A long post, but I hope you read it. 🙂 I actually wanted to write something about wife-beating ballet star Peter Martins (who I – as a young ballet dancer – grew up knowing was abusive, so why is the media so far behind?!), but at the moment I need to say this.
It has taken me a few days to decide what I wanted to say about this. I know many of you will have no idea who Craig McLachlan is, as most of the people who read this blog seem to be from North America. He was a soap opera star in Australia in the 1980s, but the real reason he is famous is because Australian soaps are huge in Britain, and he starred alongside Kylie Minogue onscreen.
What is important about this is that the sea of Harvey Weinstein-style accusations of sexual assault against him that have come out.
And the reason I am writing this post is that many Australians I have come across have DEFENDED THE MAN because he is a national icon. I am so proud of my mother, who two days ago got into an argument with a smug Salvation Army man who was publicly defending sex abusers and ranting about “freedom of speech”!
There are multiple accusations from many women – and men – who have said McLachlan – starring in a major musical until a few days ago – molested them onstage as well as behind the scenes. There are accusations – and records of accusations – McLachlan physically threatened people when they complained. The police are looking into multiple assaults.
I grew up in the theatre, and then worked backstage for years afterwards. I KNOW how these things are. I have, or my mother – who worked as a professional wardrobe mistress in the theatre and, sometimes, the circus – has worked with very famous people. A-list stars: Olivia Newton-John (She IS as nice as she seems). “Weird Al” Yankovic. Barry Humphries (Dame Edna Everage). Hugh Jackman. Etc. They were great people – I am not accusing anyone of anything! – but I bloody well know what it is like to see someone famous, or even just a bit famous (there’s a particular former ballet dancer, turned Broadway star, turned reality show host I am thinking of) get away with anything they want.
I have watched it happen. I know the anger of seeing a celebrity worshipped in the press, and featured on every second magazine cover, but knowing he is an absolute arsehole behind the scenes.
And: knowing nobody cares what you say about them. They’re too famous to get in trouble for anything they do.
Going onto Facebook and watching random “Aussie blokes” I’m friends with because of high school or college or university congregate to mock “washed-up chicks” who “just want to further their careers” by complaining about being molested by McLachlan in front of two-thousand people…
It makes it hard to review all these books where almost all men are allegedly feminist! I certainly do not find it realistic!
I could type out many of my own experiences of sexual harassment and assault. I could make dozens of scary statements about my experiences with men everywhere from England to India to Italy to Korea. But it would be a too-long list to read.
I could write about the multiple women I know who have been raped (and murdered). I could write about my time as a witness for the police as someone expected to testify against a rapist. And – yes – by God, it was a genuine rape case, but one of MANY that never saw justice.
But: what’s the point?
Has #metoo achieved anything? Because all I’m seeing is men so angry about the cause they hate women more than ever. And I’m seeing middle-aged women who used to watch Craig McLachlan on Neighbours, who are so upset their teen idol might be a violent sex abuser, they’d rather blame the victims than the man.
I am NOT saying #metoo should be ignored. It is important. I just wish the standard reaction was not to hate women more.