By virtue of the sorts of movies we cover and also because of the rowdy tone we often take in covering them, Daily Grindhouse is an R-rated website, occasionally even borderline-X-rated. When reality intrudes on our movie-living and our movie-loving, however, it becomes time to reconsider and redefine where the boundaries need to be.
On Sunday night, just before facing Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Debate, Donald Trump gathered together and paraded around before the world three women who have accused Bill Clinton, the former President and still Hillary’s husband, of varying acts of misconduct. Objectively speaking, that’s really low: politically seedy, cataclysmically unprofessional, and morally abhorrent. In my personal opinion, Trump and his toadies (including such ethics-deficient all-stars as Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Roger Ailes, Steve Bannon, David Bossie, and Jared Kushner) colluded to act abusively. Yes, abusively. Attacking a woman on a professional basis because of what her husband is alleged to have done, outside of the professional realm: That’s a very vicious, systematic sort of abuse. It would be in poor taste (at best) to go after Bill Clinton this way; to go after Hillary Clinton this way is indefensible.
This is aside from the Access Hollywood tape of Trump with Billy Bush that surfaced on Friday, about which make no mistake: Those are the voices of abusers and abuse enablers. But this ‘tape’ story still eclipses the Sunday night “press conference” — a cruel and pathetic spectacle no matter ones’ political affiliation — for which there have been no repercussions for the Trumplings, barring whatever happens at the polls on November 8th. Since there’s been no shortage of controversy before and since, few people seem to be still talking about this particular controversy, just days later. None of that has to do with movies or film culture, but it speaks to upsetting and destructive faultlines in American culture at large.
At about the same time Sunday night, this story was breaking in the online film community, as so many stories break these days, via social media. Since then, it appears that another, somewhat similar situation has been developing. And it sounds likely there will be more to come.
In cases of harassment and abuse, no one is affected more adversely than the target of that harassment/ abuse. Support must be given immediately to these people, in whichever forms they wish to accept it. Anyone who can’t be supportive to a potential target of abuse had better keep their opinions to themselves. Be gentle or be quiet, those are the only available options to any decent person.
Acts of harassment and abuse, sexual and emotional, are being openly discussed and challenged publicly at this moment in time, and that’s a constructive thing, if obviously uncomfortable. As the editor of a movie website that is still strictly small-time but steadily growing in its online presence, I have been feeling a sense of duty to make a comment on the record. As a human being, just like most everyone else, I carry my own trauma daily, as a result of the damage people do to each other. One does not have to be a perpetrator of these kinds of acts, or even a direct target of them, to be profoundly affected by them. Speaking personally, both the press conference and the social-media revelations Sunday night brought up some echoes of my own scarcely-buried damage. This subject is deeply troubling to me personally. If one looks at the sort of movies I respond to most passionately, one could conceivably extrapolate some psychological leitmotifs.
But this isn’t about me and my feelings or experiences. This is about all of us, collectively. It really is.
Those who have been harassed and/or abused need to feel safe enough to come forward and to be aided and supported in their healing process.
Those who harrass and abuse need to be confronted and made accountable, in whatever form that takes.
Those of us who have witnessed harassment and abuse, who have heard about it second-hand, and who are at a loss as exactly how to deal with what we’ve witnessed or heard about, need to be properly informed.
Those who have yet to experience or witness such trauma must be educated on how to stay protected and how TO protect, and on what to do in case the worst happens.
Daily Grindhouse exists solely as a place to have fun and talk about movies. I don’t like soapboxing and I can’t imagine it’s my most interesting mode of expression. But even out here, in this wild, lawless stretch of jungle, there have to be some basic guidelines of decency and propriety.
While much of this editorial comes from my viewpoint alone, I will now speak for everyone here when I say that we collectively stand against harassment and abuse, we support anyone who’s been affected directly or even indirectly, and while we’re all for any sort of weirdness and craziness and deviance in films, we want all our readers and contributors to feel safe and comfortable in life. Please always speak up and correct us if you feel we’re getting it wrong.
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