Accounts of sexual misconduct, assault, and even rape have rocked the entertainment industry over the last few months. Movie stars, directors, and producers have all fallen under the weight of charges against them. The likes of Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Harvey Weinstein, and Brett Ratner have all been made to reckon with their past actions, and have seen swift repudiation from the film industry.
Spacey and Louis CK have seen their films shelved (or dramatically altered via an emergency Christopher Plummer, in Spacey’s case), and Weinstein will likely never produce again. Many believe that this could be a watershed moment for the film industry, with the growing awareness of sexual misconduct leading to a change in behavior. Hollywood, however, has been plagued by powerful people who have taken advantage of their position for some time, and it seems unlikely to fully change anytime soon. Here are 10 respected people in Hollywood who turned out to be creeps…
10. Roman Polanski
The acclaimed director of classic films like Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Pianist, Roman Polanski had to flee the United States after being arrested for rape by use of drugs, sodomy, and several other atrocious charges against a 13-year-old girl. The young girl, Samantha Geimer, was introduced to Polanski through her mother who was an actress and model. Polanski asked Geimer’s mother if she could participate in a private photo shoot for the French edition of Vogue. Geimer participated, with the consent of her mother, and later testified that she felt uncomfortable at the shoot, with Polanski asking her to pose topless. Nonetheless, Geimer agreed to participate in a second shoot, which took place at Jack Nicholson’s home.
During the photography session, Geimer testified that Polanski gave her champagne, and a quaalude. Soon after, he suggested she pose on a bed, and despite her protests, Polanski continued his advances. According to Geimer, Polanski then performed oral, vaginal, and later anal sex after learning she was not on birth control. Geimer repeatedly asked for him to stop, but because of the alcohol and drugs, she felt unable to fully control her faculties.
Polanski was arrested and, under a plea agreement, ordered to report to a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. Fearing that instead of probation he’d receive jail time, Polanski fled the country and has been living in countries that refuse to extradite him to the United States.
9. Woody Allen
Another famous director known for irreverent romantic comedies like Annie Hall and Manhattan, Woody Allen has had a long and storied career working with the best actors in the industry while managing to reinvent the way comedy was captured on the big screen. Despite his successes as an artist, Allen has had several questions posed about his character. Dylan Farrow, an adopted daughter of Woody and Mia Farrow, claimed that when she was left alone with the film director, he touched her inappropriately. She was seven at the time. According to the police report, Farrow stated that Allen took her to the attic and touched her genitals. Soon after Allen heard of the accusations, he filed charges for full custody of the children, snaring the family in an even more tumultuous legal fight. The allegations levied by Dylan Farrow would never go to court, as her mother feared what a trial would do to her young daughter.
If that was all the baggage in Woody Allen’s past, he may not have made this list. However, Allen infamously began dating and then married Mia Farrow’s other adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Previn was adopted by Farrow and her former husband Andre Previn, and Allen began seeing her while he was in a relationship with her mother. Mia Farrow only became aware of their relationship after visiting Allen’s home and finding nude photographs of her 21-year-old daughter. Not exactly the most ethical behavior.
8. James Toback
James Toback has been in the film industry for more than four decades, and during that time he’s allegedly used his small window into Hollywood to sexually harass and assault women. The Los Angeles Times reported that Toback was known to brag and promise auditions and roles for aspiring actresses, luring them into meetings where he asked sexually suggestive questions before groping them or masturbating in front of them or onto their bodies. Although Toback denies these allegations, more than 200 women have come forward stating they received unwanted sexual advances.
Although Toback was neither a well-known director or screenwriter, he’d use his connections to Robert Downey Jr., who appeared in several of his movies, to gain legitimacy in the eyes of his victims. Most women interviewed claimed he’d approach them on the street, promising them a role while showing pictures of himself with RDJ. As his methods have come to light, Toback has lost his representation, but his career had already pretty much come to an end. The revelations will then hopefully be a warning sign to aspiring actresses of the predatory behavior of some men in the industry.
7. Kevin Spacey
An Oscar winner and one the most esteemed actors in Hollywood, Kevin Spacey’s fall from grace may be the most dramatic on our list. The star of House of Cards was forced to release a statement after the allegations by actor Anthony Rapp (who you probably know either from Adventures in Babysitting or Rent). When he was only 14-years-old, Rapp contends that Spacey forced himself onto him in a sexual way. In his statement, Spacey did not deny the incident but claimed he did “not remember” it occurring and that he was now living as a gay man.
That didn’t stop the avalanche that would soon crush one of Hollywood’s most respected stars. Several other young men, including Richard Dreyfuss’s son Ben, alleged similar groping incidents revolving around Spacey. Without any denials from Spacey, Netflix fired him from House of Cards, his Gore Vidal biopic was shelved, and all of his scenes in the film All the Money in the World were re-shot with Christopher Plummer – who, in a bit of a karmic twist, received an Oscar nomination for the role.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine Spacey ever working in Hollywood again.
