a minor and fled the country before sentencing.
While avoid-ing a prison sentence, Polanski continued to make films abroad; he was ultimately able to escape criminal justice and was eventually accepted by the public as a worthy filmmaker.
In 2002, Polanski won an Oscar for best director for the film “The Pianist.”  Al6ough he did not attend the event to accept the award, he received a standing ovation for his win.
“There should be repercussions, but in an industry like that, realistically, it’s all about the money and how much they can profit,” Lagera said.