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Michael Douglas: Sexual Harassment Allegation Details Published

Earlier this month, a sexual harassment allegation story was pre-empted when Michael Douglas publicly denied masturbating in front of a woman who was once in his employ.

He made a very convincing statement, but … since he spoke out before the accusations were even published, we only got to hear his version of events and of the woman’s story itself.

Now, the woman’s allegations have been published.

The Hollywood Reporter has come out with an account of accusations against Michael Douglas by Susan Braudy. They first summarize her situation.

“In the late ’80s, when Braudy was in her 40s, she was hired to run the New York office of Stonebridge Productions, the production company launched by actor and producer Michael Douglas, then one of the biggest and most powerful stars in Hollywood.”

She apparently kept detailed records at the time, including evidence of her employment and evidence that she once sought — but ultimately did not pursue — a remedy for the sexual harassment that she claims that she experienced.

“She claimed she was subjected to sexual harassment by Douglas that included near-constant profane and sexually charged dialogue, demeaning comments about her appearance, graphic discussions regarding his mistresses and more.”

In addition to written records, Braudy was able to put The Hollywood Reporter in touch with multiple people who could confirm that she’s been describing these events for decades, including at least one well-known journalist and author.

“The most traumatizing experience, she said, took place during a one-on-one script meeting in his apartment, during which Douglas masturbated in her presence, prompting her to run home crying.”

But let’s hear her words.

In Susan Braudy’s own writing, she describes her job at the time as being to “read scripts, hire and supervise screenwriters, and perhaps most important, to babysit Michael in his apartment.”

As The Hollywood Reporter notes, the entertainment industry is full of odd jobs where personal lives and professional lives overlap.

At first, she says that she “did my best to shrug off the cloud of sexual aggression that Michael reflexively emitted.”

“I knew something was off but had no name for it,” she says in her writings. “I’d never heard there was a phenomenon called sexual harassment and didn’t know the term until the Anita Hill hearings in 1991.”

And she has an anecdote that both harmless and sure to turn stomachs:

“One screenwriter I hired asked if he could bring his daughter to meet Michael. She asked Michael for a banana. Michael strode to me and said so that only I could hear, ‘Yes. And then you can tell your friends you licked Michael Douglas’ banana.’ I was appalled.”

She claims that Michael Douglas used a crude term for a woman’s genitalia when they first met, and that she eventually took steps to deter him from commenting about her body:

“I began wearing long, loose layers of black. He asked a producer, ‘Why does Susan dress like a pregnant nun?'”

“Another time I laughed loudly and he shouted to a group of agents, ‘Oh yeah, she’s a screamer! I bet she screams in the sack.'”

In no way is that an acceptable way to talk to or about your coworker.

“I protested, ‘Please, don’t talk like that. It’s inappropriate.’ This made him laugh until he got pink splotches on his cheeks.”

That sure sounds inappropriate.

“Michael was usually barefoot, his blue oxford shirt unbuttoned to his navel. I sat across the room on the yellow silk couch taking notes.”

This was in 1989. That outfit itself sounds fine. What she says happened next during this one instance … does not.

“Michael unzipped his chinos and I registered something amiss. Still complimenting my additions to our E.T. imitation, his voice lowered at least half an octave.”

And then. …

“I peered at him and saw he’d inserted both hands into his unzipped pants. I realized to my horror that he was rubbing his private parts. Within seconds his voice cracked and it appeared to me he’d had an orgasm.”

“I said nothing. I was surprised I wasn’t falling to pieces even though I was humiliated. I realized he thought he could do anything he wanted because he was so much more powerful than I was.”

We struggle to think of what a person might say in that situation. That sounds so creepy and gross, especially at what was — though at his house — a work meeting.

“Michael ran barefoot after me to the elevator, zipping his fly and buckling his belt. ‘Hey, thank you, you’re good. You helped me, thank you, thank you.'”

Braudy says that she was soon after asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement and that, after stalling on her lawyer’s advice for six months, she was let go towards the end of 1989.

Michael Douglas has famously strongly denied these allegations of sexual harassment and general creepiness.

We can consider the fact that either Susan Braudy is lying, though it’s hard to conceive of a reason for her to do so. And the idea of someone confiding a lie in 1989 as part of some decades-long scheme to come out with it in 2018 … is truly bizarre.

We can also consider that Michael Douglas is lying, as his motive for doing so would be to preserve his reputation.

But can we talk about another possibility?

It was the ’80s, and Michael Douglas’ career was pretty much at its peak.

