People need better protection in the entertainment industry

TW: sexual abuse, sexual harassment and domestic violence. If these are triggering for you proceed with caution or skip this post. 

 

Hollywood star
Image: iStock

There is something sick in the entertainment industry in the US, UK and Australia that needs to be addressed.

As you probably know, producer Harvey Weinstein has finally had to step down after women alleged that he sexually harassed women over thirty years. There were allegations of massages e and public masturbation in front of an unwilling participant. New York Times said that Weinstein paid off complainants for years.

 

I won’t go into who knew what, etc. I want to go to a deeper question: what the hell is going on in the entertainment industries in Australia, US and UK? The Weinstein saga is the latest that has been exposed. You’ve had allegations against comedian Bill Crosby, JImmy Saville in the UK and Hey Dad star Robert Hughes to name a few.

It’s not just the movie industry that has been affected either. On Sunday, TV personality Kerri – Anne Kennerly told Sunday Night about domestic violence she suffered at the hands of her ex – husband who was a record producer. It stopped when Kennerly held a loaded gun and threatened to pull the trigger. She then escaped.

 

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Also, former glam rock pioneer, Paul Gadd (better known as Gary Glitter), was convicted of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault of a ten  year – old girl, a thirteen year – old and twelve year – old back in the 1970’s. He was convicted of the rapes and in the 1990’s, was also charged with child pornography possession.

 

These are the incidents I can think of. No doubt there are countless more. My question is, why have children and women (and no doubt some men), who all they wanted to do was become a performer or see a performer they admired (as the Glitter case), only to be abused? What is with that?

More importantly, what has changed to protect those who are vulnerable? What can be done? Last night on ABC’s The Drum, writer, Jamila Rizvi made a point about how too few women become producers and how the movie industry is dominated by men. Maybe she has a point. But what about attitudes? What is the ethos in the entertainment industry when it comes to protecting children and not having anyone assaulted?

 

People should be able to follow their dreams. They should be able to do that without fear of abuse. Children and teenagers who have a particular passion for performing arts and have the opportunity should be able to do so without some sleaze taking advantage of them. That also goes for young people who see their heroes perform. Enough’s enough.

If this post has brought up any issues for you, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 – RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Blue Knot Foundation (formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse): 1300 657 380.

Feel free to put numbers/ contact details of any services in your area if you’re not from Australia. The more people we can help who’ve suffered sexual assault, childhood trauma, etc the better). 

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Frances Abbott has made an advertisement campaigning for same – sex marriage

Yes!!!!

Daughter of former Australian Prime Minister, Frances Abbott, has vocally supported the legalisation of same – sex marriage in Australia, notably on Instagram. Now, Australian Marriage Equality has launched an ad featuring her. It’s brilliant!

Abbott did a brilliant job at explaining why she supports same – sex marriage. Her reason? Love and family. She spoke so fondly of her aunt Tony Abbott’s younger sister), Sydney Liberal Councillor, Christine Forster, who is in a long – term same – sex relationship.

This is what the same – sex marriage campaign should have been about from the start — love and family! Finally, there’s no ideological cat fight. Not left versus right. Just love. And LGBTQ+ people.

This is what about the “Yes” campaign should have been about all along! Instead, it’s been hijacked by ideologues, who’ve, lets’ honest, made the rate of favour for same – sex marriage has slipped to just over fifty percent. It’s become a left versus right issue. For too long, the campaign has been divisive and not something that some supporters of the LGBTQ+ community want to be associated with.

Is it too late, though? We’ll have to wait another month and see. There are no guarantees, but, as I wrote above, the “Yes” are still in front. Just. Hopefully, this advertisement can curb a further decline in support.

A few months ago, Australian Marriage Equality launched another advertisement, featuring former president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and author, Professor Kerryn Phelps.

While it isn’t a bad advertisement, I feel that it combated ideology, rather than dealing with just dealing with LGBTQ+ people. It was about countering the Coalition for Marriage advertisement, rather than aiming at people’s hearts. How many people really care about the politics, especially those who really don’t care either way (the people that need to be convinced)?

This is what made Frances Abbott’s advertisement so great. She has even said that she doesn’t care about politics. So, she talked about someone she obviously loves very much, her aunt. She said that she wanted to see her aunt happy and equal under Australian law. Again, this is what the  “Yes” campaign should’ve been about from the start.

