James Woods is no stranger to bigotry or controversy. The actor may have an amazing voice, but whenever he opens his mouth (or Twitter) to share his views … it’s a disaster.
This time, James Woods tried to blast a gay romance film over the age gap between its protagonists, digging into some age old anti-gay rhetoric in the process.
Armie Hammer and Amber Tamblyn replied, exposing Woods’ hypocrisy and accusing him of being a total creep.
So, Call Me By Your Name is a film based on a novel by the same name.
Wikipedia describes the film’s plot:
“A young man named Elio, living in Italy during the 1980s, meets Oliver, an academic who has come to stay at his parents’ villa, and a passionate relationship develops between them, as they bond over their sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the landscape.”
Elio is played by Timothee Chalamet and Oliver is played by Armie Hammer.
The film won’t come out until November, but both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic give the film 98%, in both cases more or less signifying “universal acclaim.”
The only real source of controversy for anyone who isn’t gay or antisemtic is the age range of the relationship in the film.
Elio is 17 and Oliver is 24.
Now, I’m personally American enough that I’d give that relationship some side-eye. 17 and 20? That’s the age gap of classmates and fine by me (whether it’s legal varies from state to state). 18 and 25? Same age range as in the film but the younger person’s 18 (which is very Ameri-centric, I know).
(I do believe that some consent laws should be adjusted; there are some frightening stories of people being arrested on their 18th birthdays for dating classmates because the other teen’s parents just don’t like them — but that’s a whole other mess. I still recommend following whatever laws are on the books in anyone’s state or country)
But the film is set in Italy, where someone being 17 isn’t an issue.
A few people are trying to make this film an issue anyway.
One man, an author who is a gay conservative, tweeted about the age difference.
James Woods quoted the man’s tweet, chiming in:
“As they quietly chip away the last barriers of decency. #NAMBLA“
“NAMBLA” is the acronym once used by a group of pedophiles during the 1990s. The group no longer exists, but they were trying to promote their desire to sexually prey upon children as somehow acceptable.
There’s a long and vicious history of anti-gay groups trying to tie gay rights (and LGBT rights in general, but especially gay men) to efforts by pedophiles to avoid prosecution.
(It’s a false equivalency; just like how advocates who want to legalize marijuana aren’t the same as people who want to make murder legal, because one of those activities involves a victim and the other does not)
It is also true that a lot of anti-gay rhetoric tries to conflate gay men with pedophiles.
(It’s a deliberate smear tactic; also most perpetrators of child sexual abuse are straight men)
James Woods recently argued that he has gay friends and, therefore, couldn’t possibly be homophobic. Dredging up a comparison like that doesn’t help his argument.
What happened next, though, was kind of amazing.
Armie Hammer came out in defense of his film.
He quoted James Woods’ tweet, saying:
“Didn’t you date a 19 year old when you were 60…….?”
Again, that’s totally legal and also should be legal.
But a man who dated someone 41 years his junior surely has no business shaming a 7-year age gap between legal adults.
(A 17-year-old is considered an adult for purposes of sex and consent in most Western countries, including Italy)
And then it got better.
Well … worse.
Actress Amber Tamblyn shared an anecdote from her own experience with James Woods.
She tweeted her claim to Armie Hammer:
“James Woods tried to pick me and my friend up at a restaurant once. He wanted to take us to Vegas. ‘I’m 16’ I said. ‘Even better’ he said.”
That is well and truly gross.
Mistakenly flirting with someone who’s a minor … shouldn’t happen, but some venues seem like places that would only have adults.
A guy that old doubling down after learning her age … is horrifying.
James Woods described the accusation as “fiction” in a tweet.
A software engineer shared a screencap of a conversation that she’d had with an unnamed woman who said that James Woods had tried to pick her up when she was still in high school, around 2001.
If these accusations are true, this sounds like an alarming pattern of behavior, because James Woods was not the “slightly older peer” of either of these women, then or now.
People in glass houses probably shouldn’t throw stones, huh?