Some have openly wondered if Douglas was abusing any substances at the time (which we are not accusing him of) that might have lowered his impulse-control and perhaps also prevented him from remembering or even realizing his actions.

Even without the involvement of illicit substances, it sounds like both Michael Douglas and Susan Braudy could be describing events as they remember them. Susan might have her memory locked in because of trauma, while Michael Douglas might have thought nothing of events.

It’s even possible that one or both of them misinterpreted the other during that time period.

The only thing that we know with absolute certainty is that no one should have to face the kind of workplace harassment that Braudy describes.

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Michael Douglas: I Did Not Masturbate in Front of That Woman!

Michael Douglas would like to make something very clear.

In an interview with Deadline, the veteran actor has responded to accusations of sexual harassment with a definitive statement that can best be summed up with these words:

No. Not me too.

The 73-year old The Oscar winner decided to come forward preemptively after being contacted by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety regarding allegations of misconduct made by an employee who worked for him more 32 years ago.

This employee claims Douglas once dropped his pants and masturbated in front of her.

The woman worked for Douglas’ production company in New York, the actor says, adding:

“I don’t know where to begin. This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.”

Having been in the entertainment industry for over 50 years, both as an actor and producer, the two-time Academy Award winner went into further detail about why he’s speaking out.

“I felt the need to get ahead of this,” Douglas explains, adding:

“It pertains to me but I’m also getting a sense of how it reflects in our culture, and what is going on today. I see it as a cautionary tale.”

Douglas says he remembers the woman in question and says he fired her based on her work.

He also denies her claims that he proceeded to blackball her from Hollywood.

“I support the #metoo movement with all my heart,” Douglas continued.

“I have always supported women, along the way. This is the kind of step that can set that movement back….

“I’m just happy to be able to present my story. I’m grateful to have the support of my wife and my kids who’ve had to share this with me.

“It has been a complete nightmare.”

The actor is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones.

As readers are likely well aware, Hollywood continues to reel from accusations against a variety of men of sexual harassment and misconduct.

The issue took on a new life of its own last year after producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of some horrible acts against the opposite sex.

Since then, victims have been empowered to go public, with accusations taking down the careers of such major stars as Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and Louis C.K.

The latter was also accused of jerking off in front of women, but he actually confessed to these misdeeds.

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, has not yet commented on Douglas’ statement and/or the article he says the publication called him about in December.

As of late Tuesday, there were no stories containing allegations against Douglas on its website.

To conclude his chat with Deadline, Douglas said the following:

I’m upset… I’m having a hard time understanding it. I’m very grateful to my family and business associates around me.

I’m fearful, I have jobs going with studios who all seem to be supportive at this time.

I’m hurt, really hurt and offended and I wonder if people realize when you do something like this, it hurts a lot more than just one person.

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Cameron Douglas & Vivian Thibes Welcome First Child!

It’s only been a little more than a year since Michael Douglas’ son, Cameron Douglas, was released from prison after nearly 7 years behind bars on drug charges.

That’s enough time to ruin a life, but Cameron’s been moving forward with his life with a new approach to life and with his very pregnant girlfriend, Vivian Thibes.

But Vivian isn’t pregnant anymore, which Cameron announced with a precious post to Instagram.

Cameron Douglas’ girlfriend, yoga instructor Vivian Thibes, was way preggo in this photo … but that’s no longer the case, as Douglas excitedly shared on Instagram.

His caption reads:

Today my appreciation for Mothers all over the world has reached new heights…”

We’re sure that Mike Pence’s wife will appreciate that. (Sorry!)

“Today I took part in a miracle as my baby girl was introduced to the world through a beautiful Amazon warrior…”

Awwww!

We’re touched by how excited he is to become a father but we just love how he describes his beautiful wife.

“I’m so proud of you @vivianethibes.

He follows that with a white bird emoji, and then a very simple tag:

“#iloveyou”

They’re so precious.

Not long ago, Vivian shared her own pregnant yoga photo, this time standing in tree pose (which, depending on your balance, is either way harder or way easier than it looks, and I can only imagine how pregnancy complicates it).

In her own captions, Vivian wrote:

“As I come to the end of my pregnancy filled with gratitude for the love and support of my friends and family.”

That’s sweet!

“I reflect on the importance of regular yoga practice.”

That makes sense. Doing yoga is a popular choice during pregnancy. Also, you know, she’s a yoga instructor. it’s clearly her thing.

“Through my practice I was able to find balance and serenity during challenging times.”

Pregnancy can be a wild ride, folks.

“Like a tree, we want to have strong roots in order to stay grounded.”

See, and she’s doing tree pose. Cute.

