I was recently contacted by TMZ to “weigh in” on the recent Oprah and Seal feud that erupted around the famed talk show host and mogul’s Golden Globes speech.
I posted three tweets myself that stated my belief that Winfrey knew more about Harvey Weinstein’s notoriety than what she was letting on as she spoke from her televised bully pulpit. One was a photo of Oprah and Harvey together, the other was a text response in which I said, “don’t be fooled” and then the other was an article citing Seal’s public disdain for Oprah’s sanctity.
I am not walking back anything, however, several additional posts went up from an assistant using the Seal article and speaking for me. While overzealous in their new position to impress, it brought out some disdain from Seal who asked no one to use his words or speak for him.
I have never needed anyone to speak for me or needed to use their words. So let me be very clear in this essay and open letter to Oprah Winfrey, Seal, the media, my fans, my critics, the #MeToo #TimesUp movements and every person who stands on either side of the sexual assault trend that’s doing both good and an impetus for reform. Yet at times this is capriciously destroying lives and careers without any proof, evidence above a simple accusation.
Now, with that disclaimer stated, let me go into what I have to say.
What started as a serious movement has devolved into high school politics with terrible words flung by taunting, scorned children that have supporters on both sides of the schoolyard.
Let’s use high school as the metaphor. Not witch hunts. Not reigns of terror. High school.
Welcome to (John) Hughes Hollywood High where “The Breakfast Club” meets “Spotlight.” You know the types: The popular kids, the jocks, the artists, the nerds, the outcasts, the bullies and the victims.
We learned name calling early as children. It became weaponized by high school. It was easy to do. Most of all, you could align allies to your cause and win a complex argument with a good put down (Kind of like political or talk show debates).
A bully comes in many guises. He’s not always in the tough guy attire, cigarette in mouth ready to pummel. He’s not always the pretty bad boy with his jock friends snapping bums in locker rooms and harassing the “nerd.” Sometimes he’s not even male.
Sometimes bullies were mean girls. Sometimes they were the beautiful ones and they took turns, almost on rotation, bullying the girls in their own clique. In all of my high school years, the majority of physical fights I had were with girls. Today, online, the vast majority of hateful and terrible comments that come to me could easily be classified as “online bullying” and they come from women.
Now, let’s stop here for a moment, because the Outrage Crowd is going to say I am disrespecting the women who have come forward with legitimate claims of abuse and harassment. I am NOT doing anything of the sort. So if you’ve read this far, keep reading and actually apply critical thinking before replying.
In high school, I was a “whore” “slut” “bitch” and a number of other names that I’ll bet many of the women reading this can relate. I was not sexually promiscuous, but I was attractive, I was wanted, I was a flirt and had more male friends than I did female.
I spoke my mind. I didn’t take crap from anyone and sometimes my mouth wrote checks my brain couldn’t cash. Not a lot has changed, but I am working hard on my brain’s checking account these days.
Nowadays I am still a bitch. That seems to be the popular online name for me. However, I am also a “white supremacist” according to tolerant, female champion, Chelsea Handler. I am an Uncle Tom and traitor to my race, gun-loving redneck by a myriad of seething online females. I am washed up, a joke, irrelevant, and my favorite…clueless.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of male hatred, disrespect and misogyny to go around. There is no denying that Hollywood, like any other workplace, is rife with predators who take advantage and abuse females and males.
In high school, you knew the teachers to avoid. I am not talking about the bad ones. They were obvious. I am talking about the shady ones. The male teachers who took a very avid interest in their females students. We heard the rumors about “after school” meetings, extracurricular activities and rides home. Some bought alcohol and others gave special treatment in class for sex.
There were those unfairly accused. We had one male teacher who was sexually assaulting students “accidentally” in his classroom under the guise of “oops, I didn’t mean to touch you.” Another gave good grades if you wore revealing clothing on test day.
We knew. Pretty much the whole school knew. I believe the other teachers knew as well as the administration. But sometimes these men are in high positions in that world. They are coaches of winning teams or highly respected and powerful administrators.
