Accusations against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein have opened a Pandora's Box of nasty revelations about the indignities untold numbers of women in the entertainment industry have been forced to tolerate -- until now -- in order to pursue their dreams. Nikkan Gendai (Oct 18) notes that Weinstein's expulsion from the Motion Picture Academy is "without precedent" and also reports that the incident is by no means a "fire on the opposite bank" (i.e., someone else's problem). Some of the repercussions have already crossed the Pacific to Japan.
As producer Shigeaki Nojima told the tabloid: "Sexual harassment is a 'black box' that occupies the dark side of Japan's entertainment industry. If actresses here take a cue from what's been happening in Hollywood, then I'm certain all hell will break loose."
"For example," Nojima continues, "a veteran cameraman, one of the giants in the trade, is in the habit of kissing women on the lips when he takes studio shots, and likes to grope their breasts through their bathing suit tops. The story is well known in the business, and the ordeal with him is almost viewed as a coming-of-age ceremony for the young models, something that's naturally to be expected.
"When a newly employed manager representing the models tried to make him stop, the manager was discouraged from further action by the producer and magazine editor who were at the studio."
"Another famous story involves the president of a DVD distribution company, who invited two actresses for a party aboard his cruiser, and tried to get them to join in an oceangoing ménage a trois. Then there's the story of another producer-cum-stylist working for a software production company who would escort models to an apartment the company rented for 'costume storage.' He's suspected of several cases of rape, but because he's a big shot, it's the same situation you're seeing in the U.S. -- those guys think they can get away with almost anything."
Another well known film producer loves to paw the breasts of hostesses at a Ginza club he patronizes.
"When the girls defend themselves, saying 'We're not that kind of place,' he'll get upset and move to another table," relates an employee of the club. "He's an important customer, so we don't dare complain to him."
Nikkan Gendai also notes that gyaku sekuhara -- reverse gender sexual harassment -- is not entirely unknown in showbiz. "A young director on the set of a drama found himself under a full-scale attack by a love-struck veteran actress," relates the aforementioned Nojima. "I suppose she felt he was a weak 'herbivorous' type who could easily be dominated by 'carnivorous' females. The director later confided to me, saying 'The mere sight of those layers of heavy makeup covering the old biddy's face made me wince.'"
"I suppose if the dam breaks and stories about sexual harassment come pouring out, that director might be one of those who will testify," Nojima suggested.
Might we soon be looking at a similar situation in Japan, Nikkan Gendai asks, where the most flagrant violators are not only publicly shamed, but permanently banished from the entertainment world?© Japan Today