What’s more, Abbott didn’t attack anyone; not her father, not Coalition for Marriage, no one. This is great, in my view.

 

Last night, Daily Telegraph’s Sharri Markson told Andrew Bolt (who was impressed by the advertisement), that it was good that Professor Kerryn Phelps did one of the “Yes” advertisement as it may encourage older people to support the campaign, where as Abbott’s campaign advertisement would likely preach to the converted. Maybe Markson has a point. I still think that Abbott’s focus on love and family, rather than combating the  Coalition for Marriage and the like may have won more hearts. It’s just a pity it was made so late in the campaign.

In regard to the vote, do whatever you think is fair. If you do feel strongly about the issue one way or another, vote and have your survey in by November 7.

 

 

Mamamia celebrates 10 years!

Article: MAMAMIA TURNS 10: This is the original team who started it all
Mamamia celebrates ten years since it’s atart by founder Mia Freedman

Lifestyle, feminism and news site, Mamamia celebrates ten years since its launch by founder, Mia Freedman. What an achievement!

I’ve been reading articles on Mamamia probably for the past, three, four years. Some of the articles have been brilliant, and, as I’ve written here before, I’ve really admired the advocacy that the team at Mamamia do.

Mamamia has continued a spark in me to continue with this blog. Mia Freedman, along with the other columnists, have been a great source of inspiration for much of my writing, as you may have noticed by the number of times I’ve limked or talked about the articles. Along with columnists like Andrew Bolt, I love how Mamamia inspires me to respond, to get out thoughts and feelings I have about things that have gone one in the world.

 

I love how, along with the regular columnists, Mamamia allows other s to pitch in ideas, and have their own articles published on the site. As I’ve written here before, the one that touched me the most was Jo Qualmann’s article on asexuality in 2014. It was great that they contributed to asexuality visibility and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

 

Screenshot of story featured in Mamamia on asexuality in 2014,written by Jo Qualmann
Jo Qualmann had a story published in Mamamia on her experiences being asexual.

 

They have also done a great job at raising awareness around disability. I first realised this when they published an article on disabled parking. While I don’t drive myself, I think it was great how they allowed the issue to be raised, by a person affected by it. Most importantly, they’ve given people with a disability and their loved ones the voice.

I think Mamamia has also done a great job in the same – sex marriage debate as well. I’ve loved how they’ve let gay people and their family members tell their personal stories and how the debate affects them. I think that’s great. To be honest, I believe there has been too little of that in the mainstream media. The fact that the staff at Mamamia have given LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones a voice is something that is worthy of a great hug!

 

Back in the ‘1980’s ABBA claimed Thank you for the music. Well, I’d like to say to Mia Freedman and the team, thank you for the words. Thank you for the advocacy and inspiration to live and write authentically.

Happy ten year anniversary and here’s to ten more!

10 years candles
Image: Canva

 

Tell me, what have been your favourite articles you’ve read on Mamamia? 

 

The misreporting and omissions in the media on same – sex marriage need to stop

Sunday Herald Sun17 September2017
I think the media plays a role in what side of the same – sex marriage wins or loses.

The debate on same – sex marriage is still going on as the postal surveys are being sent out nationwide.

A win for the ‘Yes’ side is not guaranteed.

Yesterday in Sunday’s Herald Sun a study by ‘No’ campaigners predicted that there was a million vote swing against the ‘Yes’ vote. According to the stats, if that’s the case, the ‘Yes’ vote will still get up, but only just. Only a few hundred thousand less, then it’s gone.

Million vote swing claim in same - sex polls article Sunday Herald Sun
Story in ‘Sunday’s Herald Sun’ reports that poll estimates that there is up to a million vote swing to oppose same – sex marriage

If the ‘Yes’ side doesn’t get up, I’ll personally blame the media.

The liberal/ Left and conservative media have been pathetic during this campaign. Commentary, for the most part, have been deliberately skewed and extremely selective on what they are willing to report, condemn and support.

The earliest example of poor journalism (or in this case ‘interviewing’), that saw the demise of the ‘Yes’ campaign in my view, was The Project’s ‘interview’ with former tennis champion, Margaret Court.

