Hollywood … by which I mean “the movie biz”, not specifically Southern California … is about money, power, celebrity influence. And sex. Lots and lots of sex.
Period, full stop.
To that end, the players who work in “the industry” have decisions to make about climbing to the Top … and what they do when they get there.
Women determined to “make it” face the choice of sleeping with their director, producer or powerful co-star or not.
Some refuse to play the game and end up with narrower opportunities. But many choose to get with the sexual program to advance their careers.
In the 1920s, studios kept rosters of attractive young women on the payroll as “contract players”, but their central purpose was to service the studio hierarchy: directors, execs, stars, etc. (Errol Flynn called it “stars’ perks”, and he took full advantage.)
Actresses did what they had to do on the way up. Bette Davis performed fellatio on Jack Warner. Ann Sheridan slept with Flynn. Clark Gable worked his way through a large swath of females on the M-G-M lot. Starlets at Fox participated in studio chief Darryl Zanuck’s “nooners” if they wanted to flourish professionally.
Nothing much has changed here in the “Me Too” era, except the men have to be a bit more subtle, nuanced and discreet. But entitled male power brokers have not ceased being entitled male power brokers.
And when power brokers semi-rape somebody, or assault somebody, or get a blow-job from somebody, they generally suffer minimal repercussions.
Harvey Weinstein got away with piggish behavior for decades. Bill Cosby’s stash of knock-out pills was well-known over a long stretch of time, but nobody blew the whistle. Bill was, after all, a big sitcom star, pulling in millions for NBC.
And the successful movie and Broadway producer Scott Rudin could scream and throw things, push staffers out of moving cars without consequence because most everybody — including “high profile” social justice liberals — clammed up.
Former President Donald Trump wasn’t wrong when he said he “could do what he wanted” because of his power and celebrity.
The cold reality is, the individuals at the top of the food chain call the shots. When Louis B. Mayer wanted his gay movie stars … William Haines, Ramon Novarro and Van Johnson are prime examples … to get married, they damn well did what they were told, or were tossed out the studio gates.
Van Johnson got married, the other two didn’t. Only Johnson survived as a star.
– Steve Hulett