HOLLYWOOD — The original creator of the #MeToo Campaign, Tarana Burke, will be the featured speaker at a march and rally for survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual abuse in Hollywood Nov. 12.
The #MeToo Survivors’ March will start at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Ten years before the allegations against Harvey Weinstein became public knowledge, Burke was helping young women talk about sexual assault.
“For every Harvey Weinstein, there’s a hundred more men in the neighborhood who are doing the exact same thing,” Burke said. “The conversation around harassment in Hollywood will broaden to include other industries if we force it to.”
Other speakers at the march and rally include lead organizer Brenda Gutierrez, who put together the #MeToo Survivors’ March after she saw her Facebook newsfeed fill up with the #MeToo status in reaction to recent Hollywood revelations involving sexual assault.
Joining Gutierrez will be writer and media commentator Jasmyne Cannick, Aleesha Barlow the creator of Tell Somebody Inc., an organization that works toward ending child abuse of any kind; and Jayda Rasberry, the organizing director for Dignity and Power Now, a grassroots organization that fights for the dignity and power of incarcerated people, their families and communities.
The march and rally are taking place as Hollywood continues to reel from the accusations against Weinstein, directors James Toback and Brett Ratner, and actor Kevin Spacey about unwanted sexual advances made by the powerful men against young women and in Spacey’s case young men.
Spacey and Ratner were the latest to be accused last week.
Actor Anthony Rapp was the first to accuse Spacey of an unwanted sexual advance that occurred when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26.
On Oct. 31, filmmaker Tony Montana told Radar Magazine that Spacey drunkenly groped him in a Los Angeles bar in 2003.
Then over the weekend, actor Harry Dreyfuss, the son of actor Richard Dreyfuss, said that when he was 18, he was groped by Spacey while his father was in the room, though unaware of what was going on.
“It happened one night when the three of us were alone in Kevin’s apartment rehearsing my father’s lines,” Harry Dreyfuss wrote. “My father didn’t see, and I didn’t tell him about the incident for many years. Instead, I spent the next nine years telling people the story at parties for laughs.”
“Kevin Spacey is a sexual predator. But I still never thought talking about it seriously was ever an option,” Harry Dreyfuss added.
The fallout to the Spacey accusations was huge.
The studio behind the hit series “House of Cards,” Media Rights Capital, suspended Spacey while it investigated “serious allegations” concerning his behavior on set.
That came shortly after Netflix said in a separate statement that it would not be involved with any further production of “House of Cards” if the show included its star, Spacey.
A representative for CAA — Creative Artists Agency — confirmed that Spacey was no longer a client, and his publicist, Staci Wolfe, also confirmed that she and Polaris PR had split from Spacey, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ratner was accused by at least six women in a story in the Los Angeles Times Nov. 1 of sexual harassment and misconduct in private homes, on movie sets or at industry events.
Ratner, through his lawyer, denied all the allegations, which included forcing women to perform sex acts and pleasuring himself in front of them.
“I have represented Mr. Ratner for two decades, and no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment,” attorney Marty Singer said in a 10-page letter to The Times. “Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Ratner has become one of Hollywood’s most powerful players, directing, producing or financing dozens of box-office hits, including “Rush Hour,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “The Revenant” and “Horrible Bosses.”
Now 48, Ratner has long flaunted his playboy persona, bragging publicly about his sexual prowess, according to The Times. He has been romantically linked to Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Mariah Carey.
The women quoted by The Times were actresses Natasha Henstridge, Olivia Munn, Jaime Ray Newman, Katharine Towne, aspiring singer Eri Sasaki and background actress Jorina King.
Following the allegations against Brett Ratner, Playboy Enterprises said it is suspending plans to team up with the movie director on a biopic of the company’s founder, Hugh Hefner.
Earlier, Ratner said he is “choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.-related activities.”
The Beverly Hills Police Department, meanwhile, said it is investigating “multiple complaints” involving Weinstein and James Toback, two longtime film industry figures who have each been the subject of numerous accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“The Beverly Hills Police Department has recently received multiple complaints involving Harvey Weinstein. These cases are under investigation and no further information will be released at this time,” police said in a statement.
The department sent an identical release involving Toback, a writer and director.
Weinstein, a producer long considered one of Hollywood’s most powerful people, was fired from The Weinstein Company after dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment or assault. He was also expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers’ Guild, and the Directors’ Guild is expected to follow suit, having initiated the process.
Weinstein has apologized for his behavior but vehemently denied ever engaging in non-consensual sexual activity.
The Los Angeles Police Department has announced it is investigating a sexual assault allegation against Weinstein. That allegation was made by an Italian model-actress who claims Weinstein raped her in 2013 at a hotel while she was in town for an Italian film festival.
Police in New York and London have said they are investigating allegations of sexual assault involving Weinstein as well.
As for Toback, 38 women recently emerged to report years of perverted and creepy behavior by the director whose credits include “The Pick-up Artist” and “Black & White.” The Times reported that it spoke to the women about the allegations, with 31 speaking on the record.
The New Yorker magazine said that Weinstein, beginning in the fall of 2016, began setting out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women and began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations.
Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her, according to the magazine.
One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press, according to the report penned for the magazine by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow.
Meanwhile, actress Paz de la Huerta — best known for “Boardwalk Empire” — told Vanity Fair she was raped twice by Weinstein in New York in 2010. She said Weinstein gave her a ride home then insisted they have drinks, then he forced himself on her.
Weinstein has denied having any non-consensual sex with anyone.
Burke said the Nov. 12 march will shine the spotlight on domineering men in Hollywood.
For more than 10 years, Burke has worked with young women through an organization she co-founded called Just Be Inc.
Through that work she heard a lot of reports about sexual violence and she wanted to offer young survivors what she needed in the aftermath of her own assault: empathy. So she started the#MeToo campaign “to spread a message for survivors: You’re heard, you’re understood.”