• #Metoo is for Me, Too

    November 28, 2017

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Other Ideas



    As a young man I was the victim of unwanted sexual attention from someone in Hollywood. In the intervening decades I never told anyone what happened. I know the name of the man who did this to me, but I am not sure what to do with that.


    I landed a summer internship with a major studio, out of a Midwestern college in the 1980s where people simply did not talk much about sexuality. One of the only men at the school who was open about being gay was considered something of a political celebrity on campus. I am a straight man, what today people dismiss sarcastically as boring CIS binary old white bread.

    I knew no one in California. The man who played me was in a position to help me in all sorts of ways, and he sometimes did. He was generous with advice and what seemed to be friendship. Things changed as I remember him showing me the thick binders of aspiring actors and actresses’ head shots, him lingering on the beefcake images and making jokes about how he knew a no-name young shirtless actor, who since went on to some modest roles. The man complimented me on the way I looked, and “accidentally” touched my arms, especially on the days I wore short sleeves. I was very naive and it wasn’t until the invitation to take a drive out into the desert that I finally realized what was happening.

    I distanced myself from him via a rotational program that sent me to another office. It never occurred to me to say anything. For anyone who questions the value of Human Resources in 2017, it was called just Personnel then and did little more than process tax forms. After I moved to the new department, the man called me a few times, showed up at my new office to “say hi” more than once, and invited me to lunch, parties, events, and a place he kept in Palm Springs long after he knew I would say no. He was older than me, and married to a woman at the time. He wrote me a nice letter of recommendation, which I shamelessly and selfishly used to get a future job.


    After I left California, he sent me occasional photos, often just in beachwear. A string of late night phone calls that woke me up, always with an apology that he’d mistaken the time difference – again – between California and the east finally made me realize who I was and what he was when he looked at me like a meal. I think my new-found hostility coupled with his growing boredom (perhaps there was a new intern?) convinced him to leave me alone.

    I never heard from him again after that last unwanted call. I have had no contact with him for decades, and I wonder if he would see this article if he’d even have any idea who I am.

    I don’t think of myself as a survivor, or anything like that. But some of my adult bitterness has roots in what happened. Nobody just walks away. I did learn a lot. I learned about fear and insecurity, and because I was ashamed of myself, I learned how to keep my mouth shut while for years people said to me in response to all sorts of terrible things in the news “Well, you don’t know what it feels like” when I did.

    I wrestled for some time with the idea that I had done something wrong – this took place in a world away when even in Hollywood people didn’t show all their cards to strangers, and some careful back and forth signaling was not uncommon if one party found another of the same sex attractive. Maybe I sent out the wrong signals, maybe I didn’t realize I had to say no unambiguously much earlier than I finally did. Maybe at some level I enjoyed the attention, drawing a line in my mind that didn’t exist in his between the non-sexual and sexual.

    The events of the past weeks brought all of this back from the dark place in memory where I had left it. I was able to make peace with myself long ago, but the complexity of emotions these days still surprised me.

    It took me a moment to pull his name forward, though his face came readily into my mind once I let that happen. Some Googling of a person I had not thought of for many years tells me he’s still in the movie business, doing well, though by no means an A Lister. You’ve heard of some of the projects he has worked on, and he is very active with charities. Turns out he played an important behind-the-scenes role in a TV series I really enjoyed watching with my kids when they were younger. He has some minor connections with the Democratic party. In the current climate, the story might make the news.

    If I say his name.


    I tried to think why it would make sense now to say who he is. If I said his name and Twitter caught it, I’d have a chance to tell everyone I did it for those who can’t stand up, to empower others, those things people seem to know just how to say now when the cameras come on. Maybe someone else would find comfort knowing they are not alone, but I really doubt the world needs my story to understand unwanted sexual attention is rampant. Maybe people would say I am brave and put me on a talk show. We don’t like to acknowledge it, but in 2017 there can be profit in being a victim, and sensationalism for its own sake is part of the world we live in.

    Who knows, maybe the guy would Tweet out an apology, say he was ashamed of his former self, explain he has since gotten help or something, though that would be for him and the people close to him. I certainly don’t need it for anything. Humiliation isn’t zero sum. His wouldn’t erase mine. There was never a chance of justice, not then and not now.

