Hollywood’s #MeToo male stigma and fear of moving forward

More than two years after the move, male victims grapple with the aftermath of the talk, from taunting to exhausting job offers: “I’ve never been so vulnerable in my life.”

Last fall Johnathon Schaech was running out of options. After earning a living as an actor for 30 years – 1996 What you do! It was his breakup: he was in danger of losing his SAG health insurance for lack of work, and he and his wife were trying to have a baby. Schaech, 50, had become an unintentional spokesperson for #MeToo male victims in 2018 after he said Italian director Franco Zeffirelli had sexually assaulted him on the set of the film. Sparrow in 1993. (Before Zeffirelli died in June 2019, his son, Pippo, denied the allegations in Persons magazine.) After that reveal, Schaech found her acting opportunities were running out, and she parted ways with her agency, APA, and her manager, Risa Shapiro.

“I have never been so vulnerable in my life,” says Schaech. “Like, whoa, wait a minute. What did I just do?” Schaech was unsure if his newly discovered vulnerability was hurting his confidence as an actor or if he was blacklisted for speaking. “People were taking one side of the #MeToo movement or the other, like a friend of his was called or a friend of his was affected,” he says. “They didn’t necessarily listen to my story. They heard its story. “Schaech began seeking help from friends and secured a meeting with showrunner Greg Berlanti, for whom he had worked on The CW show. Legends of tomorrow. They discussed parallels between the way gay people in Hollywood had historically been rejected after their departure and the way Schaech feared the industry might treat him now. Berlanti re-hired Schaech, allowing the actor to retain his health insurance.

It was a small act of kindness during what has been a turbulent time for Schaech and for many men like him who were inspired by the #MeToo movement driven primarily by women. For men in the entertainment industry, like women, sexual assault and harassment often come from powerful agents, executives, and directors. But male prosecutors have often faced a different set of stigmas and questions than their female peers: Couldn’t a “real man” defend himself against another man? What does your experience say about your sexuality? Are they being homophobic or are they making someone out by going public? “If this happens to you as a man, it is seen as a weakness,” says Schaech.

Among the first Hollywood men to counter that narrative was Brooklyn nine nine Star and former NFL player Terry Crews, who struck a deal with WME in 2018 after alleging that Adam Venit, then head of the agency’s film department, repeatedly grabbed his genitals at an industry industry party. 2016. In a series of tweets published days later the New York Times and The New Yorker First posting stories about Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior, the 6-foot-2-inch, 240-pound Crews detailed his alleged sexual assault. Venit apologized, was suspended and stripped of his WME title, and eventually retired. The teams would continue to endure the ridicule, even from 50 Cent, who posted on Instagram that if the man had been attacked, “they would have had to take me to jail.” The teams, who declined to comment for this piece, were also hailed for speaking out, including for being named one of HourPeople of the Year 2017 (as part of a group of “silence breakers”). And he has continued to work steadily, even serving as a host in America has talent and keeping his lieutenant role in Brooklyn nine nine, who is ready to shoot his eighth season.

The crew’s tweets sparked a painful feeling of recognition in another burly actor, former 6-foot-3-inch, 240-pound former college football player Michael Gaston, who has appeared in more than 20 movies and television dramas such as The sopranos and Prison Break. “Terry going out with his story was like lightning,” says Gaston, who says he was attacked by a powerful New York theater director in 1992. “When people think of me or think of Terry, they think,” There’s no way. that that has happened. If something like this can happen to a big guy, which you think would destroy anyone who touched him in half, what could happen to him? Regular work for Gastón has also continued, including a recurring role on Starz PowerBut the emotional ramifications “sparked a lot of things,” he says. “Screwed me over”.

Every man in the industry who has submitted a #MeToo story has inspired another behind him. Alex Winter, best known for playing Bill in Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure and has spent predominantly the past decade directing documentaries, he was touched by Anthony Rapp, who alleged in a 2017 BuzzFeed article that Kevin Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance towards him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 years old, Spacey was 26 and both they worked on Broadway; In response, Spacey tweeted that he did not recall the encounter but was “more than horrified to hear their story” and apologized for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior”. Since then, more than a dozen men accused Spacey of similar advances. “The way [Rapp] He said it was incredibly liberating for me, “says Winter, who revealed in a BBC interview in 2018 that he was sexually abused by an older man at age 13 while on Broadway.” I was like, ‘OK. Here is a guy who went through something similar to what I went through and speaks very intelligently but honestly. ” “

Winter has worked steadily since she revealed her story, including reprising her signature role in Bill and Ted face the music, starting August 13 from United Artists, and directing a new documentary, Showbiz Kids, about children performers. Just as Rapp’s revelation gave Winter the impetus to reveal his experiences, the actor-director in turn has heard from other men about his. “It was a small stone in a stream that is now full,” says Winter of his decision to speak in public. “That is the power of the phrase ‘Me too.’ It is not a great statement. It does not need to be. It is just a fact of our history.”

This story first appeared in the June 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here for subscribe.