While the #MeToo movement has had some prominent value in exposing the seedy underbelly of Hollywood and politics, it has undermined itself in several ways in the 18 months since it all began with accusations against prominent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
One way the movement has undermined itself is by women having bad dates and then claiming sexual harassment or assault. If bad dates were actually sexual harassment, then virtually every guy on the planet who has had a date would be in jail!
The other way #MeToo has lost some of its momentum is through some of the hypocrisy demonstrated by some of the more vocal activists. Every so often an activist will voice some wrong about being sexually harassed, when a dig into his or her backstory reveals that some sexual harassment by the “accuser” had happened in the past and he or she was silent about it.
The latest case of this comes from one of the original activists and Weinstein accusers, actress Asia Argento. The Italian, who accused Weinstein of raping her several years ago, just recently settled a legal claim filed by a young male actor who said Argento sexually assaulted him when he was 17 (he’s now 22). Reportedly the settlement was for nearly $400,000, though Argento publicly denies the charges (despite evidence of text messages and a photo of the two in bed together that seem to back up the actor’s claim that the pair had sex five years ago – and the age of sexual consent is 18).
Reports indicate that Argento and the male actor had acted together in a film in 2012 and that was when the relationship allegedly began. Argent o was reportedly still married at the time, but has since divorced. The male actor claims that the relationship tarnished and irreparably damaged his acting career in the five years since.
Sexual harassment is a scourge on society and it is an abuse of power by one person leveraging over another. It should be addressed aggressively, but when some of the more vocal activists have their own dark secrets that get revealed, these tend to undermine the entire movement and tends to blunt its legitimacy and does not encourage efforts to address the problem.
Asia Argento is one of the faces of the #MeToo movement. Perhaps unfortunately, she is on both sides of the issue, alongside Weinstein on the predator side as well as alongside actresses like Rose McGowan on the victim side.
Being on both sides of an important issue can make it all awkward – and can contribute to bringing the whole movement down in one fell swoop.