Thursday, November 02, 2017

Hollywood actors speak of 'rampant' problem of male abusers targeting men

This is a prime example of how politically correct speech restrictions are poison.  Had people felt free to speak, all these abuses could have been nipped in the bud

Hollywood has a “rampant” and “pervasive” problem of men sexually abusing boys and young men, according to actors and lawyers who are speaking up about misconduct and harassment in the wake of an allegation against actor Kevin Spacey.

“It’s a very taboo subject,” said Alex Winter, an actor and director who said he was sexually abused as a pre-teen child actor. “I don’t know of any boys in any pocket of the entertainment industry that do not encounter some form of predatory behavior. … It’s really not a safe environment.”

Spacey has been accused of making an unwanted sexual advance toward Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, who says he was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident in 1986. According to Rapp, Spacey, who was 26 at the time, lay on top of him and tried to “seduce” him.

Spacey, star of Netflix show House of Cards and former artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre, apologized after BuzzFeed published Rapp’s allegations, saying he did not remember the “encounter”. If he did what Rapp described, it “would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior”, he added.

Spacey also formally came out as gay in the same statement on Sunday night – a move that outraged LGBT activists and actors, who said it was a cruel deflection that caused harm by linking his sexuality to an allegation of child abuse, fueling the homophobic myth that gay men are predators.

To some, the Spacey controversy has been a painful reminder that young gay actors can be particularly vulnerable to mistreatment – and that influential men wield their power to abuse both men and women.

“It’s a pervasive problem in Hollywood,” said Los Angeles attorney Toni Jaramilla, who has represented men in the entertainment industry in sexual harassment cases. She said that men can be coerced into sex or assaulted in professional contexts and are often afraid to speak out: “The common challenge is the fear of not being believed and the fear of having the situation turned around against them, to suggest that they are instigating it, or they are finding opportunities to sleep their way into a role.”

Rapp, an openly gay actor known for his role in the original cast of the musical Rent, said he was compelled to speak out following the avalanche of harassment and rape allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, whose behavior has been called an “open secret”. The scandal inspired victims of sexual violence and harassment to share stories with the hashtag #MeToo, and some have accused well-known men of being predators in a wide range of industries, including a prominent political journalist, a magazine editor and an art publication executive.

Weinstein has apologized for his past behavior, but said he denies many of the harassment claims and “unequivocally denied” allegations of non-consensual sex.

Gloria Allred, the feminist attorney who has taken on Donald Trump and Bill Cosby, said in an interview on Monday night that she had fielded numerous calls from potential clients following the Spacey allegations. Sexual harassment of gay men in the industry is “rampant”, she said, adding, “It’s as serious a problem as it is with women.”

Rapp’s story has sparked debate about whether sexual harassment and even childhood abuse of men are also open secrets in Hollywood.

Wilson Cruz, a gay actor who plays Rapp’s love interest in Star Trek, recently spoke about sexual harassment at a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) awards event, saying “older gentlemen” made offers when he was young, adding, “I did not take them up on it, but it was uncomfortable. I was in my 20s, and I thought: ‘Is this what one does?’ And also: ‘Am I going to ruin my career by not doing it?’ … I think it’s been quietly accepted as the norm in a lot of ways.”

Gay actor Charlie Carver, known for The Leftovers and Teen Wolf, alluded to his own experiences at the same event, saying, “I’m not a stranger to it. This will hopefully open up a discussion about men and power dynamics in general – maybe it has to do with exerting masculinity.”

Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s executive director, said she was grateful to hear them speak out: “In our culture … there is an extra cone of shame and silence around boys and men who experience sexual harassment that can prevent them from getting help.”

Tyler Grasham, a Hollywood agent, has also faced formal accusations that he assaulted and harassed young male actors in recent days. (Grasham has not addressed the claims in any public statement yet and could not be reached for comment.)

Allred said it can be especially difficult for gay actors in Hollywood to come forward with harassment claims if they are not open about their sexuality.

“Many of the victims are still in the closet. That makes them extra vulnerable,” she said, adding, “It’s fear that keeps them silent … They feel they just won’t be believed against the denial of a rich powerful famous celebrity.”

Male models have also shared stories of harassment or abuse by photographers, stylists, art directors and agents, said Sara Ziff, founder of the Model Alliance, a nonprofit group. She cited stories from men about a range of inappropriate sexual conduct on set, such as unexpected demands for them to get naked or photographers following models into the bathroom and then assaulting them.

“Sometimes, they say that when they’ve complained to their agencies about abusive working conditions, their agents have actually encouraged them to give into their harassers’ demands.”

