With the recent expose of Harvey Weinstein, the spotlight has now been shone on the rampant sexual abuse that is evident in show business. Although some men have been victimized as well, it is mostly female actors who have been abused, threatened and/or raped.
And now more and more women are coming forth with their own accounts of sexual abuse by high-level executives.
Whether it be Shirley Temple or Marilyn Monroe, here are some accounts of sexual abuse long before Harvey Weinstein.
According to the book ‘The Zanucks of Hollywood: The Dark Legacy of a Movie Dynasty’ by Maslyn Harris, the producer, Darryl Zanuck, would shut down the Fox Century Studio at 4 pm every day to have a young woman escorted into his green-panelled office.
In the book, the author, Maslyn Harris, wrote: ‘anyone at the studio knew of the afternoon trysts. He was not serious about any of the women. To him, they were merely pleasurable breaks in the day — like polo, lunch and practical jokes.’
In 1937, Darryl Zanuck won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ first ever prestigious Thalberg award for producing.
According to Slate, it was in that same decade when the term ‘casting couch’ came into play in reference to the sexual abuse that would occur behind the scenes.
In 1975, Newsweek published a story titled ‘The Casting Couch’ where they quoted a plaque above the office of a Tinseltown producer which read: ‘don’t forget, darling, tomorrow you’re going to be a star.’
Marilyn Monroe wrote in her memoir: ‘phoniness and failure were all over them. Some were vicious and crooked. But they were as near to the movies as you could get.’
‘So you sat with them, listening to their lies and schemes. And you saw Hollywood with their eyes — an overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses.’
A British fan magazine called Picturegoer tried to illustrate the extent of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry in a four-part series called ‘The Perils of Show Business.’
One of those reporters wrote: ‘this is the most depressing story we have ever written. For weeks, we have made our investigations — over the lunch table, in studios, and from the depths of cozy armchairs. Gradually, we have built up a dossier of information, which, we believe, is an ugly scar on the glamorous face of show business.’
Marigold Russell, who had small roles in movies such as ‘The Bells of St. Trinians’ in 1954, said that new girls entering the industry were given a set of rules to avoid unwanted attacks.
‘One: When you have to talk business, stick to offices — and office hours. Two: Refer invitations and offers to your agent. Three: Don’t give your home phone number, give your agent’s.’
Dame Helen Mirren, who is an Oscar winner, said that back in 1964 when she was just 19 years old, she was forced to flaunt her body for then-director Michael Winner.
During a 2007 television interview, she said: ‘I was mortified and incredibly angry. I thought it was insulting and sexist, and I don’t think any actress should be treated like that — like a piece of meat — at all.’
More recently, eighties child stars, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim said that they were drugged and ‘passed around’ by high-level male executives when they were younger.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Corey Feldman said: ‘with me, there were some molestations, and it did come from several hands, so to speak, but with Corey, his was direct rape, whereas mine was not actual rape.’
‘And his also occurred when he was 11. My son is 11 now, and I can’t even begin to fathom the idea of something like that happening to him,’ Feldman said.
And accusations are still coming out to this day in regards to disgraced star Bill Cosby who has been allegedly drugging, abusing and raping dozens of women dating back to the 1960s.
Much of the same has happened to Harvey Weinstein as more than 30 women have come forth with their own horrifying stories.
So far his wife has left him, friends and political allies have ended their ties, his own production studio has fired him and the Oscars have voted to expel him. The French president has even asked to strip Harvey of his Legion of Honour award.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors has said in a statement ‘we do so . . . to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over.’