    I can only speak for myself in saying the only reason I could really come up with to “name and shame” this man now is revenge.

    Years ago he was in a position of power over me, and I convinced myself I had no choice but to put up with what was done. Times have changed, and in a way I’m now the one in power: he potentially has something to lose via my accusations while I have little to worry about in the current climate. I have the chance to use the power I have now to hurt him.

    So yeah, #MeToo. But if me, too, means doing to him what he did to me now that I finally can, then, no, not me, too.



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
  • Recent Comments

    • Josh Stern said...

      1

      Preying on the unsuspected is a method and a goal of the apex predators destroying humanity today, for some of the same reasons hunting animals use it in the wild. Organized criminal and disorganized predatory humans don’t eat their victims for food, but they consume them in other ways. Keeping quiet about it and not alerting the next victim is a big help to their efficiency, and it prevents potential targets from organizing a resistance.

      11/28/17 10:38 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      I worked at a place where an adult in authority was accused of a sexual impropriety with a minor. The organization spent considerable money and time making sure the “scandal” would stay out of the public eye via an out of court settlement even though the plaintive wanted a civil jury trial to punish the perpetrator and the organization who should have known what the person’s sexual propensity was. I was certain there had to be more victims yet the organization wanted the problem gone- not acerbated. I was the only person out of 20 at the organization who wanted the case to go to trial. All others feared that the scandal would mean the ruination of the organization.They never once thought about the almost certainty that there were other kids who had been molested over the years by the accused. It was only about their job security.

      11/28/17 11:46 AM | Comment Link

    • N. R. Murry said...

      3

      Read it.

      Had to deal with some obnoxious gay guys over the years when I was younger, but had a bunch of gay friends who were just the greatest people I ever knew. I used to joke that I’d run a tour bus to bike races, because we riders had big muscular asses. Little did I know that the joke would end up being on me.

      I once had my ass grabbed, hard, by a woman I know. It was humiliating, & wrong. But I learned later that she was having depression problems, and even though I still see her in a group occasionally, I have no desire to bring it up. It didn’t damage me, but I understand how it could be far worse for women, especially attractive ones. Most young guys are dogs, older ones should learn and know better.

      Guys like Charlie Rose, Al Franken and a few others just puzzle me. What’s their point? They’re like rich drunks who can afford a chauffeur or a cab, yet still drive drunk.

      11/28/17 5:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      Peter, I didnt know you were such a tease. In fool disclosure, I was accused once of sex harassment. In my case, the accuser was a superior who looked like Marlon Brando in a wig in ‘Apocalpse Now.” The case was dropped when I threatened to sue the butch.

      Gee, Garrison Keillor just got popped. And I thought Harvey was the ugly posterchild for pervy old men.

      11/29/17 1:17 PM | Comment Link

    • mitch said...

      5

      Peter.

      I praise you for the courage to say something….but…. Ask Rich Bauer…. He thinks your “HOT”. Ask him…. And Rich… :- p

      Unfortunately… It has all the appearances of another distraction… Something other than address the issues and problems that confront all of us.

      However….that said….. Can you… Or anyone else draw the line????…. In your case… He apparently was looking for some sign of reciprocation…. You didn’t…. He left…….. Is that abuse?.. Harassment????….

      In an age when so many are looking to be “offended” by so little… For either power or cash value…. ??????…

      Yes… Does harassment exist…. Yes…. Is it prolific… Perhaps….

      Is it convieient to appear when most damaging….?????…. DUH!!!!!

      As a general statement… People don’t just “bump into their future spouse”….

      Online?????
      Grocery store???
      Online????… Gimme a break…
      Facebook?????… Look at Rich….

      Something to think about…..

      M

      11/29/17 3:38 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      6

      Mitch,

      That restraining order is not time restricted.

      11/29/17 5:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      7

      Rich.

      But…. Did you file it in Russia?????…. Remember…. You said I was Russian….

      M

      11/29/17 8:21 PM | Comment Link

    Leave A Comment

    Mail (will not be published) (required)

IP Blocking Protection is enabled by IP Address Blocker from LionScripts.com.