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Denzel Washington warns Hollywood elites: ‘It’s important to follow through’
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Denzel Washington struck a contrast to the sanctimonious tone at this year’s Golden Globes, where celebrities who knew about Hollywood’s culture of harassment for years somehow found a way to congratulate themselves for coming clean about it.
“It’s important to follow through,” Washington told NBC’s Al Roker on the red carpet. Indeed, while it’s good to see that Hollywood is finally talking about its toxic culture, celebrities and filmmakers should wait to actually do something before celebrating.
Hollywood has the art of self-celebration down to a science. In Hollywood, you don’t just celebrate fame and largesse; you celebrate things you haven’t even achieved yet.
For Hollywood to eliminate a culture of harassment, more than virtue signaling and hashtag activism is needed.
Despite his sex scandals coming to light months ago, Harvey Weinstein cast a long shadow over this year’s award ceremony. An awkward question lingered: how does one celebrate an industry that enabled sexual misconduct for years?
Women and men wore black to signal “solidarity” for victims of sexual harassment and assault, transforming themselves into human hashtags. Male actors wore a pin that read “Time’s Up!” referring to an activist campaign dedicated to eliminating sexual harassment and assault in the industry. Washington and his wife of more than 30 years were no exception.
— BRON (@BronStudios) January 8, 2018
But actions speak louder than words. Speeches, pins, black tuxes, and sentiment won’t change the industry unless the powerful figures — the ones who call the shots — take action. Washington seemed to calmly say just this when he broke with the virtue signaling that characterized the evening.
“It’s important to follow through,” he told Roker. “It’s important to see what’s happening a year from now. So that takes all of our effort and it takes real movement and real change of — I don’t know laws, but rules of behavior.”
Men not doing enough?
Aside from Seth Meyer’s opening monologue, which tried to make light of the situation in post-Weinstein Hollywood (a tough job for any comedian), most of the male stars referred only obliquely to the scandal rocking the industry.
“Wearing a black tuxedo isn’t enough,” NARAL Pro-Choice America said. “We need men to SPEAK UP and stand beside us to fight to end sexual assault & rape culture.”
Hats off to Hollywood for coming clean. But only time will tell if the industry follows through.
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