Analysis: A New Reminder That White Hollywood Heartthrobs Can Survive Scandals


The #MeToo movement erupted in Hollywood and throughout society a half decade ago. The world assured survivors that their allegations of abuse would be taken seriously and that anyone who engaged in it or other predatory behavior would face consequences, regardless of their position or rank.

This has been the case to some extent, since Harvey Weinstein was recently given an additional 16 years in prison on three counts of rape and sexual assault. Yet, as this year’s Oscars showed, many white males in Hollywood, particularly those who are regarded as heartthrobs, are still able to get away with improper or allegedly abusive behavior without facing any repercussions.

As the world was still preoccupied with “the slap,” women directors were conspicuously absent from the nominations.From last year — which put on display the “unfair” burden Black men face — some white men who have recently made headlines for bad behaviour were among this year’s prestigious Oscar nominees.”They are in our homes, on our screens.

There’s a false sense of connection and vulnerability we have with these celebrities, even though they are complete strangers,” Stacey Rose, a sexologist and the founder of Pearbond, a company that focuses on sexual violence, power-based personal violence, and Title IX education, tells POPSUGAR. “They are paid to produce a false persona. We let ourselves forget that because they are comforting to us. We give them permission to act badly, to harm people.”

For many, this year’s prominence of celebrities who have acted in rotten ways — yet are still upheld as Hollywood’s elite — is a glaring reminder that we so often let conventionally attractive white men off the hook. We spoke to experts about why this reality persists, even as society seemingly moves forward on holding powerful men to account.

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