Pop Culture #676

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Pop Culture #676

The latest and seemingly endless round of revelations about just how sleazy a place Hollywood really is, finally seem to have reached a stage where it seems certain that Things Will Change.

Hollywood has always been a place where awful men go to run amok, and anyone playing even a little bit of attention to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ scene there would be aware that numerous big name players were often referred to as the kind of people you’d gladly avoid – except for the fact that they could make or break careers in a business that millions of people wanted to get into. So those guys are done, their way of behaving is done, and we’re all going to be better off for it.

The question now is, where will the line end up being drawn? The guys we’re all hearing about now were at the top of a very big pyramid, and a large part of the reason why they’re being exposed now is that they can no long bully their way out of close examination. But it’s a two-way street: when the abusers held all the power they could get away with almost anything, and as their power ebbs away it gathers around those looking to tear down the system.

It’s only recently that they’ve been able to take down anyone; they’re rapidly getting to the stage where they’ll be able to take down anyone they like. Which is why you’re seeing a lot of very nervous denials coming from pretty much everyone who’s male who was in any way close to serial criminal offender Harvey Weinstein, which includes a lot of still-current Hollywood royalty.

Ben Affleck is currently laying very low, which might be a problem considering he’s the lead in Justice League out next month; George Clooney and Matt Damon have been out there looking extremely awkward while promoting Suburbicon and Damon at least is starting to cop some serious flack. Being previously seen as a “good guy” means he has further to fall than someone like Quentin Tarantino, who was a lot closer to Weinstein – and meanwhile Kevin Smith, who was basically lifted out of obscurity by Weinstein (but who nobody cares about these days) has already announced he’ll be donating his profits to charity in an attempt to make amends.

Whether any of this makes any difference to their future careers waits to be seen: Matt Damon makes a comedy cameo in a current blockbuster and got big laughs for it when I saw it a week ago, so presumably he can still make money making himself look silly. It’s not like Woody Allen has stopped working despite a solid core of dislike out there, but being on the wrong side of an issue like this does tend to freeze an actor’s image. Chances are Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will, if nothing else, now be seen as old men, guys on the record as having attitudes that now firmly belong in the past. It’s hardly a career killer, but those leading man pop culture roles – like Batman – are most likely going to be passing them by from here on out.

Written by Anthony Morris