Bollywood Embraces Women Speaking Out Against Sexual Harrassment

Two of Bollywood’s biggest stars Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar have spoken out in support of the Hollywood actresses who have come forth about the rampant sexual harassment they have put up with and continue to put up with in the film world. When former Miramax and Weinstein head Harvey Weinstein became mired in abuse allegations, he was ultimately ousted from the company  that bore his name and the allegations  began to come in droves,  not just for Weinstein but for other members of the entertainment world. Both  Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan hope these revelations will help the young actresses of Bollywood find the strength to expose offenders in their part of the country.

While Bollywood may not have a larger revenue stream flowing in as its Hollywood counterparts, the Indian film giants, based in Mumbai, outproduce film and TV in the US by quite a bit. It is an usual place the country holds however, given the conservative nature of the country. Swearing and nudity, be it male or female,  remains to this day forbidden. Coupled with that Business Insider reports that India is : “a country where patriarchal values still wield tremendous influence, sexual misconduct is especially concerning to a number of stars.”

Shah Rukh Khan, one of the most popular of India’s, not just Bollywood, most famous actors spoke about the needed reform from a humanitarian aspect –

 “We should not just let it be about ‘Oh this man behaved like this’ and ‘This is so shocking,’ or all of that,” Shah Rukh Khan, another top movie star who’s worked in Bollywood for three decades, told Business Insider. “But we should respect the emotion of the women taking such a strong step in coming out, and being so brave,.and help stop this from happening in our individual industries.”

Hollywood has became the shining example of bringing to light these disclosures and  a very public discussion has helped to change this wrong being done. As India Times noted,

“Hollywood has established a great example by being blatantly vocal about sexual misconduct. Right after series of multiple accusations against mega-producer Harvey Weinstein in October, this has become an issue of debate and conversations in other countries as well. “

However, before we go patting ourselves on the back, everyone should realize that sexual harassment in Hollywood or film in general began far before Mr. Weinstein was  even born. Actresses  have since film began have long faced the unpleasant monster of sexual harassment in the form a the casting couch. From the Atlantic:

 In a 1920 article in Photoplay magazine, a New York journalist reported on “immorality in camera-land,” where “young women are not advanced in their chosen profession unless they submit to the advances of studio managers, directors, or influential male stars.”

It was so common in Italy in the 50s and 60s that actresses would commonly  marry a more genial producers so they wouldn’t have to put up with  the harassment (Sophia Loren’s marriage to Carlo Ponti).

But don’t think that it is only actresses face the casting couch along. The history of Hollywood has had it share of actors as well. In an article for EW online, Tony Goldwyn, grandson of legendary Hollywood producer  Samuel Goldwyn, revealed that he had been a victim:

“It happened to me when I was literally Lupita’s age in my last year of acting school,” he told Access Hollywood on the red carpet of the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards, where his costar Kerry Washington was honored with the Inspiration Award. “It happened to me by a man, and it wasn’t as extended and awful as what Lupita went through, but it was the same thing.”

This has been an issue far longer than Harvey  Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose and women are not its only victims