In the wake of scandal, the movie industry reckons with its past and its future.
I'm calling it the Purge,” a friend who works in Hollywood told me, a few days into the post-Weinstein era. Off the top of his head, he listed half a dozen men in the entertainment business whose behavior, he hoped, would no longer be condoned. In the weeks to come, they started toppling, joined by others, in a seemingly never-ending cascade, the world’s longest domino trick. The morning-news anchor, the worldly talk-show host, the animation genius with the awful shirts, “feminist” men, liberals, tortured artists, moguls, icons, “bad boys,” funny guys, even the folksy curmudgeon from public radio: they are being fired; stepping down; awkwardly apologizing, engendering ridicule and pique; or defending themselves and inviting rage. Then, like a backward rapture, they disappear, with the tacit or expressed acknowledgment that this is not their time.
Amy Ziering, a documentarian who has made films about sexual assault in the military and on college campuses and is now at work on one about Hollywood—suddenly, funding has materialized—told me, “I’m stunned. I keep reading the headlines, thinking, Am I reading the Onion or the New York Times? ‘Man Accused of Assault and Fired!’ It’s surreal.”