Backlight: Hollywood Is a Hellscape But There’s Still Some Cool Projects to Look Forward To

The New York Times published a major investigative piece this week exposing decades of sexual harassment by Miramax head, Harvey Weinstein. NYT used a combination of named and unnamed sources, internal documents, and legal filings from settled claims to piece together a story of thirty years  of using his position to manoeuvre women into uncomfortable situations, sexually assault them, and to coerce sex.

In response to the piece, Weinstein initially apologized, saying “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” But by Friday he was threatening to sue and had lined up Lisa Bloom — who previously represented women against Bill O’Reilly — to defend him. But (yeah, there’s another but) by Saturday afternoon Bloom, along with fellow Weinsten crisis team member Lanny Davis, had quit.

Bloom’s mother, lawyer Gloria Allred, might have had something to do with that.

Well that’s embarrassing.

Also this week, two women came forward about being sexually harassed by Honest Trailers creator, Andy Signore. They say that Signore made inappropriate comments and repeatedly attempted to sexually assault women working alongside him at Defy Media. In her statement April Dawn said that Signore threatened to fire her boyfriend, a Screen Junkies engineer, if she went public. Emma Bower, who said that Signore joked about masturbating to photos to her, was moved to speak up after the Weinstein allegations dropped.

Defy Media, who owns the Screen Junkies YouTube channel that hosts Honest Trailers, said that they have a zero tolerance policy with regards to sexual harassment. “We have been conducting a thorough investigation into allegations made against Andy Signore and are preparing to respond to those allegations and take appropriate action.” It’s not clear if this is a new investigation or one spurred by the HR complaint that Dawn says she and two other women filed about Signore.

From Joss Whedon, to Devin Faraci (again), to Harry Knowles, to the whole of Fantastic Fest and now to Weinstein and Signore, it’s been a rough few months for the grossoids of Hollywood. I can only hope that women keep speaking up and exposing men who abuse their position to abuse women.

Hollywood Responds to the Vegas Shooting

It’s common to see messages of support and pleas for gun control from celebrities in the wake of mass shootings. But last Sunday’s mass shooting in Vegas spurred the Punisher and American Horror Story teams to do more than that.

Angry white vigilante show, Punisher, which is set to premiere in November, cancelled much of its promotional plans for this weekend’s New York Comic Con. In a joint statement Marvel and Netflix said that “We are stunned and saddened by this week’s senseless act in Las Vegas. After careful consideration, Netflix and Marvel have decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for Marvel’s The Punisher to participate in New York Comic Con.Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and those affected by this tragedy.”

Meanwhile, American Horror Story: Cult has recut an upcoming episode that deals with a mass shooting to move most of the violence off screen. Citing victims’ rights, show runner Ryan Murphy said that “now is not the week to have something explosive or incendiary in the culture because someone who was affected might watch that and it could trigger something.”

Netflix’s Marsha P. Johnson Movie Stolen?

Activist and director Reina Gosset says that the new Marsha P. Johnson film on Netflix was made using her research, her pitch, and her team — but without her. Gossett says that the new David France documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, is based on work she submitted to an arts foundation in hopes of a grant. And France just so happened to be a visiting fellow of the centre at the time. He fell in love with the idea — but for himself.

“David got inspired to make this film from a grant application video that Sasha [Wortzel] and I made and sent to Kalamazoo/Arcus Foundation social justice center while he was visiting,” Gossett wrote in a statement, shared today on Twitter by author and activist Janet Mock. “He told the people who worked there — I shit you not — that he should be the one to do this film.”

According to France, though, he’d been researching Johnson since 1992 with the goal of an eventual documentary. He says that he reached out to Gossett’s team to ensure they weren’t “duplicating efforts.” Netflix has yet to make a statement about the controversy.

Cool Projects by Cool People


  • A record number of countries have submitted films for Oscar consideration in the Foreign Language category. Ninety! Two! countries, including first time entrants Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal, and Syria, have submitted films. You can find the full list here.
  • Bob’s Burgers will hit theatres in 2020! 2oth Century Fox announced Wednesday that a feature length film was in the works. It’s being helmed by series creator Loren Bouchard and will start the show’s original cast.
Megan Purdy

Megan Purdy

Publisher of all this. Megan was born in Toronto. She's still there. Philosopher, space vampire, heart of a killer.