6. Harvey Weinstein
The story that started it all was the New Yorker expose that revealed the sexual assault, harassment, and rape committed by the legendary film producer Harvey Weinstein. Famous actresses like Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, and Ashley Judd have all corroborated the tactics used by Weinstein to sexually harass and assault his victims. He had a similar approach with all his victims. First, he summoned them to a private place to discuss the film or role, then he asked for a massage or touched them inappropriately. Finally, in some cases, he’d offer a work-for-sex arrangement.
Some noteworthy cases included the harassment of Katherine Kendall, who appeared in the film Swingers. Kendall has stated that Weinstein undressed and chased her around the room naked. Tomi-Ann Roberts remembers being asked to meet Weinstein to discuss a role, and finding him naked in a bathtub. Weinstein encouraged her to take her clothing off, arguing that the role needed a woman who was comfortable being naked in front of camera.
The most egregious claims against Weinstein were made by Annabella Sciorra, an Emmy nominee for her work on The Sopranos. In the late ’90s, Weinstein allegedly raped Sciorra, forcing himself into her room after dropping her off following an industry event. Sciorra recounts not being able to fight off his advances, and refusing to share her story from shame of not fighting hard enough to stop him.
The ramifications were swift, with Weinstein being fired from the company he founded, and being permanently banned from the Producers Guild of America.
5. Andy Dick
Ok, so maybe not everyone on our list was ever ‘respected’… but that certainly didn’t stop them from getting plenty of work, as is the case here. Andy Dick, a “comedian” best known for being remarkably obnoxious and getting beat up by Jon Lovitz, was also forced to lose his job as a result of sexual misconduct. The appropriately named Dick was accused of, among other things, groping people’s nether regions, kissing and licking people without their permission, and sexual propositions of at least four members of the production team while working on the independent feature film Raising Buchanan.
Dick denied the groping allegations but did admit to licking and propositioning people. It wasn’t Dick’s first dismissal for his unwanted sexual advances. Filmmaker Frankie Ingrassia and producer Jed Rhein confirmed to Vulture last October that Dick was fired from another film for sexual misconduct.
4. Brett Ratner
Actress Ellen Page recently chronicled the horrible abuse that many women faced at the hands of Brett Ratner. In a Facebook post, Page described how, as an 18-year-old, she was outed as gay by Ratner during a cast and crew meeting. Ratner also went on to crudely tell another female employee to have sex with Page, in order for the actress to realize that she was gay. That was the tamest of his transgressions.
Actress Natasha Henstridge was only 19-years-old when Ratner allegedly assaulted her. Henstridge recalls hanging out watching TV with Ratner and some other friends, when she fell asleep. When she woke up, Ratner was the only one in the apartment. Henstridge attempted to leave, but Ratner put himself between her and the door and began to touch himself, and then forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
Ratner has denied all the allegations, but that hasn’t stopped him from feeling the heat. Warner Brothers has cut ties with Ratner’s production company RatPac and his remaining ties with the studio have already started to raise problems.
3. Steven Seagal
Once one of the biggest action stars in the world, Steven Seagal has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment. Actress Eva LaRue has claimed that while meeting with Seagal about a role, he undid his kimono revealing his bare chest and underwear. LaRue fled the room, and later told her agent, who seemed unsurprised by the behavior.
Jenny Mccarthy has also revealed that she was harassed by Seagal. Auditioning for Under Siege 2, Seagal told her to take off her dress. She refused, and he proceeded to unzip his pants. McCarthy ran out of the room to her car, where Seagal followed her and told her not to tell anyone about the encounter.
2. George Takei
Famous for playing Sulu on Star Trek, Takei has also found himself embroiled in the growing sexual misconduct scandal. A male model has accused Takei of drugging him and sexually assaulting him more than two decades ago. Takei’s accuser, Scott R. Brunton, claims that after he broke up with his boyfriend, Takei offered to take him out to dinner. After returning to Takei’s home, Brunton felt tired and disoriented. When he woke up, he saw Takei taking off his pants.
Takei has denied that the encounter took place and has remained steadfast in his denial, even after a salacious interview with Howard Stern surfaced, where Takei discussed fondling men without their consent.
1. Ed Westwick
Like with Andy Dick, maybe “respected” doesn’t quite fit the bill here. But it’s next to impossible to leave this one off the list, because some of the most serious accusations we’re talking about today have been levied against Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick. The 30-year-old actor has been accused of rape and sexual assault by multiple women. The separate allegations all have connections and similarities. A producer on Gossip Girl invited both Rachel Eck and Kristina Cohen to nights out with the actor, which ended with them being assaulted by Westwick. The allegations made by Cohen describe the aspiring actress waking to find Westwick on top of her. Her attempts to fight him off would fail, and Westwick would allegedly go on to rape her.
Westwick has denied each accusation, releasing a statement noting his disappointment with a rush to judgment. He claims to have not even met his accusers. Nonetheless, the BBC has canceled the TV show Ordeal by Innocence, starring Westwick, and his series White Gold has been put on hold.