Sunday, May 27, 2018

Say it ain't so, Mo

I did not expect to be writing another #MeToo post, not because it's not important, but just because I'm so exhausted and dispirited by the whole thing that I've generally gone into avoidance mode. Sad but true. At the very least, I figured the next series of accusations I talked about here would have to be so earth-shattering that I couldn't avoid talking about them.

I wouldn't say that's true in this case, but I've decided to devote a post to the accusations against Morgan Freeman because of this post.

Don't care to follow the link? That's fine, let me summarize for you.

The subject of that November 21st post should be clear enough from its title: "Five sexual assault allegations that would crush me." Four of the men named in that post -- Tom Hanks, Barack Obama, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg -- are still untainted.

The fifth is now not.

In fact, what I wrote about Morgan Freeman in that post was weirdly prescient (I swear I had not heard any rumors about his conduct): "Maybe he's inherited the grandfatherly black gentleman mantle I had once entrusted to Bill Cosby. Freeman is a treasure, and if I heard he was a skirt chaser, who would be the voice of God in my head?"

The unfortunately accurate part of that is that one of the specific charges against Freeman is that he chased someone's skirt. I can't remember who the person was because I want to read that long CNN article once and only once. But one of the more problematic of a number of problematic accusations is one where Freeman was allegedly trying to lift of the skirt of an underling to see if she was wearing any underwear. And this was on the set of a movie that came out last year. Alan Arkin, thank goodness, appears to have shamed him from continuing to pursue that course of action.

"Freeman is a treasure" is another important phrase in that brief two-sentence writeup. The fear of losing their job might not have been the only reason women didn't come forward about Freeman's behavior, and had to be asked about it by the CNN reporter who began investigating the issue based on her own experience of harassment from Freeman. The importance of Morgan Freeman being our collective treasure might have been just as much of a motivating factor.

We need to believe that some people are above the fray. And some people certainly are. But they are not always the people we wish were.

Because I continue to be able to separate the art from the artist, for the most part, this will not taint my personal ability to appreciate Freeman's film work. But many others are not able to do that, nor should they. Freeman will now follow others we used to respect into that same gutter of taint. People like my wife will now no longer feel comfortable watching Morgan Freeman movies. (Though I should note that she is also in denial a bit about this, as she had not read the accusations against him the last time I checked in with her.)

Oh Morgan. You knew it was bad. You needed to stop. And now you have issued an apology that is lame and hollow and leaves us without the opening we needed to try to rehabilitate your image in our minds.

God is dead, I guess.

No comments: