2017 Was Great For… Naming Names

January 21, 2018 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

2016 seemed to be the year for celebrity deaths, and 2017 was the year of “dead to me” celebrities. When you see a famous man’s name trending these days on social media, it’s more likely that he’s done something worse than just dying. Starting with Hollywood and trickling down into more local stories, creeps are getting outed. If the sexual harassment was that bad for famous actresses, I can’t even imagine how bad it is in other industries: Restaurants, the financial world, the military, etc. Some are TV stars I used to love; now I can’t watch their shows anymore.

Closer to home, I’ve heard stuff about comics that I used to consider to be nice guys. It’s been very disappointing. Ugh, not him too, but… now yeah I can kind of see it. Some people will no doubt call it a witch hunt (or warlock hunt, fine) — but you know what? These guys, they did it. You don’t get X amount of women coming forward with similar stories about one man if there’s no truth to it. There’s no upside to going public as a victim, being known only for that and not for anything else you’ve done. There’s no financial gain and most likely no legal victory. You’re about to make things uncomfortable and inconvenient for people, and no one is going to thank you for that.

Maybe it’s harder to be a man now, having to be careful with what you say or do around the opposite sex. Welcome to being a woman. We’ve had to be careful when being around the opposite sex for a really long-ass time.

I don’t usually get all macro on my blog, because big events in the world have already been talked about by people more political and articulate than I is. I can talk about my own life, though. I’m enjoying the #MeToo movement, mostly as a spectator with my popcorn, I’m like: “Yeah! Burn it all down! Bring out the next one!”

A few months ago I debated aloud on my blog if I should say something about a male comic I didn’t want to work with. Ultimately, I did speak up and told the agent. I started softly, just saying that I couldn’t do it that weekend, sorry. The agent answered that it was probably going to fall through anyway, but what was my reason? Was it the scheduling, or do I just not want to do any more gigs, period? I’d decided that if he asked, I would tell him, and so I did. How will the agents know if I don’t speak up? I told him pretty much everything I wrote in the blog post. It was a rush. Yeah, I said it! It’s out there! Bring on the storm!

Nothing happened. It’s kind of a relief that there was no blowback, which has happened to other female comics who’ve spoken up in the past. The lack of response isn’t too surprising either. The silence is a shrug of indifference. I’m pretty low down on the ladder at my comedy agency. As of right now I don’t have any gigs on the books, so I can’t have them taken away. The comic I complained about is a headliner, and no doubt he will continue to work. I may not get bookings in the future, but that’s no different than it was before.

I have another story to share, and I’ve been struggling with how to tell it because it makes me sound like a hypocrite, or a traitor. Like it undoes everything I said above. It’s icky because in this case, another woman’s harassment actually benefited me. When she left, I got her job.

I had heard rumours about why she left. Yes, officially she moved on to work on another show. But unofficially, a very high-up crew member was making her uncomfortable. I guess she had turned down his advances, and from then on it was bad between the two of them. This guy outranked her by a landslide. Everyone knew, but the mostly-male crew isn’t going to do anything about it. Especially if it doesn’t affect their own jobs.

I knew this going in, but I still wanted the work. I braced myself for this creep. Was I going to inherit her sexual harassment as well as her job? When I met the guy, he was harmless. Kind of an oddball, but never did or said anything inappropriate to me. The only thing I found offensive were the cheesy songs he would sing and get stuck in my head. He eventually left to go work on another show, so we only overlapped for a few weeks. I wondered if the original woman would come back, now that the coast was clear, but she was busy with her new job.

Recently I got a call from the actor’s union. There was now an official complaint filed against the guy. Right on, she named him! The rep wanted to know if I’d witnessed anything, and honestly I hadn’t. I believe the other woman though. There’s no reason for her to file a complaint and turf her own job. I do hope they get a statement from someone who was there for it. I don’t even know if it will make a difference. This man was a crew member, not an actor — different unions.

This is all happening after the show had wrapped, so everyone feels a little braver speaking up after the fact. Would I be so righteous about this if my job could still be affected? Would I be gladly step aside for the other woman to return, now that the big bad man has been dealt with? That’s the icky part.

Ugh, burn it all down.

Entry filed under: Life in General, Showbiz. Tags: .

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