Hollywood Hypocrisy: Celebrating Pederasty While Grandstanding Against Sexual Assault
By Mary E. McAlister, Esq. & Judith A. Reisman, Ph.D.
In a plot twist that rivals anything penned by the most astute screenwriters, the some of the same Hollywood elite who are proclaiming that “Time’s Up” for sexual assault in the industry are celebrating pederasty. As sexual assault and harassment allegations continue to mount against media giants such as Harvey Weinstein, and Hollywood elites wear “Time’s Up” pins and black at the Golden Globes and white roses at the Grammy Awards in “solidarity” with sexual assault victims, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated a film celebrating pederasty for four Academy Awards. While Kevin Spacey was ousted from television and movie roles for allegations of engaging in sodomy with underage boys, the actors, directors and screenwriters of Call Me By Your Name will be walking the red carpet on “Oscar night” hoping to go home with one of the golden trophies.
Reviewers have lauded Call Me By Your Name as a “romantic marvel” and “sumptuous love story” in The Atlantic and “an erotic triumph” in The New Yorker. Lost amid the accolades about a “fairy tale” like portrayal of “young love” is the fact that the movie portrays an adult man engaging in sodomy with a teenage boy. In a more realistic assessment, a Boston Globe commentator said, Call Me By Your Name “is a deftly directed, beautifully photographed, wonderfully acted master class in sexual predation and abuse.” The commentator, herself a teenage victim of sexual abuse, warned that “[i]n real life and in the movie, these shouldn’t be thought of as sexy coming-of-age romances, deliciously painful trysts from which both partners emerge better for having known each other. When an adult grooms a teenager and engages her or him in a sexual relationship, it’s neither romantic nor consensual.”
Indeed, the stories told by Kevin Spacey’s alleged victims and child stars such as Corey Haim and Corey Feldman read more like horror stories than romance novels. So too do the stories told in The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon, in which Moira Greyland, daughter of science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley and numismatist Walter Breen relates her own abuse by her parents and firsthand accounts of pederastic abuse by some of her convicted child sex offender father’s many victims. One of those victims, “Nick,” described being sexually abused by Breen and others after being deceived into thinking that Breen offered the fatherly affection that Nick longed for. Nick became a drug addict who hated himself because of “the degradation he had experienced under the manipulation of Walter and his ‘friends’.” (The Last Closet, Chapter 25). He was one of the few who could recount his abuse, as many are dead, have disappeared or are so traumatized that they cannot speak.
Other similar stories of abuse at the hands of Hollywood elite are documented in Amy Berg’s film, Open Secret, which, unlike Call Me By Your Name, received no Oscar nominations and no glowing reviews from The New Yorker or The Atlantic. In fact, the true life account of sexual abuse of teenage boys by some of the most powerful men in Hollywood has failed to even garner a distribution contract and has been relegated to viewing only on the internet.
The accolades surrounding Call Me By Your Name reflect the continuing legacy of Alfred Kinsey, who is credited with launching the sexual revolution with the release of his book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948. Kinsey devoted an entire chapter in that book to “Childhood Sexuality” and displayed tables of “data” purportedly showing infants as young as two months having “orgasms” when “stimulated” by a “partner.” It was later revealed that the “data” came from serial child rapists, including a Nazi, but not before Kinsey’s conclusions that “children are sexual from birth” and unharmed by sexual contact with adults were firmly ensconced in all elite cultural institutions. Now, three generations later, movie reviewers, distributors and performers perceive nothing wrong with men sodomizing young boys, choosing to glamorize sexual assault as romantic young love and then reward themselves with Academy Award nominations, all in hopes of normalizing the behavior and marginalizing those who object, a central theme of Kinsey’s work.
Universities continue to pursue Kinsey’s agenda, including by sponsoring events such as the University of Michigan’s “Pederastic Kinship: Deidealizing Queer Studies,” seeking to “dignify and redeem” this “relational form.” The event is not the first time the university has sponsored events sympathetic to the “relational form” of pederasty. In 1995, the university hosted a screening of Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys, which featured “anecdotes from assortment of men who belong to the New York-based North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).” A writer for the Michigan Daily said “The film draws the viewer into a world of sex, but more importantly, a world of love.” The writer concluded by saying, “Granted, this film is shocking. But, these men do exist. They have real feelings and honest intentions, and are, at the very least, deserving of an hour of our attention.” NAMBLA received that and more as it continued to push for the end of age of consent laws even as the group was more and more marginalized.
While NAMBLA’s notoriety has waned, the underlying effort to “dignify and redeem this relational form” continue as seen in Call Me By Your Name’s acclaim and by such events as the “B4UAct” conference, which Dr. Reisman attended in 2011. Participants called themselves “minor attracted persons,” discussed ways to reduce the stigma of pedophilic activity and attributed Americans’ fear for child safety to a puritanical “sex panic.”
Clearly, some in Hollywood are seeking to do their part to reduce the stigma and relieve America of its puritanical sex panic by glamorizing and nominating a portrayal of pederasty while making every effort to bury the truth of the “Open Secret.”