After months of sexual misconduct allegations rocking Hollywood and bringing down some of entertainment’s most powerful men, last night was a great opportunity for men to stand in solidarity with the industry’s survivors of harassment and assault. Except not a single award-winning man did during his acceptance speech.
Host Seth Meyers opened up the night with a tongue-in-cheek joke, celebrating that “marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t.” It set the tone for men to pick up the conversation, especially since many male actors joined women in vowing to wear black and “Times’s Up” pins, supporting the initiative and legal fund to end sexual misconduct in all industries. But after Meyers, men simply didn’t use their time at the mic to talk about the issue—from Alexander Skarsgard, who won a best-supporting-actor award for portraying a domestic abuser, to woke favorite Aziz Ansari.
Many, many women did speak up against abuse, however. Most memorably, Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award pointed out that “time is up” for powerful men that silence women. And other women, such as Frances McDormand, celebrated the move to change the entertainment industry for the better.
“So many of you know I keep my politics private, but it was really great to be in this room tonight,” she spoke. “And to be a part of the tectonic shift in our industry’s power structure. Trust me, the women in this room tonight are not here for the food. We are here for the work.”
But while Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, and many other female powerhouses spoke out against the issue, men decided to keep their feminist activism relegated to a pin. Even pro-choice organization NARAL noticed.
Not a single man who accepted a #GoldenGlobes tonight spoke out about sexual assault, #MeToo, or #TimesUP.— NARAL (@NARAL) January 8, 2018
Wearing a black tuxedo isn't enough. We need men to SPEAK UP and stand beside us to fight to end sexual assault & rape culture.
Skarsgard came the closest at drawing attention to the night’s mood, thanking all the women who worked with him on Big Little Liars, but coming short of using his speech to address the complexities and horrors of domestic abuse. Ansari, who is often heralded for his feminism and intersectionality but who has remained silent since friend Louis C.K. was outed as a predator, continued to keep mum on the issue last night as well.
I wish that actors like Skarsgard who pLAY THE RAPISTS/ABUSERS felt like they, like their lady costars, also needed to comment on the themes of the work. #GoldenGlobes— very tired (@AlannaBennett) January 8, 2018
I’m particularly disappointed in Aziz Ansari, who used a Me Too-type situation as a major plot point in MoN but stayed totally quiet tonight on the issue. Did he even thank Lena Waithe?— Glennys Egan (@gleegz) January 8, 2018
Then there is the fact that some of last night’s winners seem to have troubling pasts of their own. Gary Oldman, who won for portraying Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, was accused of physical assault by his former wife, Donya Fiorentino, after he allegedly beat her with a telephone receiver in 2011. Ironically enough, Oldman hinted at the need to change the entertainment industry during his acceptance speech.
Then there is James Franco, who won for best actor in a comedy or musical. Last night, several women tweeted that Franco’s pin was hypocritical at best. Actress Sarah Tither-Kaplan claimed Franco exploited her by making her pose in full nudity for a film for $100 per day. Another woman, Violet Paley, tweeted that James Franco “pushed my head down in a car” toward his exposed penis and asked a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room. In 2014, Franco attempted to hook up with a 17-year-old girl in New York City.
Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes , remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!— Sarah Tither-Kaplan (@sarahtk) January 8, 2018
Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 8, 2018
In her acceptance speech, Oprah stressed that “time is up” for men that mistreat women at work. But the men at the Golden Globes—and the Hollywood Foreign Press who awarded men like Franco and Oldman—put a damper on that message by silently nodding in agreement instead of standing up and joining in the fight to kick predators out. Men can do better than having their stylists dress them in black. Much, much better.
It’s clear abusers are not only still running amok in Hollywood; they also have power and clout. As the Golden Globes stage showed, once again, it will be up to women to bring them down and strive for the equality they deserve.