Apparently, pedophilia is an entrenched part of Hollywood culture — but you wouldn’t know that if you only consulted The New York Times for news. Check out this Fox News account of just some of the muck that underlies Hollywood’s glamorous gilding:
If a spate of recent allegations proves true, Hollywood may have a hideous epidemic on its hands. The past two weeks have brought three separate reports of alleged child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.
Martin Weiss, a 47-year-old Hollywood manager who represented child actors, was charged in Los Angeles on Dec. 1 with sexually abusing a former client. His accuser, who was under 12 years old during the time of the alleged abuse, reported to authorities that Weiss told him “what they were doing was common practice in the entertainment industry.” Weiss has pleaded not guilty.
On Nov. 21, Fernando Rivas, 59, an award-winning composer for “Sesame Street,” was arraigned on charges of coercing a child “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” in South Carolina. The Juilliard-trained composer was also charged with production and distribution of child pornography.
Registered sex offender Jason James Murphy, 35, worked as a casting agent in Hollywood for years before his past kidnapping and sexual abuse of a boy was revealed by the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 17. Murphy’s credits include placing young actors in kid-friendly fare like “Bad News Bears,” “The School of Rock,” “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and the forthcoming “Three Stooges.”
What’s worse: Former child stars like Corey Feldman (“Lost Boys”) and Alison Arngrim (“Little House on the Prairie”) have said these three isolated, independent charges of child abuse are indicative of a much broader problem. Their quotes are chilling:
Corey Feldman [made] eye-opening remarks in August to ABC’s “Primetime Nightline” that “the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia. That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry … It’s the big secret.”
Alison Arngrim, the veteran Hollywood actress best known for her role decades ago as Nellie on “Little House on the Prairie,” has said, “This (the abuse of children) has been going on for a very long time.
“If a child actor is being sexually abused by someone on the show, is the family, agents or managers – the people who are getting money out of this – going to say, ‘OK, let’s press charges’? No, because it’s going to bring the whole show to a grinding halt, and stop all the checks,” says Arngrim. “So, the pressure is there not to say anything.”
This might, perhaps, explain why, occasionally, a movie will come out of Hollywood that seems to seek to normalize adult-child sexual relationships — movies like 2008’s “The Reader” or 2004’s “Birth.” To some in Hollywood, child exploitation evidently is normal.
Yet, according to NewsBusters, New York Times reporters and editors can’t be bothered to shine light on this dark trend. They did, however, find space on page A6 of Friday’s edition to report an unconfirmed claim that a Catholic archbishop in Ireland — who died in 1973 — was posthumously accused of child abuse.
Note: I am not saying the NYT shouldn’t have reported the claim against the archbishop. I am saying the paper — and, indeed, the many Hollywood activists who can’t keep their mouths shut about other, less-pressing issues — should make an effort to disrupt a disturbing trend in the entertainment world by doing what a newspaper is supposed to do. In other words, I’m saying NYT reporters should report the news.
P.S. Paging Lady Gaga … Wouldn’t this kind of child molestation qualify as bullying in a big way?
Update (Ed): I’m in full agreement with Tina in this post, but I do want to offer a qualified defense of The Reader. First, the relationship in the film was not pedophilic; the teenager was 16, not a pre-adolescent, and that’s the age of consent in at least several US states. More to the point, however, is the fact that the film intentionally shows the damage that the relationship causes the teenager throughout his life. It’s an allegory for the relationship between the German generation of the Nazi era and the generation that followed. The entire point of the relationship in the film was that the Nazi generation “molested” and twisted the succeeding generation, which had to endure the guilt and shame of that association. That point could have been driven home with less nudity and sexual content, but it’s also worth pointing out that the actor in this case was 18 years of age at the time those scenes were shot.
I have more issues with American Beauty on this score than The Reader.
Update II: I’ve gotten a few e-mails that say the character was 15, not 16, but he’s 15 at the beginning — before he spends several months in bed with scarlet fever, and before the relationship starts with the older woman. In any case, the relationship is clearly shown as damaging and manipulative, not as a good thing for the boy.