There will never be right words for either abusers, or those who enabled such behavior with silence, to comfort victims. I must say that those in Hollywood who have been affected by the Weinstein scandals are, as a whole, saying all the things I wished leaders of fundamentalist churches would have said after my former pastor, Bob Gray, was arrested for multiple counts of child molestation in 2006. I say this after living through the scandals of Jim Bakker, the PTL, the Assemblies of God, the child abuse scandals of the Roman Catholic church, and the abuses that continue to occur in fundamentalist children’s homes as depicted in my movie, THEY FOUGHT BACK.
Kevin Smith, director of Dogma (produced by Weinstein), probably had the most gut wrenching response.
ABC News reports:
“My entire career is tied up with the man,” Smith said in an expletive-filled emotional episode of his podcast “Hollywood Babble-On”. “It’s been a weird f—— week. I just wanted to make some f—— movies, that’s it. That’s why I came, that’s why I made ‘Clerks.’ And no f—— movie is worth all this. Like, my entire career, f— it, take it. It’s wrapped up in something really f—— horrible.”
When a member of the audience called out that it wasn’t his fault, Smith said, “I’m not looking for sympathy. I know it’s not my fault, but I didn’t f—— help. Because I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father and s— like that, and he changed my f—— life. And I showed other people, like, ‘You can dream, and you can make stuff, and this man will put it out.’ I was singing praises of somebody that I didn’t f—— know.”
Quentin Tarantino, whose career was practically made by Harvey Weinstein, says, in this article from USA Today:
“What I did was marginalize the incidents,” Tarantino said, “Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.”
He added: “I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. As if that’s OK. That’s the egg on my face right now.”
Contrast that with the remarks after Bob Gray, the subject of the book, The Devil in The Baptist Church: Bob Gray’s Unholy Trinity by Tim Gilmore, and the founder of my high school alma mater, Trinity Christian Academy, was arrested on child abuse charges. Don Boys and Voyle Glover were probably the only ones in that world who criticized the way Trinity handled that scandal.
Don Boys wrote about how the fundamentalist world (Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones, and, as Mad Magazine describes their board, ‘the usual gang of idiots’) addressed the matter of Bob Gray.
I have been criticized and attacked for my articles regarding my former friend, Dr. Bob Gray, and his arrest on multiple charges of child molestation. According to my informants, rumors regarding Gray have been circulating for many years. It’s been reported to me that several Baptist leaders took the position that the rumors were “all lies.” I have enormous respect for those men but how do they know “it was all lies.”? Were they convinced of Gray’s innocence because of the admiration they had for Gray (that most all of us had), were they lied to, or was it the “good ole boys’ club” mentality that kept them from looking into the rumors?
Voyle Glover’s book, Fundamental Seduction: The Jack Hyles Case, about both Jack and Dave Hyles, addresses this matter of fundamentalist pastors refusing to confront the issue of molesters in their midst. Even Jack Hyles, upon hearing about a bus captain who abused bus kids, reacts by saying, “He just likes little girls!”
When Bob Gray was arrested, I actually held a bit of hope Trinity would have some big repentance service. Never happened! Tom Messer, the current pastor, acknowledged the victims had been harmed, but that’s as far as he went in an apologetic letter sent to a victim that, in my opinion, was really about covering himself.
I even held out hope that Messer would invite Boz Tchividjian of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to give his presentation about abuse and how to stop it. GRACE is founded by a professor of Liberty University’s law school and, since Bob Gray and Jerry Falwell, Sr, were good friends (Falwell, Sr, called the Bob Gray arrest ‘a bump in the road’), perhaps he would be welcome at Trinity? To my knowledge, hasn’t happened yet. If ever.
So when Kevin Smith says he’s going to donate the profits from all his Weinstein films to women’s centres, and Channing Tatum pulls a move he’s making about abuse that was financed by Weinstein, and Tarantino can only hang is head in shame: all this is 200% better than how evangelical/fundamentalist church leaders react when their people are caught in horrible scandals. Would Messer have donated all the profits from Bob Gray’s books (assuming anyone is still buying them) to a women’s shelter he does not control?
I doubt it.
Why does Hollywood repent better than those who like to scream ‘REPENT’?
Here’s my take:
The decisions which govern our lives come from our political capitals (Washington, D.C., state capitals for the USA).
Our true feelings as a nation are usually expressed in cultural capitals. Cities where art, movies, music, plays, and other cultural activities are created and premiere.
Politicians can not be wrong in their decisions. Lives can be at stake.
Artists can be wrong, but not too many lives are at stake with their decisions.
The people we allow to have authority over us cannot afford to repent.
They thrive on unearned respect. They champion the rules in religious colleges, and the military, which bring harsh punishments to those who question authority (even if the authority is patently wrong). Disobedience is the worst sin. An authoritarian is the type that gets upset when someone uses a four letter word, but not at all upset at the event which caused a person to utter a four letter word. Usually, because he’s responsible for the event which inspires the cursing and swearing.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re presidents or pastors. They can never be wrong. The consequences are too catastrophic!
And that’s why Hollywood does a better job of repentance than politicians or fundamentalist pastors to whom repentance is something other people need to do, but never themselves. It’s just another meaningless word.
On second thought, though, the word ‘repent’ is not totally meaningless. It was also the name of a cool nightclub in Anaheim I used to hang out at during the era of Y2K!