This is a rare moment in world history. Right now, all the harassers, molesters and assaulters are finally being exposed, after thousands of years of that type of behavior being swept under the rug.
This is a good thing, and I believe that the Weinsteins, Spaceys and CKs currently being exposed have to answer for what they did. If their careers are destroyed in the process, I have no objection to that. Let the chips fall where they may.
Having said that, with the possible exception of Harvey Weinstein, I see all of the people who have been exposed in the last couple of months getting their careers back at some point in the future. I can sum up why I feel this way in two words: Mel Gibson.
In 2006, the actor was arrested for drunk driving. He went into a bizarre rant about Jews to the arresting officer, and called a female officer at the police station “Sugar Tits.”
Not long after, his behavior towards his girlfriend became so spectacularly appalling that it seemed impossible for his career to recover. Mel Gibson was over. Done. Finished.
Fast forward to last Friday, and the theatrical release of “Daddy’s Home 2,” a cuddly family movie released just in time for the holidays, in which Gibson co-stars. It took 11 years, but Mel Gibson, the poster child for violent, drunken, toxic masculinity had his career back, and via a heartwarming comedy to boot.
The movie earned $30 million over the weekend. That’s not “Thor” money, but it’s a strong enough debut for a family comedy. Apparently, Gibson’s presence in a movie is no longer a dealbreaker for audiences. They may not have forgiven him, but they forgot, which is good enough for him to have his career restored, albeit in supporting actor form.
All of this is a very long-winded way of saying that Louis CK, Kevin Spacey and every other celebrity currently watching their careers evaporate just need to play the waiting game. Soon enough, all of the outrage will become unfashionable. It will be forgotten. It will become very “last season,” and every person clamoring for the accused’s head will become distracted by petty, stupid bullshit and move on.
I’m not saying that these people should get their careers back. I’m saying they will get them back, because Americans are as faddish as they are fickle, and there’s very little a beloved celebrity can do to make that reality go away. The need to deny and whitewash is just too strong in this country.
It’s good that all this stuff is coming out about predatory celebrities, and the last thing anyone should care about is what will happen to someone’s career over it. Sexual abusers should be publicly humiliated and shamed, in a Japanese game show format if possible. Just don’t count on it sticking.
There’s nothing a celebrity can do to keep him on the shit list for long. More than he craves justice, the average American citizen craves normalcy, whitewashing and not causing a scene. So by all means, boycott the works of sexual abusers, and do whatever your conscience tells you to do. But don’t expect your fellow Americans to follow you.