But we knew. We talked about them at lunch. We talked about them at parties where sometimes the alcohol and other recreational “additives” loosened inhibitions and stories poured as fast and heavy as the booze.
We knew. And I am betting if you’ve read this far, you can name yours. Go ahead, think back, and I’ll bet some you are saying the names aloud as you read my piece.
You knew which ones you don’t get after school help with alone in their rooms. You knew not to accept meeting them off school grounds. You knew the ones whose eyes stayed at chest level or sneaked an upskirt peek. You knew the flirty teachers and you knew to stay away and warn others.
How many of you warned your younger siblings and friends? “Stay away from Mr. so and so” or “If you want a good grade wear this…”
You knew. And some of you were not the class stars, the popular kids or the Barbie dolls. Here’s my question, how in the world, if we knew in high school, do these “popular kids” in Hollywood not know?
I won’t walk back what I believe. Oprah the homecoming queen, prom queen and class president knew. Meryl, the high school drama star knew. Most of those women wearing black knew.
The class clown, Seth McFarland knew. He joked about it a few years ago on the Oscars, Hollywood’s equivalent of the prom.
You know how I can say this? BECAUSE I KNEW.
So how “clueless” am I? I knew enough when meeting Harvey Weinstein, to bring a male chaperone and it paid off as he did make a move on me. My chaperone blocked him and said, “Not this one.” You can read all about it here. My chaperone knew.
As so many of my critics like to point out, aside from “Clueless” I am nobody. So how did this “nobody” know about Harvey Weinstein, and the popular, powerful mogul, Oprah Winfrey did not?
How did the Oscar-laden “Iron Lady” Meryl Streep not know? Hollywood is one big, dark, John Hughes movie. Some of us sit with the regular kids. Some are the outsiders. However, the cool kids sit at the cool kids lunch table and they talk.
They talk a lot and they share their elite information among their members at that table. They know the deal. They know how it works and they know they have an image to uphold.
From the popular crowd to the freaks and geeks, they all knew the faculty to avoid.
Let’s just say right here, I am not judging nor am I condemning. I am simply doing the math and coming up with what appears to be an obvious answer. Occam’s Razor says the simplest answer is usually the correct one. I am writing this with Occam’s Razor.
It’s easy to get behind a cause and follow it blindly.
As an example, I have a friend who is a former high school teacher who told me of their school’s new “Students Against Drunk Driving” campaign motto. The school had just buried their twelfth car accident victim in a single school year. The new motto was displayed on a giant banner: “NEVER AGAIN!”
Now, this is all sounds good, right? “Never again.” A forceful statement that shows a firm, emotional push back to the tragedy of that school. My friend was the only teacher to stand and offer real feedback:
“So what happens when the next death comes? Do we reset the campaign and say “Never Again starting…now?”
He went on to say that declaring something like that was well-intentioned but carried no real power or effect. He wasn’t saying to give up. He wasn’t mocking the slogan. He was pointing out that simplistic; bumper sticker slogans don’t attack the cause of the symptoms.
Kids can walk around with ribbons and hashtag social media but sure enough, a little over four weeks later another accident occurred. Thankfully this was not a death, but serious injuries plagued the student driver.
So what about “Never Again?” He said, “Stacey, that’s like an airline saying after a crash, never again.” You can’t say that because there will eventually be another one. It’s the way of things.” He proposed going back and thinking of a new slogan that wasn’t so impossible.
He was attacked, vilified and almost professionally disciplined for “insulting” the advisor of the club, a fellow faculty member and the kids who put so much work into everything.
He didn’t get behind the popular campaign and the kids at the cool kid lunch table came after him.
Here’s the caveat, his friend and fellow faculty member who advised the student organization said, privately, that she agreed with him and took no offense. This is why professional discipline didn’t come. She refused to file a complaint but she was urged to do so by the administration.
What exactly was he to be punished for? Speaking his mind? Voicing logic over emotion?
Now let’s go back to Hughes Hollywood High.
Seal spoke up. He upset the Homecoming, Prom Queen and Class President, Oprah. Seal walked back what he had to say. Fine.
