Hollywood wracked by chaos in aftermath of sex scandals
Projects are shelved, film releases cancelled, sets shuttered, studios threatened, the Oscars rattled -- this is the chaos confronting Hollywood following sex scandals that have brought down power players like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Brett Ratner.
In the month since The New Yorker and The New York Times published allegations of serial predatory behavior by producer Weinstein -- some 100 women have now accused him of misconduct ranging from harassment to rape -- people who said they had been victimized have felt emboldened to voice allegations against men who had been seen as untouchable.
Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner, and Ratner, a blockbuster director, have also been accused of sexual transgressions, while other actors, managers and agents are in the hot seat as well.
Spacey, who faces spiraling accusations including that he attempted to rape a 15-year-old boy in New York was booted from the Netflix hit "House of Cards" earlier this month, and is being cut out of an upcoming film about oil magnate J. Paul Getty, it was reported Wednesday.
He is to be replaced by Christopher Plummer, who has already started filming re-shoots just over a month before the film is due to be released, sources close to the production told the Associated Press.
Netflix also scuttled the release of "Gore," a biopic about American writer Gore Vidal, a film co-produced by and starring Spacey.
Meanwhile, production of the last and final season of "House of Cards", which had been due to air in 2018, has been suspended.
- Toxic -
Every project linked to The Weinstein Company, co-founded by Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob, is now toxic, whereas a few months ago such a relationship was a mark of prestige.
Famed director Oliver Stone, who initially defended Weinstein, has withdrawn from the "Guantanamo" television series that they had been collaborating on.
The first Weinstein Company film to come out following the scandal, "Amityville: The Awakening," brought in a measly $742 in its one-day theatrical release, according to Box Office Mojo.
Weinstein's company, already weakened by a series of flops, is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Other powerful studios find themselves in turmoil, such the entertainment arm of internet giant Amazon, whose chairman Roy Price resigned last month after he was suspended following an accusation of sexual harassment.
Price's ouster contributed to the collapse of an untitled David O. Russell drama series, set to star Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, which had been a co-production with The Weinstein Company.
- 'Everyone is replaceable' -
At Warner Bros., the scandal surrounding filmmaker Ratner ("Rush Hour," "The Revenant," "Horrible Bosses,") has threatened a co-financing deal between the studio and Ratner's RatPac Entertainment worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The studio has also removed Ratner from the producer role of a much-anticipated adaption of Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Goldfinch."
"This is kind of a lesson for everyone in Hollywood. You know what? Everybody is replaceable," Gray said.
The Oscar race has also been shaken up. Sony Pictures was betting on Spacey as its awards season candidate for his role in Ridley Scott's "All the Money in the World," but has since scratched that plan.
With four months to go before the Academy Awards, "who knows what we're gonna find about other people in the race," Gray said.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Weinstein from its ranks, but has kept a low profile as the number of its members and honorees facing troubling accusations grows.
People in behind-the-scenes roles in entertainment haven't avoided scrutiny either. Agent Tyler Grasham of APA has been fired from his job, while manager David Guillod from Primary Wave Entertainment was forced to resign, both following sexual assault allegations. Meanwhile actor Danny Masterson is under fire after four women said he had raped them.
"This says there's something wrong with this industry" that wants to be moral and progressive, Gray said.
Hollywood has struggled with diversity and accusations of discrimination against racial minorities and women, "but this is taking it a step further. It's not we're ignoring people, it's we're abusing people."
Gray can't imagine Weinstein, Spacey or Ratner ever working again in entertainment.
"Hollywood loves a comeback story, loves to forgive... (but) this is not something you can forgive."
(Staff with AFP)
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