Hollywood’s Infamous “Casting Couch”

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood scandal, I think it is important to shed light on how common such cases of sexual assault are in this industry. Hollywood, in fact, has a long history with this kind of behavior, which is why the idea of the “casting couch” has long been associated with Hollywood. This dichotomy between young women who are trying to make it in a deeply competitive industry, and powerful, wealthy studio executives and Hollywood elite in general has long plagued show business.

Darryl F. Zannuck, who was a major Hollywood producer and studio head during the ’30s, popularized this concept, as he was notorious for taking young aspiring actresses to his couch. It was reported that he would take women to his office on a consistent basis during his time at Fox Century City. It is reported that Old Hollywood stars Natalie Wood and Joan Crawford, who charmed audiences with their movies and demeanors, had experiences with other producers and the infamous casting couch in order to land movie roles and advance their film careers.

In more recent times, a number of actresses have revealed their experiences with the casting couch and offers that they have received from powerful Hollywood elite. Actresses Megan Fox, Charlize Theron, and Lisa Rinna have described instances in where they were pressured by producers and key players in Hollywood, who tried to lure them into the bedroom. Actress Kate Beckinsale describes how she was only 17 years old when Harvey Weinstein invited her to his room at the Savoy Hotel and met her wearing only a bathrobe, a tactic that is all too familiar to Weinstein’s victims.

Not only are women on the receiving end of the perverse amount of sexual assault that goes in Hollywood, but men are as well. And not only this, but allegations of ongoing pedophilia within the industry on behalf of powerful producers and studio executives are rampant. Thus, it is clear that there is a problem within this industry.

The fact that so many people stayed silent on Harvey Weinstein when what he was doing was well known perpetuates the idea that sexual assault is a normal part of the Hollywood culture. And, this of course does not apply only to Hollywood, as sexual assault is frequent in many other workplaces. For example, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, both of Fox News, were fired because they sexually assaulted women. Politicians like Bob Filner and Arnold Schwarzenegger assaulted women. And then, there is the infamous Bill Cosby, who would drug and rape his victims.

Thus, there is obviously a problem within workplaces and American society in general. Far too many times, people in positions of power use that to take advantage of their victims and render them silent. The looming threat of victims losing their job, not being believed or being ostracized from certain segments of society all too often keep victims from speaking out against their abusers.

Featured Image: retrieved from here

Alexa Navarro

Staff member at KCR College Radio & staff writer at The Daily Aztec. Journalism and Political Science double major at SDSU.