This was the first of a number of extreme media biases that ended up painting the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters in a bad light.

More recently, ABC’s Insiders allegedly promoted Tim Minchin’s parody of Peter Allen’s I still call Australia home, titled I still call Australia home -o – phobic (look it up on YouTube if you want. I won’t post it here). While opit got some praise in the media and elsewhere, there was a fair bit of backlash on social media due to it’s crudeness.

On a more serious note, is the misreporting of incidents between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners. One example is Channel 9’s coverage of a standoff between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners in Brisbane, in which, a meeting attendee was falsely accused of deliberately using his car as a weapon to mow down ‘Yes’ campaigners, in which protester Jessica Payne — who Today Show interviewed. Andrew Bolt pointed out that Payne was not injured by the driver, but tripping on a gutter.

There was more misreporting by the media on another confrontation happened at a barbeque set by a group of ‘It’s OK to say no’ campaigners. Contrary to the media reports, it was members of  the ‘Yes’ side that was causing the trouble, not ‘No’ campaigners.

Talking about ‘No’ side causing trouble, I’ve been incredibly disappointed about the lack of reporting and condemnation when the shoe is on the other foot. I noticed this for the first time last year when bomb threats were made against Melbourne’s LGBT radio station, Joy 94.9FM. At the time, I looked up multiple Facebook and news sites. There was no article ddon Mamamia, nothing on The Project and, most disappointingly, Andrew Bolt did not mention itvat all, on his TV show, on radio, in the papers or his blog.

There have been other events that haven’t been reported or condemned, for example, a Greek Orthodox priest saying that gays should be shot on Fatger’s Day this year. Another, more frightening example happened in Dubbo, New South Wales where a man was arrested after he threatened a 14 – year – old girl after she posted her support for same – sex marriage. Plus, very few from the mainstream media is pointing out that Madeline’s former contractor, Madlin Sims,  has faced abuse over  the incident with Madeline.

Plus, I’ve also read that parents of LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ celebrities, like Magda Szubanski have been abused on social media. The abuse has been vile, including the false link that LGBTQ+ people are paedophiles. Author, Anthony Venn – Brown recently put his foot down and took to his Facebook page, warning that anyone who suggested a link between being LGBTQ+ and paedophilia were at risk of being permanently banned from his pages.

Screenshot of warning from author, Anthony Venn - Brown
Anthony Venn – Brown often takes criticism and insults on the chin, but has put his foot down when LGBTQ+ people are compared to paedophiles

 

So, from now on, can I make a plea to both sides of the media, please report factually. And please condemn ‘Yes’ supporters when it’s due and don’t ignore when it’s the ‘No’ side. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he wants respectful debate. A bit of accurate reporting and fair commentary might help.

Anti same – sex marriage ad just reinforced old arguments

The Coalition For Marriage has released Australia’s first televised advertisement against same – sex marriage.

I don’t think it’s gone down too well, to be honest. Last night on Sky News’ Head’s Up both Chris Kenny and Herald Sun’s Rita Panahi criticised the ad for being off topic; focusing on the controversial Safe Schools program, rather than same – sex marriage itself. I think that’s a valid point.

In a way, I’m glad that they’ve had a ad for the ‘no’ campaign. Silencing opponents will not do anyone any good in the long run, especially the LGBTQ+ community. To be honest, they didn’t do a good job though. They regurgitated all the tired arguments that Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton has been pulled up for numerous times.

I agree with Paul Murray and Patricia Karvelas (couldn’t find the video) when they pulled up Shelton for muddying issues like Safe Schools and linking it to the marriage debate. If Shelton and Coalition for Marriage want to oppose same – sex marriage, then just say so. If anything, it’s a moral thing for them. Lyle Shelton opposes same – sex marriage because of his faith, as do others. Why not just say that?

 

Having said that, some of the reaction to the Coalition for Marriage ad and the Australian Christian Lobby is NOT OK. Here are some tweets Andrew Bolt exposed on his blog today and that I’ve found myself (warning: coarse language).

Along with these and Tim Minchin’s I Still Call Australia Home parody, I Still Call Australia Home – ophobic, my heart sinks. This is the WRONG WAY TO ARGUE THE CASE! You are scaring potential ‘yes’ voters away with your vitriol. Enough is enough!

