Tag Archives: Harvey Weinstein

It’s Long Past Time to Boycott Hollywood

by Legendary Lew
I don’t care if Hollywood rots.
 
We’ve already seen sexual harassment and abuse allegations pour out into the media and we’re supposed to be shocked–SHOCKED, I SAY–that all of these transgressions have occurred.
 
Please wake up.
 
The term “casting couch” was coined over 100 years ago and guess what? It still means the same today as it did back then.
 
Weinstein, Price, Spacey, Affleck, Woody Allen, Gibson, Singer…do you think we are anywhere near the end of the list?
 
Not even close. Why? Because this problem is systemic. Just as The Catholic Church adopted a method of hiding sexual predators away from outside interference, Hollywood has the system of career damage and legal liabilities to protect against accusations.
 
What’s frankly more amazing are the excuses I’m reading and hearing.
 
So far in recent days, there have been the following pathetic retorts to sexual harassment and abuse charges:
 
* “You’re damaging an entire industry!” (Barbara Walters to Corey Feldman on his pedophile accusations)
 
* He’s 93 years old and his hand slips down (G.H.W. Bush)
 
* I was drunk/am recovering substance abuser (multiple times)
 
* I’m coming to terms with my gayness
 
* It was many years ago
 
* Some of/all the women are liars
 
* They were in this industry and should have known what they were getting into
 
* She dressed inappropriately
 
You get the idea. I’m not even going to continue listing any more, because there are as many excuses as there are abusers.
 
Does this mean that everyone in the film industry is an abuser or an enabler? No.
 
What it does mean is that there are no effective systems in place keeping horrible people from entering positions of stature. Once those persons make money for the Hollywood studio system, they get protected. As long as everyone is fat and happy, as during the golden days of the The Weinstein Company, almost everybody shuts their traps–even those fighting against other forms of discrimination.
 
This scenario will happen again and again unless we, as consumers of movie product (because, honestly, that’s how the studios see us) take action.
 
Do you view WalMart, McDonalds, Amazon, Nestle, BP or other corporations with moral apprehension? Do you boycott them?
 
Do you view what’s happening right now in Hollywood with the same level of disgust?
 
If so, then it’s long past time to boycott them.
 
But Lew, does this mean I should stop watching Oscar-winning or Emmy-winning works from the likes of Woody Allen, Mel Gibson, Casey Affleck, Weinstein Studios, Kevin Spacey?
 
Yes. FUCKING YES.
 
Stop protecting these people because they’ve created “great art.” Music producer Phil Spector created some of the most amazing music I’ve ever heard. Does that mean I want him, a convicted killer, to get out of prison and produce another record?
 
Hell no! His days are done. There are other great producers out there who aren’t criminals. Give them a chance.
 
Same with Hollywood. Who knows how many great talents were chased out of that town, because they saw or experienced first hand the exploitation that goes on.
 
If you want that to change, YOU have to be the change. Tear it down.
#BoycottHollywood

Spare Us Your “Shock” About Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood

Should not work in films again (Courtesy: CNN)

by Legendary Lew

So Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Kevin Smith are now weighing in with shock and dismay about the recent allegations that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed women for decades and paid off their silence.

Give me the break of my fucking life.

This is Hollywood we’re talking about. It’s an industry for which the term “casting couch” was invented.

It’s an industry which is set in the very same city as the center of the universe for porn.

It’s an industry which fuels and refeeds from the parallel industries of rumor, via National Enquirer, TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and other tabloid TV and print.

How in God’s name can you possibly say with a straight face that you heard nothing in twenty years while you are directly connected with Hollywood?

There’s already been aired allegations of this sort at least two years ago and even Ashley Judd admitted women were talking about this long before the explosive New York Times article came out.

Harvey Weinstein showed traits of being a massive jerk, but groomed his image with liberal causes. Couldn’t others put two and two together and figure out this guy is not for real about something?

Now, just as with Harry Knowles, Weinstein is hoping that his firing from the company he founded will only mean it’s a temporary thing. Hell, if Hollywood is ready to re-embrace such horrible human beings as Woody Allen and Mel Gibson why not him, right?

