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Seth Rogen Shouldn't Get Away With Using A Get Out Of Jail Free Card When Talking About James Franco And #MeToo

Welcome to the very first Learn With Rogen Masterclass: How to get away with answering weighty questions without incriminating oneself.

He found a safe space to hide in, and now he’s never coming out.

During a recent interview with Vulture, Seth Rogen spoke at length about everything from his teenage sense of humour, to the alleged North Korean Sony hack – but it was his answers to questions about the #metoo movement and James Franco that proved most interesting.

It comes as no surprise that Rogen and Franco are the closest of pals.

The two have worked together since 1999 when they both appeared in Freaks and Geeks as best friends and high school misfits.

Since then, they’ve starred in more than five movies together including Pineapple Express, The Interview and This Is The End.

Oh, and that really disturbing (yet legitimately funny) Kanye “Bound 2” video parody.

When Vulture journalist, David Marchese, probed Rogen about the recent allegations against Franco (he wore a Time’s Up pin to the Golden Globes before being accused of sexual misconduct by five women and then later skipped the Oscars after all the backlash), Rogen played the safe card.

He cleverly turned the Franco question around to make it about his own role (or lack thereof) in the #metoo movement.

“The truth is that my perspective on this is the least relevant perspective. I’m friends with these people and I’m a dude. All that combined makes me the last person who should be talking about this.”

 

Hmm… let’s break this down for a second.

“The truth is that my perspective on this is the least relevant perspective.”

Not true. Rogen’s perspective is actually pretty important because he has known Franco personally and professionally for nearly 20 years.

In this instance, Rogen as a writer, producer, and actor within the Hollywood community, has the opportunity to put an end to the unspoken bro-code that sees men accepting the inappropriate behaviour of their male peers because you know, that’s just what you do for a mate.

“I’m friends with these people and I’m a dude. All that combined makes me the last person who should be talking about this.”

Again, being a guy with a bit of clout in the industry means Rogen can use what influence he has to try and facilitate change from within and set a new precedent when it comes to toxic bro circles.

Why is all the work and responsibility to sort things out always placed on women? We should be working together, because this isn’t just a women’s problem that should be given to women to fix.

We need men and women with the guts to stand up for what’s right to understand the movement and work on ensuring these incidents never happen again.

Just because Rogen is friends with Franco doesn’t mean his opinion is invalid (regardless of what side of the fence he’s sitting on) – that’s just Rogen trying to squirm his way out of answering the question truthfully, because I think deep down he knows the truth, and he just doesn’t want to admit it.

It’s an unfortunate fact of the world that sometimes our friends cross a line, and yes, it really sucks, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a good chance they’ve probably done some sh*tty things that they need to be called on.

Why do we continue to make excuses for our mates? Why don’t we accept they might not be the people we want them to be?

It’s OK to tell them to do better!

Rogen’s lacklustre response to Marchese’s questions is his way of essentially saying he’ll back his mates no matter what, so don’t bother asking about it because he’s not going to give you the answer you want. He’s going to give you the safe and sanitised answer.

It’s problematic when men like Rogen don’t decide to make a stand because they’d rather look out for a friend than do what’s right.

This places all the responsibility on victims to speak out. Victims who are already dealing with trauma, and are no doubt being ridiculed by faceless individuals all across the Internet who believe they’re doing it for attention.

Rogen had an opportunity to step up, and he didn’t.

When Marchese later asked Rogen whether he’d continue to work with Franco, he responded with one word, “yes”.

In a last-ditch attempt to get some kind of insightful statement regarding Rogen’s position on the matter, Rogen simply added, “There are so many people with real things to contribute to the #MeToo discussion that anything I say is not going to add anything useful.”

Well, being extremely good friends with someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct by five separate women feels like you might be in a position to have an actual opinion on the matter, Seth.

If you’re being asked to answer a question like this – why not put a bit of effort into crafting a response that does positively contribute to the #metoo discussion?

Rogen’s lacklustre response passes the buck onto the next person. He’s been thrown the hot potato and instead of taking time to let it cool in his hands, he’s thrown it up in the air and left it for someone else to catch.

Of course Rogen is entirely entitled to say and do whatever he wants when questioned by the media about these matters, but the intended outcome of his answers in this interview appear to be one that absolves him of any responsibility.

It’s also a quiet nod to all future journalists considering asking him about Franco down the line.

By ignoring the opportunity to contribute to an ongoing conversation around accountability, Rogen has done what he can to land in the safety of the middle.

