Allegations of sex abuse are a serious matter, no matter where in society they occur. Recent Hollywood sex abuse allegations that are facing X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer are shocking the masses, yet this news story is going to fade to the background as most sex abuse scandals do. Here’s the thing: regardless of how shocking sex abuse allegations are when they occur, such allegations in Hollywood are truly nothing new.
Certainly, it seems a bit of a stunner to think that Singer, with his youthful good looks and array of action movies that he’s helmed behind him, would be facing such spurious accusations, which he has, of course, denied. However, it is important to realize that such accusations tend to fade to the background of any news day in fairly short order when it comes to Hollywood. First comes the accusations, then the hot denials, then nobody really remembers what went on to make it a news story in the first place.
Michael Jackson, a longtime musical mainstay of Hollywood, is perhaps best known for the allegations he faced throughout his career. Unlike Singer, who looks very young and fresh faced, Jackson was well-known for his predilection for hanging out with children, his Peter Pan persona and the sweetly innocent way in which he spoke. When the first series of sex abuse allegations hit Jackson, there was a brief period of shock, and then everything seemed to fade away. Sure, there had been some rumblings, but they more or less faded just in time for the next series of allegations to hit. When the second series of allegations hit, Jackson’s image had changed significantly; rumors were rife he’d gone through some surgeries on his nose, in addition to having vitiligo.
What was most interesting about the second round of accusations that Jackson faced was there seemed to be different camps; one that decided Jackson was guilty as sin and the other who decided that their musical hero was acting completely innocent. This series of sex abuse allegations that hit Jackson had a completely different effect than the first ones. This continued to be a story even until Jackson had died, which bucked the trend that sex abuse scandals lost their shock value.
Woody Allen continues to face them. Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo from Sesame Street was recently cleared of one of three charges. Each of these men faced sex abuse scandals and every time, people made a big deal about the scandals – as they should – but within a few days, the cases were all but forgotten. The scandals were no less terrible to endure, regardless of whether the person was innocent or guilty, but the bottom line is sex abuse scandals are pretty much forgotten within a few days to a few short weeks.
Sex abuse scandals are a terrible thing to break news with; the fact that many get quickly forgotten is simply tragic. While it is true that not all sex abuse claims are valid, there has to be some background for the alleged victim to actually come up with a claim like that. Whether it is a mental health issue driving the accusation on the part of the victim or worse, the sex abuse actually did occur, it is important to realize the victim needs help, regardless of whether or not the allegations are true.
By Christina St-Jean