We have seen a tidal wave of accountability recently when it comes to the actions and words of high profile individuals. Roseanne Barr’s career was completely destroyed after she used the “N” word. Kathy Griffin was blacklisted by Hollywood after participating in a photo shoot where she held a replica of Donald Trumps bloody severed head. These are examples that show that today, one’s right to free expression does not make anyone exempt from severe repercussions for saying things that are widely regarded as offensive.
When it comes to high profile celebrities being held accountable for sexual misconduct, we have all witnessed an incredible reckoning of high profile producers and actors who in the past would have been allowed to continue their repulsive behavior, shielded by their fame and fortune. In Variety’s article that summarizes how the #MeToo movement has “rocked Hollywood” they summarize many of the cases we have heard about from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey. More recently the sentencing of Bill Cosby has sent a clear unequivocal message to the world that unwanted sexual advances are not acceptable and there will be consequences.
As the father of two young girls I have been encouraged by these recent events. My girls are growing up in an age where women have the courage to come forward and speak openly about what has happened to them because the public is no longer having it. The problem is that there appears to be a growing divide between the values of America, and the American political system.
Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 United States Presidential election also sent a message to the female population of this country. While it is indisputable that Trump is a pig (we have all heard the tapes proving it), about 25% of the US population were willing to let that slide, either because their desire for more money in the bank or their ignorant fears based in racism were more prevalent than their need to have someone in the oval office that exemplified the education, professionalism and social behavior that we all should aspire to. I was truly hoping that Donald Trump’s victory was an anomaly. I rationalized the results as a stroke of luck for Trump that not enough people felt compelled enough to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Senator Jeff Flake may have single handedly saved us from a confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. If he is ultimately confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, it would completely excuse him from holding down a woman on a bed and covering her mouth to mute her screams. How is it possible that Hollywood is applying a more strict moral code to those who can succeed in show business than the United States government, made of individuals that we elect?
Kathy Griffon is fired by CNN and blacklisted from Hollywood for appearing in a photo. Kevin Spacey’s stellar career is ended for his unwelcome advances. But Brett Kavanaugh will occupy one of the most prestigious posts in our nation, having a say in what rights we have, what laws we must all live by? CNN fired Kathy Griffon for fear of a decrease in ratings or public backlash. Giuliana Rancic was fired from E! News for saying that Zendaya’s dread locks looked like they smelled of weed! It is clear that the United States government needs to feel the wrath of the American public. Our elected representatives also need to fear for their ‘ratings’ if they do not represent what is right.
What we are witnessing right now is a blatant display of white privilege. Kavanaugh’s comments relied heavily on how accomplished he was, citing his excellent grades and being captain of sports teams as if that is either proof that he was not guilty of Doctor Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, or enough reason for why they shouldn’t matter. It is painfully obvious to most that Dr. Ford has absolutely no motivation to invent her story and that Kavanaugh’s answers and behavior reeked of guilt. Senator Lindsey Graham’s outburst at the treatment of Kavanaugh is a clear illustration of the Good Old Boy’s Network at its best, dismissing the actions of Kavanaugh as no big deal.
Perhaps the timing of this embarrassment is an opportunity. On Monday, September 24th, I voted in the midterm elections. I hope that the American media will use this opportunity to remind voters to use their vote. We need to unleash a powerful message to the elected officials that are allowing this to happen that we will not allow our leaders to live by a lenient moral code. Social media may be enough to pressure TV networks or Movie Studios to stand up for what’s right, but it’s not enough in Washington.