Two Latinos Join The Ever-Growing List of Rich and Powerful Sex Offenders
“At the time, I said to myself what I was doing was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true.” - Louis C.K.
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A prominent Mexican-American and Cuban-American in the entertainment industry have been, non-consensually and forcibly, masturbating in front of women (and making them watch), throughout their successful careers.
One of them, Emmy and Peabody-winning comedian Louis C.K., released a confession to the New York Times this past weekend, admitting that the accounts brought to light by “Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not”, are true.
To call this a compassionate mea culpa or a genuinely heartfelt reflection would be a stretch, though. Just two months ago, when the Mexican-American comedian was confronted with questions regarding the “rumors” (more fact than fiction it now seems) at the I Love You, Daddy premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, he said they were “not real.” One can reasonably assume that pressure to fess-up is what pushed Louis C.K. to implicate himself.
In the brief note, C.K. offers no apologies, but does offer remorse and regret for his actions.
He does, however, remember to refer to himself as “powerful” multiple times.
The Cuban-American director and producer of major motion pictures, such as Red Dragon starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, Horrible Bosses, The Family Man, and the Rush Hour trilogy, Brett Ratner, has been accused of not only “masturbation as harassment”, but also of rape, and of making vulgar comments on set.
Since the charges surfaced, Ratner and his legal team have sued the rape victim, Melanie Kohler, who still stands firmly by her statement and has gone on record for multiple publications and television stations. They have also remained mum or have unanimously denied claims that Ratner was homophobic and verbally abusive towards Ellen Page on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand, though multiple co-stars have confirmed Page’s account to be true.
Natalie Finegood Goldman, a licensed family therapist, told TheWrap last Thursday that forced masturbation has a “shock value” that “asserts a deep control over the victim, and subsequently brings a deeper demonstration of power. It is a ‘passive’, and yet very active [and] aggressive, way of asserting one’s dominance and sexuality over a person. The witness is caught in a moment of powerlessness-- someone’s sexuality is being forced onto them.”
Both men have suffered blows to their careers. Louis C.K.’s projects are being permanently suspended, and his casting for would-be blockbuster hits such as The Secret Life of Pets 2 are being terminated. Brett Ratner’s production company, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, have lost most of their clients since the allegations surfaced, including huge films and television series under the Warner Brothers conglomerate. His biggest loss is expected to be The Wonder Woman franchise, as the actress who plays Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) has reportedly announced or said in public that she will not go back to the franchise if RatPac-Dune Entertainment is financing it.
Nevertheless, neither member of the glitterati is expected to go to jail for their illegal actions. Although, under the terms set by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and The United States Department of Justice, they could easily- and should -be imprisoned for perpetration of sexual assault, both C.K. and Ratner will, in all likelihood, live as free men.
Free men with irreversibly destroyed reputations, true, but free men nonetheless.
The past four weeks have been a whirlwind of uncomfortable truths surfacing on media platforms, namely those that charge beloved and renowned Hollywood personas, as rapists, harassers, and abusers.
Starting with the brave stand made by Harvey Weinstein’s victims (Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ashley Judd, among others), and the investigation done by journalists and legal consultants at the New York Times and The New Yorker in early October, these claims have spurred an effect on news coverage. The press has often been the “check and balance” for the elite, holding those with extravagance and influence accountable, and has therefore always been willing to expose miscreancy and criminality in the upper echelon of society.
However, the amount of people willing to come forward, to entrust their truths and their trauma with publications, has been utterly bewildering. And yet, numbers would suggest otherwise. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network, every 98 seconds an American is preyed upon. This shocking statistic includes women, men, and children.
This means that, while you were reading this text, three or four people in “the greatest country in the world” were sexually assaulted.
Still, while the rate of sexual violence evidences that breaking news about it should- unfortunately -be commonplace in United States media, the courage of these numerous women and men to come forward with their statements, has been unprecedented. The (mostly) positive response from readers and listeners, a massive protest in Hollywood, as well as the #MeToo social solidarity movement amongst survivors, have turned the tables. The hope that bold testimonies and meticulous journalism continues to expose perpetrators is surging empowerment and disintegrating fear, inspiring the crucial dialogues we need to have on toxic masculinity, the patriarchy, gender inequity, and rape culture.