Winter, known for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and The Lost Boys, said abused boys can suffer long-term trauma and that it can feel like an uphill battle to go public many years later.

“There’s nothing more terrifying to someone who is holding on to that history and that PTSD than to finally come forward and make those claims only to not be accepted,” he said, declining to identify his alleged abuser. “My perpetrator was never caught … I had to live with that.”


Keeping Your Head When Others Are Losing Theirs

You probably hadn't heard because it didn't get a lot of attention, but David Daoud Wright was convicted in a Boston federal court last Thursday of conspiring to cut Pamela Geller's head off.

ISIS ordered her killed and Wright was attempting to implement that "fatwa," or order. As quoted in the Boston Herald: "Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb called Wright's conviction a ‘victory in the fight against ISIS and all terror organizations targeting the United States. Wright is a terrorist, an ISIS supporter and recruiter who intended to wage war against the U.S. by beheading people and killing Americans,' Weinreb said. ‘Together Wright and his uncle planned to murder Americans, and those plans were as real as the long knives Wright's uncle bought to carry them out.'"

Ten years ago Pam Geller interviewed me in Washington, DC after an exchange I had with Newt Gingrich at National Review's "Conservative Summit." I had no idea then who she was, but it was clear that she was an intense person on a mission. Gingrich had just finished a speech in which he predicted that sometime in next ten years radical Muslims would destroy an American city with an atomic device. Happily, that has not yet come to pass.

During the question and answer period following his speech, I went up to the microphone and identified myself as a middle school history teacher. I told Gingrich that my job of explaining to my students why radical Muslims were trying to kill us was getting difficult because the Bush Administration kept denying any connection between Islamic terrorism and fundamental Koranic teachings. My students were hearing one thing from me and another from the president. That put me in an awkward position as a teacher in the public schools. Gingrich basically told me to keep doing what I was doing.

As I returned to my seat I was swamped by media people asking me questions, and the most persistent was Pam Geller. I've met her several times since at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) and she's nearly always accompanied by her sidekick, Robert Spencer. He directs Jihad Watch and is the author of seventeen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.

Even before ISIS condemned her to death, she was surrounded by bodyguards. When once I slid into a booth with Geller and Spencer for a chat at a Washington hotel lounge, I was immediately aware of rugged-looking men in nearby booths scrutinizing me before Geller signaled that I was okay. She's an extremely courageous American and a Jew who won't be intimidated by Islamic threats - and she's willing to pay the price for speaking out. Like her friends the Somali immigrant Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders, she lives under guard 24-7-365 and will for the rest of her life for daring to publicly criticize radical Islam.

Fatwas are not empty threats. They were issued against a Danish newspaper and a French magazine for publishing pictures of Muhammed and jihadis twice tried to kill the Danish cartoonist. In January, 2015 jihadis murdered fifteen Charlie Hebdo magazine staff people in Paris. American media outlets (except for my web site a few others) self-censored and declined to publish the Muhammed cartoons.They claimed it was out of respect for the religion of Islam, but this writer sees that as a smokescreen for cowardice, because they had no problems publishing images degrading Christianity.

So what did Pamela Geller do after the Charlie Hebdo massacre? She conducted a "Draw Muhammad" contest in which the winner received a check for $12,500. Two jihadis from Arizona showed up with assault rifles at the Garland, Texas facility where the contest was held and opened fire, wounding a security guard. Another guard took them both out with only a pistol. Liberal media outlets like the New York Times who were too cowardly to publish the Muhammed pictures from Europe blamed Geller, accusing her of "hate speech."

Geller later learned that the FBI had an undercover agent at the scene of the "Draw Muhammad Contest" who had been surveilling one of the jihadis. According to "FBI Director James Comey said in a press conference following the shooting that the FBI [agent at the scene] did not have reason to believe Simpson was planning to attack the event, even though the bureau had spent years trying to build a case against him."Yeah, right. There was a time when I would have had no doubt about the credibility of a statement like that from the Director of the FBI, but those days are long gone.


The danger behind Google's free speech monopoly

As their infractions begin to pile up, there is increasing interest in the unchecked power of Silicon Valley companies. Congressman Frank Pallone, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently called out Google, Facebook, and Twitter for policies that, in his words, “are not neutral.” So as Republicans and Democrats alike grow more skeptical of these companies, the question remains – how do the likes of Google keep such a tight lid on their free speech monopoly? This quest to maintain power is no more evident than in the recent firing of Barry Lynn.

In late August, the New York Times reported that New America, a think-tank dedicated to open markets in the United States, had fired Barry Lynn, one of their scholars in residence. The firing, justified with a generic statement on Lynn’s incompatibility with the organization’s “openness and institutional collegiality,” followed Lynn’s increasing concern over the monopoly power of Silicon Valley companies.

