There was something missing from nearly every speech given by a male actor, writer, and other member of Hollywood who took the stage at the 75th Golden Globes to give a winners speech: any mention of the ongoing conversation about sexual assault and harassment.
While women were championing Time’s Up on the carpet and stage, men were fumbling. But according to a few winners, they simply didn’t speak up because they thought they were supposed to stay quiet and listen.
“I do feel it’s time for men to shut up and listen,” Martin McDonagh told the New York Times. Guillermo del Toro told the paper that he thought it was “important to acknowledge the woman power in my immediate circle of work/collaboration and how they made it possible to create the film” especially after Oprah’s speech.
Though some men didn’t bring up the #MeToo movement in their speeches, where they would arguably have the biggest platform, some winners, like Sam Rockwell and Gary Oldman, did bring it up backstage in the press room. Though their responses to the movement were almost laughably vague, with Rockwell explaining how ending “bullying” might be a way to stop...sexual violence? I guess?
According to the New York Times, men are apparently scared when it comes to addressing the topic of sexual assault in Hollywood, spooked by Matt Damon’s press cycle:
When every word men utter about Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement is pored over, parsed and often harshly criticized, silence is often the best option, but obviously not a fail-safe one, Hollywood insiders said, since that ended up drawing some criticism, too. Some felt it would be a lose-lose either way.
Considering the fact that any real changes in the industry demand the participation of men, who must check and teach their fellow men so the onus isn’t exclusively on women, silence en masse is not necessarily the best option. Women were clearly leading the Golden Globes with messages about harassment in Hollywood, from their dresses and speeches to their activist guests, and while those exercises may have been imperfect they were at least trying.
But as my coworker Ellie Shechet points out, even if many of these men spoke out in terms of sexual violence or wore a Time’s Up pin, their pasts suggest that their complicity is bigger than forgetting to mention the movement in a speech. So while men across Hollywood need to start using their platform to speak out about sexual harassment, addressing and atoning for their own actions needs to be the first step in that process.