Lately there has been so much in the news about how those in the biz were objectified and allegedly taken advantage of. I say allegedly not out of disrespect, but to be mindful that those who are accused are innocent until proven guilty.
I read the article about Colton Haynes and how being gay affected his earlier acting career. He was told he needed to be more manly in order to be believed as an actor. In the article he spoke of his relationship with a 40-year-old man at the age of 14. And as I read it, all that resonated with me was how in the heck was this in any way considered OK? Even as an adjunct part of “his life story,” why was that 40-year-old man not considered a pedophile?
I was dumbfounded as I continued reading….and quite perplexed why this, his relationship with a grown man, was simply part of the article, typed with the same sincerity as something as innocuous as someone saying, “Hey, it was going to rain tomorrow, so I covered up the patio furniture.”
Back in the 1990s, I was an office manager for a company. About that time the internet was becoming accessible to everyone, and with that, certain things became available, aka websites that promoted women and their sexual behavior for all to see. One day I was organizing a pizza party and when the delivery man arrived, he and I brought everything to the luncheon area. I walked into the warehouse to let the guys know that lunch had arrived and as I approached them, I saw that they were watching what I would consider “inappropriate behavior featuring a young woman” on the computer.
I looked at all of them in utter disbelief and said, “Really?” And I told them I wanted them all to know something I had been told by a therapist who was a friend of the family. And then there was complete silence as they waited for me to speak. I told them that they needed to look at it in a different way, that there was a reason this young lady had chosen this profession. And the sadness of this choice was the mere fact that she felt that it was all she was worthy of. But more importantly, that she was someone’s daughter and her self-worth, whether her belief or the belief of her family, was a contributing factor to her choosing that profession and then I said, “Imagine your daughter believing that was her only choice for a job?” And with that said, I walked out of the warehouse.
Later that afternoon, one of the guys who was participating in the watching of the “internet extravaganza” came to my office and knocked on the door, and asked if he could come in. I told him of course, and as he entered, he held his face in his hands and he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think about what we were watching on the internet,” and that he would never be a part of that behavior again. I thanked him and, in my heart, I felt that I had somehow made a difference. The other guys couldn’t look me in the eye for a while, though after about a week, each had apologized.
Recently Holly Madison wrote about her experience of being a Playboy Bunny and sleeping with Hugh Hefner for the first time. She said that after an evening at a club, she and Hefner — who died at the age of 91 in 2017 — went back to the mansion with a group of women.
She said: ‘‘I wasn’t necessarily expecting to have sex that night. I thought it would be more of a first date — even though obviously it’s not a very traditional first date.”
And I wanted to ask her, what part of Playboy Mansion, Playboy Bunny and Playboy magazine featuring naked women did you miss? She then continued that she wanted to move into the mansion. Yes, folks this is same person who shared Hef with other women on the reality show: “The Girls Next Door.” Please note that the word girls is pluralized, not singular. And in many ways, it’s quite sad what she talked about in the article.
My grandfather was friends with Hedy Lamarr – often considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. In her book “Ecstasy And Me: My Life As A Woman,” toward the end it says, “The ladder of success in Hollywood is usually press agent, actor, director, producer, leading man, and you are a star if you sleep with them in that order.” Crude but true, she states. That book was considered quite controversial, and many believed it was the downfall of her career.
I am reminded of one of my interviews post-college. I had sent my resume to a film distribution company. I drove to my interview ready to take on the world. You know the kind of confidence that comes with your mid-20s post-college days, the sheer belief that you can achieve anything. It was a rainy day, and as I parked my car and walked across the street to the building where my interview was to take place, my umbrella blew inside out (due to the very windy weather). As I entered the building, I threw my broken umbrella into the trash in the lobby. I got into the elevator and pressed the button for floor No. 3. I exited the elevator and walked to the office where I was going to be interviewed.
The hiring manager was a young man who looked to be in his mid-30s. He looked at my resume and asked me the requisite questions one does during an interview. When it was over, he started to walk me out and said he was getting ready to go, too. He said, “I’ll walk you out.” As we got to the lobby, I saw that the rain was coming down quite heavily and he asked me where I was parked. I said, “Across the street, in the public parking area.” He offered to give me a ride to my car. As he drove out of the parking structure and across the street, he stopped and I said, “Thank you, I’ll get out here, my car is right over there.” And then what happened was quite disconcerting. He leaned over and tried to kiss me, like French-kiss me. I was mortified and told him to stop. I got out, grabbed my briefcase and purse, and quickly walked to my car. Once I was safely in my car, I locked the doors and started the engine, and I began to cry.
I left immediately and realized how shaken up I was. I found a pay phone (remember it was the late 1980s, no cell phone era). I called my dad and he immediately asked me what was wrong. Through the tears I told him what had happened. He said, “Stay there, I’m on my way, I’m going to pay this man a visit.” I told him the guy had left and he wasn’t worth my dad risking getting into a scuffle. I didn’t get the job…shocker! But truth be told I learned a valuable lesson that day, that my self-worth was infinitely priceless when it came down to picking a profession, regardless of what perceived carrot-dangling was there to entice me.
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.