Hollywood is overrun with actors, producers, writers and directors accused of horrible behavior, and the debate about what to do with them is endless. Some people take a “separate the art from the artist” approach. As Helena Bonham Carter recently asked, “Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices?”
The answer, of course, is “of course.” It is entirely reasonable to ban a person for sexual practices that violate the rights of others. We routinely do this using an instrument of justice known as “prison.” Certain people, many of whom no doubt consider themselves geniuses, are currently behind bars because of behavior that harmed others. As they should be.
But while the whole “prison” approach works great for obvious villains like Harvey Weinstein, what about the legions of men who have been convicted in the court of public opinion, but not in any actual court? Their careers are in limbo as we collectively decide how long to stay repulsed by them. Should they become a hotel concierge? Should they starve? Or can they, like Kevin Spacey, play a disembodied voice? If not, how will they afford to bribe their children into college?
I am here today to present a wise new proposal that will allow them to continue earning a living without regaining any fame, power or influence.
I propose, first, a Hollywood Court to determine a man’s guilt or innocence. (Maybe a few women will be charged, but let’s be honest.) If a man is accused of wrongdoing, he can stand up and dramatically assert, via the social media venue of his choice, “I want my day in Hollywood Court!” The court will function just like regular court, with witnesses, lawyers, judges, and plaintiffs, though they will probably be better looking and weirder than the general population. Everyone who has an IMDB page will be required to serve as a juror, every year.
Some men will quickly be found innocent, and will be awarded APPROVED BY HOLLYWOOD COURT! badges that they can post on the social platform of their choice to literally signal their virtue. (Stay out of trouble, guys!)
Others will be convicted. Once convicted, the Hollywood Convict will be sentenced to Hollywood Jail, which is not to be confused with Movie Jail, or just “jail.” What is Hollywood Jail? Hollywood Jail is a kind of career hell in which men can still work, but can only play truly horrible parts.
“That sounds great!” I hear some terrible men saying. “I can play guys like Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader?” No, you creep, you may not play charmers like Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader. I’m talking about truly irredeemable, disgusting, truly unpleasant people — people so awful that audiences wonder, “Who would agree to take on that role?” I’m sure you can think of some. I propose a Registry of Undesirable Roles. It will offer hideous parts that no reputable actor would normally take, for fear of the indelible harm they might do his career. Roles like “Innards Eater #3” and “Dog Puncher.”
The actors will be paid the SAG minimums, and will never be furloughed from Hollywood Jail to do “humanizing” interviews or explain how their character has some redeeming qualities, deep down. No. The roles will have to speak for themselves. The actors will be forced to work far away from the rest of the cast, in front of a green screen, in Torrance. If they need to appear with another actor, a new kind of Intimacy Coordinator will stand at the ready – the Cattle Prod Coordinator.
Of course, Hollywood Court will have what Hollywood calls “second position” to Actual Court. If Actual Court “goes,” there will be no need for the criminal to also go to Hollywood Court. Obviously, Hollywood Court is outranked by any Actual Court, whether that Actual Court is Los Angeles Superior Court, or any other real court in another jurisdiction with the ability to imprison criminals. If Actual Court can deal with a bad actor by locking him up, that’s obviously ideal for everyone. Do that.