“So whatever is your source of strength, nourish it because you will need it when things get out of your control.”

It’s good that she’s acknowledging that not everyone’s on the same path or draws strength from the same things.

Michael Douglas has previously expressed his excitement about becoming a grandfather.

We’re sure that his happiness is only compounded by how thrilled he is that his son is, for a little over a year not, finally out of prison.

While in prison for nearly seven years for drug charges (and as outrageous as that is, and it absolutely is, remember that men of color often have sentences several times that long for, again, nothing more than drug charges), Cameron did not have an easy time.

Cameron Douglas was beaten in prison.

In fact, he even had his leg broken by another inmate.

What it says about our society that nonviolent offenders are caged with vicious, violent offenders and spend years living in fear … well, it’s an indictment of our legal system, really.

That Cameron Douglas is in a mental and emotional place to move on with his life after surviving the horror show that is prison is a good sign.

We don’t know the name of Cameron and Vivian’s little girl, yet.

But we’re so excited that she’s been born and that it sounds like everyone involved is alright.

Congratulations to that entire family, honestly.

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Gabby Douglas: Dr. Nassar Molested Me, Too

A couple of weeks ago, Aly Raisman accused Dr. Nassar of sexual abuse, joining more than 100 other gymnasts.

Aly responded to some truly despicable victim-blaming, only for her former teammate, Gabby Douglas, to seemingly victim-blame Aly for “immodesty.” Gabby apologized after the backlash, but … yikes.

Now Gabby’s come forward. Not only to apologize again, but to say that she, too, is a survivor of Dr. Nassar’s sex abuse.

After Aly Raisman gave a similar account to McKayla Maroney’s molestation accusations against Dr. Larry Nassar, their former team doctor, Aly posted about how dressing a certain way before or after being a victim of sexual abuse doesn’t in any way negate what happened.

(As we mentioned at the time, if haters see assault survivors living their lives, they dismiss what happened as “not that bad.” If they see survivors as nervous shut-ins, they tell them to “get over it.” It’s vile)

Gabby Douglas jumped in with a truly awful take: a reminder that women have a “responsibility” to dress modestly, or they might invite the wrong kind of attention.

That’s awful, and the backlash was intense. Which, we imagine, is why Gabby Douglas apologized at the time and has now posted this lengthy apology:

“First, I want to reiterate my apology for responding the way that I did to a comment that one of my teammates posted.”

That’s good. A personal desire for modesty is every bit as valid as any other personal outfit choice, from niqabs to nudity. Saying that others have a “responsibility” to feel as you do … is unacceptable.

“I know that some of you may take what I am about to say as insincere, but I still wanted to provide context.”

Context is always good.

“The day before I commented, I was at an event where hundreds of children and young adults came to spend an evening with me.”

That’s not really a surprise. She’s still a household name and she’s an athletic superstar.

“It’s very humbling when many people look up to you as an example.”

Most people would assume that it’s the opposite of humbling, but we can see that.

“I take my job as a role model very seriously and I always want to do my best to represent all the best qualities that a role model should embody. I admit there are times that I fall short.”

“I didn’t view my comments as victim-shaming because I know that no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you.”

That’s true. You can pass out naked in somebody’s house, and they still don’t have the right to touch you without your consent. No one does.

“It would be like saying because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar.”

Note that she says we, following up her use of the #MeToo hashtag in her first apology by confirming that she is a fellow survivor.

(Going through awful stuff doesn’t negate the problematic things that you might say or do later in life, but they can put things into context)

“I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful.”

We can only imagine how painful it would be to hold onto that secret, to be burdened by it.

“I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them.”

And that’s good.

Gabby’s message continues:

“I understand that many of you didn’t know what I was dealing with, but it is important to me that you at least know this.”

We’re listening.

“I do not advocate victim shaming/blaming in any way, shape, or form!”

It sure sounded like that was what she was doing in her now-deleted “modesty” post.

“I will also never support attacking or bullying anyone on social media or anywhere else.”

That’s good … but almost sounds like she’s talking about the backlash that she received.

“Please forgive me for not being more responsible with how I handled the situation.”

Responsible is exactly the right word.

“To every other individual that commented to or about me hatefully, I apologize that I let you down too.”

That’s a very mature way to respond to your haters.

“I will never stop promoting unity, positivity, strength, being courageous, and doing good instead of evil.”

That’s good … though some of those are vague and could mean very different things from very different people.

“I have learned from this and I’m determined to be even better.”

That’s good.

She sends it with:

“All my love, Gabby.”

Whatever you may think of Gabby Douglas before or after this second apology, she did not deserve to be one of Dr. Larry Nassar’s countless alleged victims.