It’s no coincidence that Lynn – a respected scholar with a long history at New America – was fired after praising the EU’s decision in June to levy a $2.7 billion fine against Google for antitrust violations. Eric Schmidt, Google’s parent company Alphabet’s Chairman, also served as the Chairman of New America until 2016, and the think-tank’s conference room is called the Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab. Google, along with Schmidt’s family foundation, are some of New America’s largest financial backers, contributing more than $21 million to the organization over the years.

The irony, and hypocrisy, of Lynn’s sacking, cannot be overstated. Google is primarily a search engine. It exists to make it easier for users to find whatever information they would like. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Google is a monopoly, and the debacle with New America only serves to hammer home the hypocrisy that the company whose motto used to be “don’t be evil” regularly exhibits. The search giant’s influence extends far beyond the dollars it spends in Washington and is particularly apparent on its own platform. That is, of course, for those whose opinions differ from Google’s own unquestionably leftist viewpoint.

Google regularly censors content across its suite of products, and like Barry Lynn’s ill-fated praise of the EU’s actions against the firm, the targets of these actions are typically ideologically at odds with Google. In August, Diamond and Silk, a popular duo of African-American women known for their vocal support of President Trump, found that the majority of their YouTube videos had been stripped of the right to advertise. Similarly, well-known Canadian professor Jordan Peterson was banned from YouTube temporarily in August with little explanation.

These recent instances of censorship have one very important characteristic in common – they are conservative voices, advocating views that don’t mesh with Google’s well-known liberal bent.

Despite its de facto utility status, Google continues to operate almost completely ungoverned, exercising its massive influence on our politics, entertainment, and culture in any way it sees fit. And more often than not, the firm has used this influence to permeate political conversations, silencing opinions it deems unfit for the greater public.

Free speech is the bedrock of American society – it was a founding principle of our nation, and it continues to make us great. But the rise of Silicon Valley monopolies, and Google, in particular, has set a dangerous precedent; a company that launders its influence not only through Washington think tanks and academia, but also increasingly injects its considerable biases into the very fabric of the internet itself. Whether the target is an individual promulgating his or her views on YouTube or an entire division of an influential think tank, Google’s reach seems boundless.

The rise of Google and the increasing importance of preserving free speech are on parallel tracks. As we move along these tracks, we must be ever vigilant of the threat to free speech that companies like Google pose to a truly free and open internet. It’s time to hold Google accountable for its actions and treat Google like the monopoly that it is. Anything less than a full examination of Google’s monopoly power risks turning the internet from a platform for the free and open exchange of ideas, into Mountain View’s corporate plaything


Legislating liberal judge overrides Trump order
Liberals didn’t mind when Barack Obama forced his radical social policies on our military, but they certainly don’t want President Trump rescinding them. So where do they turn? Unelected judges. That’s what happened yesterday, thanks to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly who made the sweeping decision to keep the White House’s military transgender order from taking effect. Without the benefit of the administration’s data, military advisors, or intelligence reports, Kollar-Kotelly put herself in the position of setting a national security policy with very real consequences for our country.

As a result of her temporary injunction, the entire military will “revert to the status quo,” a dangerous environment where people like Chelsea (Bradley) Manning can serve openly, women can be forced to shower with biological men, and “pregnant males” can apply for maternity leave. Of course, the judge’s activism was celebrated by liberals, who don’t see the obvious problems of injecting Barack Obama’s social engineering back into a military that the world was finally starting to take seriously again.

For the Trump administration, which was already drafting regulations to turn the president’s July tweets into military policy, Kollar-Kotelly’s 76 pages of politically correct talking points are a frustrating bump in the road to restoring readiness. Her agenda is obvious from the opening line to the last, where she has the audacity to claim that “a bare invocation of ‘national defense’ simply cannot defeat every motion for preliminary injunction that touches on the military. On the record before the Court, there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all.”

There was certainly enough support among the Defense Department, top brass, and service members themselves — who know better than anyone what the effects would be and have been. But unfortunately, this is where judicial activism is leading us. The courts have moved beyond legislating on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage to openly usurping the constitutional authority of the executive branch. The president’s primary task is protecting Americans. Yet now we’ve seen the courts do everything from relax the president’s immigration policy to telling the commander in chief how to run the military. And without the barest form of accountability to the same people who elected Donald Trump.

If Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wants to lead the military, she should face the people and run for president. Until then, her court should leave the policymaking to the man best informed and empowered for the job.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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