The silence that was broken: These voices will be loud forever

Sabin Laskoski, Asst. Op Ed Editor

      What began last year with one powerful woman breaking the silence on sexual assault in Hollywood has turned into a continued onslaught of powerful messages from multiple women who have experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of men in Hollywood-who clearly let the power of status corrupt them. Harvey Weinstein, according to many people, is old news. His scandal and destruction that he brought upon numerous women’s lives has been brought to light, and other accusations have taken its place; though this should certainly not be the case. What Harvey Weinstein did, and what the women who he assaulted did as a result, should never be forgotten, not just for other celebrities, but for any man in a powerful position.

      As a male, I have been ashamed recently of my sex and of the horrific crimes that my gender has committed against women. Numerous men in Hollywood created wounds that will never heal, and as men we cannot leave the responsibility of reforming Hollywood solely upon their shoulders.
In old events that have recently come to light, many men in Hollywood such as Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, Paul Haggis, Ben Vereen and James Franco (who hypocritically spoke on behalf of women while at the Grammys) have faced rightful consequences to their horrid actions, though some of those men still have not. Some of these men, such as Paul Haggis, have had multiple allegations surface about sexual misconduct, meaning that men have gotten away with sexual misconduct for years. One instance of sexual misconduct is one too many, and the fact that some men within Hollywood have multiple allegations (which are almost always true) is both appalling and alarming.

      The real problem stems with the fact that we, as ordinary citizens, give these men a status that resembles that of a God. Yes, many actors are very talented if they work in Hollywood, but the fact that they can pretend to be someone who they aren’t should make one weary about believing their statements regarding how they are “terribly sorry to have made mistakes,” or in some cases, refusing to admit their heinous acts. We give these men in Hollywood the power to make other     individual’s careers, threaten film producers if the script isn’t how they “like” it, harass female coworkers and then pretend that what they were knowingly doing wasn’t inappropriate because of their celebrity status.

     Men such as James Franco and Harvey Weinstein have used their positions of power and wealth to silence the women that they victimized. The fact that these situations have continued to repeat themselves within Hollywood is terrifying. While Hollywood unleashed the landslide of accusations and justice against many prominent men in the film industry, sexual harassment has deep roots within any workplace when opposite sexes interact with each other.

      Matt Lauer has very recently been accused, investigated and fired from his spot on “Good Morning America,” after multiple allegations of his sexual misconduct came to light after the Harvey Weinstein scandal. While “Good Morning America” isn’t that much of a step down from Hollywood, the news company is still a workplace where ordinary people interact with prominent figures.

       With each day that passes, more sexual harassment continues to occur in workplaces by men who abuse their privilege to take advantage of other people. Whether the workplace is McDonald’s near a trailer park or a Sephora store in Beverly Hills, sexual harassment continues to remain a pandemic that can affect anyone—young and old, man or woman, white or black. We as ordinary citizens, and more specifically as men, need to realize what is happening within Hollywood and refuse to forget what our own gender is doing to the world. It’s not only up to women to stand up against men who use their positions to destroy lives, it is also up to us men to realize what the prominent figures of our gender are doing with utter malice within not only Hollywood, but in the common workplace.

Sabin is a freshmen English major. He is the assistant op/ed editor for The Voice