In the aftermath of the sexual harassment exposés that rocked Hollywood in 2017, there has been plenty of speculation over just how open the "open secret" of predatory showbiz insiders actually was. (Apparently, it was pretty open.) There are multiple examples of how entertainment warned audiences about Hollywood's sexual assault problem. Most of it was done in a seemingly light and off-the-cuff manner but, in retrospect, no one could say we weren't warned.
While the call-outs may have been subtle, we are now able to see them for what they really were. These movies and TV shows that shredded serial abusers did so in wry and not-immediately-obvious ways. In environments like Hollywood, that are largely male-dominated, sometimes it is only our humor that can warn and, ultimately, save us. Never underestimate the power of humor, and don't disregard all the times celebrities warned about sexual harassers. It could be argued that, without blasts like the ones discussed below, the current scandals may have never been revealed – and Hollywood's oppressive and dangerous culture would have only continued.
Difficult People Called Out Kevin SpaceyPhoto: Hulu
The lacerating wit of Difficult People has taken aim at Kevin Spacey many times throughout its run. They allude to everything from Spacey's closeted sexuality to his alleged penchant for underage boys. In one episode, Billy tells Julie,
"Maybe I should just end up trying to find love, you know. I'm going to go the Kevin Spacey route: just stop trying to be a human being, and just focus on getting famous, and then after I have a Netflix show, focus all my frustrations on a boyfriend old enough to be my own son."
Courtney Love Sent Up Red Flags About Harvey WeinsteinVideo: YouTube
One of the first instances of a celeb calling out Weinstein is an old red-carpet interview with Courtney Love. In 2005, Love answered questions from reporters on her way into the Comedy Central roast of Pamela Anderson.
"Do you have any advice for a young girl moving to Hollywood?" the reporter asked innocently. Love, visibly awkward for a moment as she decided whether or not to give a truthful answer, said something that flew under the radar at the time, but has since sent up smoke signals. "If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party in the Four Seasons, don't go," she replied.
Gwyneth Paltrow Told Letterman About Harvey Weinstein's Creepiness Back in 1998Video: YouTube
The allegations against Weinstein, as we're learning now, are nothing new. They likely extend back decades. In 1998, Gwyneth Paltrow, who has since made more direct harassment claims against Weinstein, referred to his "coercive" behavior during an interview with David Letterman.
In a light exchange, Letterman jokingly asked, "Are you here of your own free will? Has someone coerced you into being here?" Paltrow replied, "Do you count Harvey Weinstein as a coercer?" Later, she said, "I do all my movies for Harvey Weinstein, that's Miramax, and I'm lucky to do them there, but he will coerce you to do a thing or two." Letterman pressed her, inquiring what she got in return for doing things for Weinstein. "Nothing," she said.
Great News Turned Tina Fey Into A Weinstein-Like Harasser
The sitcom Great News, another Tina Fey vehicle, turned Fey's character into a serial sexual harasser in one recent episode. Though the episode was written well before the Weinstein stories emerged, the episode, and Fey's character, have stunning similarities to some of the Weinstein allegations and to the man himself.
Through humor and satire, Great News was able to approach all sorts of issues related to sexual harassment, including how many people have to come forward for a claim to be believed. It was a bold move that perhaps made more of a commentary on the Weinstein situation than it originally intended.