Anyone who is involved in the entertainment industry professionally and over a longer period of time knows that success hides many sins. But he doesn’t undo them, as Harvey Hollywood must learn these days.
What you could read and hear in the last days about the damn successful and just as despicable movie mogul Harvey Hollywood, should neither be the end of the whole story, nor is it the end of the story.
To be transparent: I never met him in person. He called me once. It wanted to inquire about the rights to a feature film project. My assistant took the call in her first week of work. “A Mr. Mira Max from New York wants to see you,” she said. Another time a colleague of mine produced a film with Harvey Hollywood’s company. He was put under so much pressure by Harvey himself that he lost 15 kilograms of body weight during production.
In life and in the movies: Harvey Hollywood
The stories I was told about working with Harvey Hollywood were like the feature films in Cannes and Montreal in which the fat man stuck his sausage fingers: unbelievably unique. Every single story about him was so crazy that it could have come from a script by Tarantino. With what is known today about Harvey Hollywood as manager in the film business, one can no longer hope that the guy in his reprehensible search for sexual fulfillment was not as raging as he apparently did regularly at meetings.
A cesspool of sin and a symbol of carnal desires, this film industry! We suspected it secretly. Where money and beautiful women are part of the business model, there can be no mess! The world cries out.
Not the first time.
Call me Fatty!
Roscoe Arbuckle was one of the greatest stars of his time in 1921. He hated his nickname, Fatty, but that didn’t stop him from using it as his stage name and making it his trademark worldwide. Fatty was the first actor in the history of film to earn more than a million dollars a year.
In September 1921 during a party in the hotel suite of Arbuckle the as young as pretty aspiring actress Virgina Rappe fell ill. The doctor called in recognized excessive alcohol consumption as the cause of the young woman’s discomfort. She was taken to a separate hotel room while the party continued.
Three days later the young actress died of peritonitis due to a ruptured bladder.
Arbuckle claimed to have found the attractive young woman in the bathroom of his suite. She had retreated there because of discomfort and called him to help her, whereupon he had put her to bed.
Matthew Brady, district attorney, took the world star to court for attempted rape and murder. He had come to the conclusion that the internal injury was caused by a bottle of champagne or a bottle of Coca-Cola.
The autopsy of Rappe could neither refute nor prove his accusations. After three chaotic trials Arbuckle was acquitted.
All over the USA groups were now forming that wanted to put him on the electric chair. The studios distanced themselves from their former cash cow and forbade the stars under contract with them to keep in touch with Fatty Arbuckle. This reminds me of Harvey Hollywood.
Only Buster Keaton continued to publicly call his friend Arbuckle, whose career was abruptly ended by the scandal, “one of the most decent people I know.”
In the same decade the unsurpassedly brilliant 33-year-old silent movie star Charles Charlie Chaplin impregnated the only fifteen-year-old Lita Grey in the sauna of his villa.
The young actress, whose real name was Lillita Louise MacMurray, got a stage name and world fame as a starlet thanks to her role in “The Kid” at Charlie Chaplin’s side. In her memoirs, published in 1966, Lillita MacMurray wrote, “He lay on top of me and covered my neck with kisses.”
For fear of legal consequences and for his world career Chaplin married the girl in 1927. He did this on the advice of his lawyers, although the two had long since fallen out hopelessly.
A little later the actress sued for divorce. The tabloid press set new records because Grey stated in the trial that in addition to countless affairs parallel to her marriage, the actor of the Tramp had only demanded things from her in the bedroom that were “all unnatural, perverse, degenerate and shameless”.
Further details were prevented by the lawyers with a payment of 600,000 dollars (which today corresponds to a sum of over 8 million dollars!) coupled with a silence agreement.
The birth of Charles Junior was not communicated to the public until much later and with a wrong date. This means that, at least theoretically, procreation could have taken place during marriage.
Charlie Chaplin had gone through the same procedure once before in 1918. Because for the press it has always been clear where the devil lives: in Hollywood and in the film industry.
At that time he had gotten Mildred Harris, also a minor, pregnant and therefore had to marry her.
In 1944 the comedian, scriptwriter, editor, composer and film producer again dominated the worldwide press with unappetizing details.
In a paternity suit, the plaintiff’s attorney Joan Barry publicly called the former silent movie star a “horny mutt”. On behalf of all American wives and mothers, he demanded that the court “finally put a stop to the star’s lascivious behaviour”.
In 1972 Chaplin received an Academy Award© for his life’s work.
Marylin, Harvey Hollywood and Woody
Marilyn Monroe told the press in an interview what the bosses in the studios expected in exchange for a role. “It’s the only way to get directly to the really important people,” explained the then most beautiful woman in the world.
That was more than half a century ago. What have we learned in the meantime? Woody Allen, the man who married his own adopted daughter and whose natural son Ronan Farrow started the Harvey Hollywood affair, was not joking at all when he said in a interview with the BBC TV channel “it’s bad for Harvey that his life is now such a mess”.
If my Irish-born ex from the Big Apple, not quite unburdened in terms of family and career in the film industry, under the hashtag #metoo, shows solidarity with the victims of Harvey Hollywood and asks me, should I myself also be a victim of abuse, to please make this public, I am afraid. Not just because it makes me learn things from her that I didn’t know until now. But also because I wonder what we are really changing with this really.
Whether with a high-profile lawsuit, a private, powerful kick between the legs of an aggressor, or both combined in reverse order: the fear of being catapulted out of business has always prevented the only right reaction. Not only in the film business, but also in sports, politics and wherever there are powerful men who use their position to satisfy their sexual appetite.
The silence of the lambs
I do not know the global entertainment industry well. But good enough to predict what will happen. Because in such cases the same thing always happens. First, sound the attack. Harvey Hollywood, whose films have received over 300 nominations for the Oscar©, will rightly have to pay the price. Along with many others. The rules of the game will be changed because something like this must never happen again.
Afterwards, the whole thing is over. Abuse by the powerful is shifting to a new level that is misunderstood by society and not covered by the law. The silence of the lambs and the girl eating starts again. This does not change the fact that with new players in the film industry like the China Film Group the geopolitical situation is changing.
It’s like skydiving. You can die doing it. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people voluntarily throw themselves into the deep every year. They sign documents in which they declare that they are legally watertight, that they are willing to take a great risk of their own free will and that they are aware of all consequences. How many people are there who are desperate to be a star? I’m afraid there are at least as many of them as want to jump out of airplanes.
I will only feel good when every woman and man can decide without consequences what he or she will say yes or no to. Only when we create not only bans and commandments, but also alternatives, such as starting a career in film or elsewhere despite a “without me!“, only then will abuse decrease. It is not up to men or women to make these options for action a reality. It’s on us humans. We all have a duty.
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