The Effect of ‘Me Too’ on the Oscars

By Tyler Sinness, Staff Writer

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Undoubtedly, the ‘Me Too’ movement has caused a large amount of upheaval in multiple industries after the dramatic ousting of famous Hollywood magnate Harvey Weinstein in late 2017. After Harvey Weinstein, a man who was a fixture in the film industry and seemingly untouchable despite the widespread rumors of sexual assault surrounding him, fell him his high seat in Hollywood, the force of the initial windfall tipping the first domino. First, it was former Olympic doctor Lawrence G. Nassar, then actor Kevin Spacey, then television host Matt Lauer, then actor James Franco. For years, many suffered sexual abuse from those with more power than them, those with an infrastructure of silence used to extinguish the voices of those they abused. Once the first and largest domino fell, others followed.

The full effect of ‘Me Too’ on Hollywood was put on display at last year’s Oscars. Many notable figures were absent from the crowd, including Harvey Weinstein, but many celebrities were sure to wear black in solidarity with those who have taken a stand against their abusers. A sea of black gowns and tuxedos does little to change a system of abuse, however, and the gesture was decried by the public as just another theatrical stunt made by those whose job is to create theatrical stunts. For the most part, Hollywood’s attempt to stand up to abusers did little to end systematic sexual harassment in the workplace.

The ‘Me Too’ movement as a whole created more public avenues for victims to speak out, which led to the widespread accusation of superstars. Notable faces are now missing from the Oscar runway, with no plans for their return to the limelight. The all-at-once nature of these accusations led to speculation and controversy by the public, many not ready to face the reality that their favorite actors secretly took advantage of a system to fulfill their sexual interests. Much of the time, victims of sexual abuse are silenced by fears of losing their livelihoods for speaking out. For example, the actresses abused by Harvey Weinstein feared that they would never work again in Hollywood by challenging such a large figure, which prevented many from ever speaking out about their abuse. No matter what position one might find themselves defending, be it the accused or the accusers, it is undeniable that sexual abuse happens, undeniable that the system protects those in power, and undeniable that something needs to change.

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