 

Ken Levine is Wrong: Zach Braff Should Be Forced to Use Kickstarter. Here’s Why…

Make him do it.

Make him do it.

Ken Levine wrote a blog post that went viral about how Zach Braff shouldn’t use Kickstarter, because he’s too well connected to use a fundraiser site meant for the starving artist. I understand the argument, but this notion that Kickstarter is cloaked in some golden glow of altruism is rather laughable.

Kickstarter is fundraising tool, not a shrine shut off to all but members only. Of course someone well off is going to eventually try his or her hand at it, if not Zach Braff, then someone else. Mr. Levine also has to remember that Kickstarter is not only used by struggling artists, but also by those who want investors for new products. Indeed, one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns is for an E-Paper Watch, which garnered over 10,000% of the original goal.  It’s ludicrous to believe that tech companies won’t take notice and, if they do, expect to be warded off by hordes of  “indie investors” or their supporters crying foul.

If Ken Levine is so incensed by a well-off Hollywood type asking for money, then the best advice is the one he’s already following: don’t give money.  There are Kickstarters that fail–I would introduce Ken to the wonderful and hilarious Shitstarter, which compiles truly awful Kickstarter campaigns. If starry-eyed people want to waste their hard-earned dollars on big name projects, because they naively hope, as Levine infers, that they’ll hobnob and dine with the Hollywood elites, let them. To quote Suzanne Finnemore, “Delusion detests focus and romance provides the veil.”

I am, in fact, completely in favor of more transparency with investment monies given to movies. I want Zach Braff, Harvey Weinstein or any other Kickstarter recipient to answer from groups of investors when he makes a shitty movie. Having Kickstarter investors actually feel the loss of a bad investment I think is a good thing. Hollywood films are so divorced from your own artistic hunger and are so perfectly and systematically distanced from you personally that your only recourse for bad cinema is badmouthing it to your friends, skewering it publicly on blogs or asking for your money back from the cinema (good luck with that).

You shouldn’t have to hound the theater for your $12 back. You and other fellow investors should be able to follow the producer in every public appearance and ask why he took your investments and turned them in dogshit. Turn his next PR appearance into a townhall meeting shitstorm demanding your investment back. You probably won’t get it, but the headlines will certainly bite the producer in the ass. Let those producers know that if they invest via Kickstarter, they’ll be playing a different game. Not one which checks are written in closed rooms without a second thought given to the outcome, but instead one where the producers will be quite intimidated by average Joes to whom they’ll have to answer.

Levine is right about helping out independent filmmakers whenever possible. It’s a great idea. But even here, he misses the point on how to best do this.

Just as you can do for your produce, for the best arts results–go local.

Here in Chicago, I know two filmmakers who made feature length films for very little money. They, instead, used the time, energy and geniuses of other talents to make great looking films like The Pink Hotel and Sci Fi Sol (disclosure: the latter film is a production of this site, The Underground Multiplex).  Chris Hefner, the director of The Pink Hotel and the upcoming The Poisoner, told me in an interview that he made both features for practically nothing. Instead of a lot of cash, he bartered goods and services and even gained the assistance of an alderman who knows the value of having great art created locally.

The biggest mistake we can keep telling future filmmakers is that the only way to make feature films is to chase money. Don’t get me wrong, Kickstarter and other online fundraisers are great. But convincing artists that this method, or pitching movies with the big boys via festivals are the only ways to get your movie made is being disingenuous.  With technology and resources available to make movies very cheaply (we made Sisters of No Mercy 3D, a feature-length film for less than $200), this endeavor is open to more people with more ideas and more stories to tell than ever before. The real trick is to get the audience deeply engaged and the best way to do that is to find your local artists and filmmakers, meet them and support them and your local indie theaters.

Lew Ojeda
(I’ll be presenting a wild show on Saturday night, May 11th in Chicago, “The Ben & Arthur Interactive Cinematic Experience, or Can a Cult Movie Sensation Be Created?” Click on this link for more details and to attend. Click on this link for the promo video.)