Here’s what it comes down to. If you have been truly assaulted. If you have been threatened, molested, attacked, forced into unwanted nudity, had any part of your body touched that made your skin crawl or worse…your first stop is law enforcement.
Granted, some women did do this. They were turned away. They were ignored because some officials might have been paid off. They felt they had no other recourse than to go to the press. So be it. However, what was a necessary course of action by some has turned into a lemming drive where now accusations can be hurled and men are demonized and fired and ruined.
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice echoes the concern of making a new slew of victims of women while saying they are so strong.
Rice is correct. So now a man holds open a door for a woman, tells her she is beautiful or after a first date goes in for the kiss, he’s a predator and needs to be publicly shamed? Is everything now an indiscretion? This is the teetering pinnacle we are balancing on right now.
Men kiss. They make the move. It’s always been because that’s how men are wired. It’s not toxic masculinity. Being a letch is not the same as being masculine. Being an awful person is not the same as being male. Make no mistake; there are agendas at work here. There is a concerted effort to purge masculinity from society for whatever reasons.
James Franco was called out after the Golden Globes with a cryptic tweet from retired actress and former John Hughes alumn, Ally Sheedy. With just a nebulous, accusing tweet, Franco was labeled a predator and monster by the media. Yes, other accusations have now come, but I ask, where is the evidence and most of all, why the press releases? File the report.
If I tweet tomorrow that I think a celebrity kills kittens in their pool house, is that worthy of an LAPD investigation? I mean, I said it and I believe it happened, but should I just announce that onto a platform that reaches billions in seconds?
We are a nation of laws, not gossip columns.
Legal filings do not guarantee complaints are real. Corey Feldman was just accused of “sexual battery” in 2017 for allegedly grabbing some actress’s behind. The timing of this is certainly suspect.
Amazing how the press has plastered this groping allegation all over the headlines but NO ONE is acknowledging his decades-long fight against Hollywood pedophilia. No outrage there.
No outrage when Barbara Walters chastised him on TV for attacking an entire industry. Where are the condemnations of Ms. Walters? No outrage when LAPD said he never filed any reports only to find he actually did and a tape was found proving it. Now there is evidence and yet no outrage or #hashtag pin for Corey Feldman.
Ms. Walters was an investigative journalist, some say the premiere female journalist, who interviewed countless entertainment and political figures…yet didn’t hear enough rumors about Corey’s warnings? Apparently not enough to stop her from mocking him on TV. She knew better than to flippantly dismiss him on such serious charges. It’s very sad.
I proposed a few months ago a new hashtag: #THEMTOO for the children ruined, harmed, touched, molested and destroyed by Hollywood executives and celebrities who continue their careers with impunity. Corey Feldman was ignored and left off the recent Time Magazine cover, yet he was the first to speak up almost three decades ago.
While I intend to keep this an apolitical essay, I must make it clear that if you want to drag President Trump into the fray (Which you will since I am writing this essay), then Oprah must denounce Bill Clinton as she made no mention of his alleged female victims to date.
But I am not going there. This is staying with the high school setting. For now.
I was asked by TMZ to comment on this “Seal flap” that had him irritated enough to make a public statement insisting that he speaks for himself.
This is my response to TMZ. Seal’s entitled to his opinion, whichever one he chooses to support or retract. With me, the use of his “words” was done by an overzealous assistant who now knows better. However, I stand firm on my own belief that the kids at the cool table knew.
If you knew or suspected or heard, let me know on social media.
Maybe that’s the new hashtag: #IKNEW
I wonder how many people at Hughes Hollywood High would wear that pin? I offer that with sarcasm and humor.
To demonize an entire sex, which has been under assault for the last decade for its “toxic masculinity” by a far left feminist agenda is not any different than pronouncing a religion as evil or a breeding ground for terrorism.
Here’s the deal, whether it’s Hollywood, the military, the blue or white collar sectors or most of all, anyone in our daily lives, we are to treat each other with respect. The fact of the matter is, we can’t behave and that’s why we have the messes we do.
Imagine a world without hashtags.
Stacey L. Dash