 

I actually do have a gripe with conservatives with this too. To Bob Katter and the like – the LGBTQ+ community are not some giant conspiracy theory. No, they are not out to turn your children LGBTQ+. Most aren’t wanting to ‘steal’ the word ‘marriage’. They just want the same rights, and yes, label. Heterosexuals can still have it, so chill.

Many, dare I say most of LGBTQ+ who want to marry a same – sex partner just want to do that — marry their same – sex partner who they may have loved for years. As I’ve demonstrated, yes, there are people who have been abusive and put forward some bizarre statements on wanting to ‘destroy marriage’, but I’m sure the vast majority of LGBTQ+ people are not like this.

I’m not going to say how anyone should vote in this upcoming postal vote. All I ask is that both sides be respectful. Also, if anyone is struggling during this debate, please, please get help. If you see someone distressed, please comfort them and allow them to open up to you. It’s not easy, frankly, for either side at the moment. Let’s just hope we can keep the next couple of months relatively civil.

For those who are struggling, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or visit the Beyond Blue website.

Kudos to Mamamia for giving LGBTQ people a voice in the same – sex marriage debate

The debate on same – sex marriage has raged on, although going down recently just a bit. At times, I’ve wondered, where are the voices of the LGBTQ+ community and who’s listening? I’ve got to say I’ve gotten qannoyed when comedian Magda Szubanski and Senator Penny Wong were criticised for expressing their hurt, both as gay women, and how their lives are debated, and, at times denigrated.

That said, I truly believe that the LGBTQ+ community really owes appreciation to our allies and the platforms that do  give LGBTQ+ peop,ea voice. One platform that has been a repeat supporter of the LGBTQ+ community is the women and news site, Mamamia.

I’ve written before how they have helped the asexual community become more visible. I think I nearly cried when I read the entry from Jo Qualmann back in 2014.

Screenshot of story featured in Mamamia on asexuality in 2014,written by Jo Qualmann
Jo Qualmann had a story published in Mamamia on her experiences being asexual.

But, this time, it’s all about gays and lesbians and how they feel about the upcoming plebiscite (memo to Mia Freedman: how about homnoromantics as well, like the Huffington Post Australia did a few months ago. Just a thought.) Semantics aside, as I’ve written before, Freedman deserves a hug for her tireless advocacy and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people.

Some of the posts may seem a bit too passive aggressive, I think that overall, the staff at Mamamia should be applauded for allowing LGBTQ+ people to be raw and honest about their experiences and their views on same – sex marriage. In doing this, I believe they speak for, not just for themselves, but for those LGBTQ+ people who  do struggle, who do feel vulnerable, those, when they see the debate played out in the media, it does make them cry (before anyone jumps up and down, yes, there’s been vitriol on the other side and that needs to stop. Right now).

 

Same – sex marriage aside for a second, (again), I’ve loved the way that Freedman has supported LGBTQ+ people in her own life. The way Mia Freedman responded to Rosie Waterland when she came out as bisexual last year was so beautiful, it was almost a tear – jerker. In this uncertain and emotional climate, I think it’s important for LGBTQ+ people to know that there are people who care, who stand up for their rights and allow them to speak freely and be heard. It’s one thing to say that you’ll vote for same – sex marriage and to speak against anti – LGBTQ hate (and for those who do, I sincerely thank you).  But I think it’s another thing to allow LGBTQ+ people themselves to own their voice and to express how they feel about the nature of same – sex marriage debate and the upcoming postal vote/ plebiscite.

So, big hug for Mia Freedman and all the team at Mamamia. Please continue what you’re doing. Please keep giving a voice to members of the LGBTQ+ community about what’s going on right now. I don’t think you realise the impact it has. *Big hug*.

Were the homophobic posters fake?

Yesterday, I criticised Andrew Bolt for not criticising homophobic posters allegedly plastered over Sydney and Melbourne. Well, today, he has commented on it — to raise doubts about the claim.

To be fair, he said that he wasn’t passing judgment, just a bit wary, which I get. Maybe I should have done the same thing?

I shouldn’t be so hard on him, should I?

 

For Sydney – ites and Melbournians, have you seen any of the alleged homophobic posters in either city?