Dr. Nassar, who has been in jail while awaiting sentencing for child porn charges, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to sexual assault.

He is being sued by over 125 women, most of whom are gymnasts.

This story is ongoing, in that Nassar still awaits sentencing. And we may have not yet heard from all of the victims.

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Gabby Douglas Victim-Blames Aly Raisman, Apologizes

Recently, Aly Raisman revealed that she was sexually abused by her team doctor, starting when she was a young teenager. The world responded with horror, sympathy, and support.

Except for Aly’s former teammate, Gabby Douglas.

For whatever reason, she decided to respond by appearing to victim-blame Aly. And that did not go over well.

Aly Raisman joins over 130 women in accusing Dr. Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.

Coming forward about sexual assault is never easy, for a whole host of reasons. From society’s judgmental attitude to the legal system forcing survivors to relive their trauma to internalized feelings of shame and confusion … it’s tough.

Coming forward as a celebrity, where the spotlight magnifies so many of those deterrents, is even harder.

(Among those accusers is former teammate McKayla Maroney, who also showed extraordinary bravery in sharing her #MeToo story as a celebrity)

Aly Raisman revealed details of her sex abuse, in a story that is tragically familiar, alleging that Dr. Nassar began molesting her when she was just 15.

Larry Nassar, who is currently in jail and awaiting sentencing for some gross but unsurprising child pornography charges, allegedly passed off his molestation as “therapeutic massage.”

(It’s not uncommon for gymnasts of this caliber to require a number of therapies, including massage, because what they do can be tremendously hard on their bodies)

Dr. Nassar’s alleged abuse of these girls went on for years.

On Friday, Aly Raisman posted a follow-up, responding to some of the responses that 

“Just because a woman does a sexy photoshoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward about sexual abuse.”

Absolutely true. Some victim-blamers try to say that if a survivor of childhood sexual abuse goes on to enjoy sex as an adult or flaunt her body, then she must not have suffered enough as a child. That is wrong and also vile.

(Some of those same people will look to a woman who grows up to be a sex-repulsed shut-in and say that she needs to “get over it,” which is not better)

“What is wrong with some of you? AND when a woman dresses sexy it does not give a man the right to sexually abuse her EVER.”

Women may dress however they like. And literally nothing could give one human being the right to sexually assault or abuse another.

“Women are allowed to feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin; in fact I encourage you all to wear what you feel good in.”

Note that she’s not saying that all woman need to dress sexily. Some women will feel good in a crop top. Others in a turtleneck. Others in a niqab.

“I will not put up with any woman being shamed for wanting to wear a skirt, dress, etc. I do not tolerate it. Are we clear?”

Yes ma’am. Very clear.

“Oh, and one more thing. STOP VICTIM SHAMING. It is because of you that so many survivors live in fear.”

Everything that Aly Raisman said was true and also well-said. It’s sad that she had to defend herself and others like that.

Gabby Douglas, however, saw things a little differently.

Quoting her former teammate’s post, Gabby added her own words:

“However, it is our responsibility as woman to dress modestly and be classy. Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”

WOW.

Rather than pointing out that there are various photos and videos of Gabby Douglas dressed in manners that, in her universe, might “entice the wrong crowd,” let’s instead say this:

It is not a woman’s responsibility, or anyone’s responsibility, to dress modestly. You can fall asleep naked at a party and no one is entitled to touch you.

Also, and this is almost beside the point, but plenty of good people are “enticed” by sexiness. Gabby Douglas appears to believe that men who like modesty aren’t sex abusers and that others are.

Again, folks, sexual predation doesn’t have a stake in how you dress or what side of the political aisle you sit on. Predators exist in every social circle, and there are those who delight in using their “family values” image to allay suspicion.

Well, apparently Gabby was known for her questionable views.

Fellow Olympic gymnast Simone Biles shared a screencap of Gabby’s truly awful take, and wrote:

“Shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly [hearts emoji] & all the other women out there! STAY STRONG”

That is the correct view. It must be heartbreaking to hear that from someone who rose to fame by your side, with whom you shared such a unique experience.

Gabby responded to the backlash by deleting her original message and tweeting again:

“i didn’t correctly word my reply & i am deeply sorry for coming off like i don’t stand alongside my teammates. regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstance is never acceptable. i am WITH you. #metoo

It’s good that she apologizes. We’re not sure how her message could be the result of poor phrasing.

However, she’s using the #MeToo hashtag, which implies that she’s had her own awful experiences. It may be that she’s still processing something … and potentially blames herself.

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