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After Harvey Weinstein’s very public fall from grace amid allegations of sexual misconduct and rape, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a writer for The Week, asks if the public has turned a blind eye to abuses of not just women, but of children, too.
“There’s a reason ‘casting couch’ has become a grotesquely ubiquitous term. We have long quietly assumed that big-time movie producers exploit their power to sexually exploit women,” Gobry writes. He points out that the public was well aware of the possibility of the widespread practice of exploiting women for sexual favors in order to advance their careers.
Gobry takes it further, saying if the exploitation of women is now out in the open, it’s time to address other allegations against Hollywood – that they may also be “turning a blind eye to a very real child sex-abuse scandal.”
Gobry writes: The evidence is there, just as it was in the cases of Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein. In 2011, former child star Corey Feldman warned that pedophilia in Hollywood was “the big secret” and “the number one problem.”
Feldman alleged that he was abused and that his friend was raped on a movie set at the age of 11. But he didn’t just talk about instances of abuse. In a later interview, he described a system whereby young children were groomed by powerful older men who formed an organized network, with “publicists” providing cover. He would “love to name names,” but feared the legal risks, he said.
Feldman made similar allegations many times, and even voiced them during an interview on ABC’s “The View.” During the interview, host Barbara Walters chastised Feldman for “damaging an entire industry.”
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Gobry listed another former child star, Elijah Wood, who made allegations of “something major” occurring in Hollywood.
“It was all organized,” Wood said. “There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind. There is darkness in the underbelly.” He said Hollywood can “squash” the victims so that they “can’t speak as loudly as the people in power.”
Gobry points out that Wood “later issued [the] carefully-worded clarification that he had no ‘firsthand experience or observation,’ which still leaves room for being aware of an open secret.”
The stories fit a pattern of sex crimes and cover ups, including shame, the fear of being doubted, and coordination. An organized system for grooming and abusing children is described in a documentary, titled: “An Open Secret.” In the documentary, according to Gobry, only one member of an organized pedophile ring is held accountable.
Gobry writes: We know that Hollywood is perfectly willing to look the other way when it comes to credible allegations of child abuse. Woody Allen remains persona grata in Hollywood despite allegations of child abuse that would have turned most visible executives in most industries into pariahs. Many prominent members of the industry (including Harvey Weinstein) lobbied against Roman Polanski facing charges for the documented rape of a 13 year old.
As more Hollywood actors speak out and aspire to be moral authorities in the culture war, insiders “don’t want to give ammunition to the ‘the other side’” by acknowledging sexual abuse issues in the industry, according to the writer.
Still, he asks, “The smoke is there. How long will we ignore it?”
You may read Gobry’s full opinion piece HERE.
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