His vague response only serves one person’s best interests, and that’s his own.

Molly Ringwald Has Raised Some Issues About The Breakfast Club In The #MeToo Era So Of Course The Internet Is Telling Her To Respect John Hughes

When in doubt make #MeToo about the guys... guys

Molly Ringwald –  she’s the actress we all know and love thanks to those ginger locks, that peaches and cream skin, and those iconic 1980s films that made her a household name.

These fame-inducing movies were written and directed by Ringwald’s long-time friend and collaborator, John Hughes.

They were flicks that created a new genre unto themselves, crafted a lasting cultural legacy, and captured what it was like to be a teenager in America.

They were also responsible for Ringwald’s career.

As Hughes’s muse, Ringwald starred in a number of films penned by the famous scribe and director, including The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty In Pink.

So, it seems safe to say, there’s no one more qualified to critically analyse these movies more than three decades after they were first released.

While some of Hughes’s films have already received criticism for their portrayal of race (just look at the Long Duk Dong character in Sixteen Candles, need we say more), there’s been a lack of commentary around the gender and misogyny issues sprinkled throughout each film.

In a new essay for The New Yorker, Ringwald writes about coming to terms with the sexism and chauvinistic behaviour in Hughes’s films, as well as the fact that these movies are still completely accepted in their entirety without question by today’s society and culture.

Ringwald writes beautifully, fairly, and carefully when broaching the subject.

Of course, the Internet (more specifically Twitter) jumped all over Ringwald the second the story was published, chastising her for criticising the man that made her famous.

In other words, they told her to shut up and be grateful.

Lovely, no?

The issues Ringwald raised during her article weren’t small tidbits or anecdotes worthy of brushing over.

They were legitimate concerns about the way female characters were treated and represented in these films.

These matters included inappropriate touching and issues of consent.

Considering Ringwald noticed many of these problematic scenes while re-watching the films with her young daughter, it seems more important than ever that she speak out about the treatment of women in Hughes’s movies.

“As I can see now, Bender sexually harasses Claire throughout the film. When he’s not sexualizing her, he takes out his rage on her with vicious contempt, calling her ‘pathetic,’ mocking her as ‘Queenie.’ It’s rejection that inspires his vitriol . . . He never apologizes for any of it, but, nevertheless, he gets the girl in the end.”

 

Ringwald also writes about the famous scene where Bender hides under a desk during their detention session, and positions his head between Claire’s legs.

Ringwald noted the embarrassment she felt when Hughes had to hire another actress for that particular on-screen moment.

“Having another person pretend to be me was embarrassing to me and upsetting to my mother, and she said so,” she says. “That scene stayed, though.”

 

During her extended essay, Ringwald used plenty of examples to back up her arguments, but admitted that talking about Hughes in this light was particular is hard.

 

“Whether that’s enough to make up for the impropriety of the films is hard to say—even criticizing them makes me feel like I’m divesting a generation of some of its fondest memories, or being ungrateful since they helped to establish my career. And yet embracing them entirely feels hypocritical. And yet, and yet . . .”

 

Her end point is not to tell readers to throw their copies of The Breakfast Club into the fire, but she urges us to educate ourselves and view these movies through what we know now – through the lense of the #metoo movement.

It’s a dual perspective approach that is welcomed and needed.

“The conversations about them will change, and they should. It’s up to the following generations to figure out how to continue those conversations and make them their own—to keep talking, in schools, in activism and art—and trust that we care.”

 

The fact that there are so many men and women eager to defend Hughes in an instant, yet demonise Ringwald for speaking out about her own personal experiences while shining light on the context these films were created in, is an example of the exact problem Ringwald is trying to eradicate.

Silencing women, victim shaming, victim blaming – this seems to be par for the course when women dare to speak out and verbalise their truth, and it needs to be stopped.

Ringwald is doing her bit.

 

As frustrating as the Twitter backlash has been, thankfully common sense still prevails in some parts of this topsy-turvy world.

There have been a number of Ringwald defenders happy to explain the article and Ringwald’s intentions to those who have either not read it, or completely missed the point.

https://twitter.com/jennyhan/status/982363972086120449

https://twitter.com/jennyhan/status/982398959984443397

Ringwald’s essay is a timely reminder that misogyny, homophobia, and racism can’t be overlooked or tolerated anymore, no matter how much something means to our  adolesence.

Considering these particular movies are still being shown at school and taught in film class, she couldn’t be more right.

Keep writing Molly, we’re listening.

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