It can be very touchy to take a stance when a situation is brand new and there isn't a ton of information to be had. But, when someone takes it upon themselves to speak up in the face of mounting adversity, even critics have to at least take notice.
Longtime actor Frank Langella found himself in hot water recently as he was fired from the Netflix limited series "The Fall of the House of Usher" after allegations of "unacceptable conduct on set, including sexual harassment towards an actress," according to Deadline.
Langella decided to take matters into his own hands and write an op-ed for Deadline, refuting the allegations against him. The 84-year-old actor began and ended the piece by claiming what happened to him in no uncertain terms:
Beginning: I have been canceled. Just like that.
Ending: Cancel culture is the antithesis of democracy. It inhibits conversation and debate. It limits our ability to listen, mediate, and exchange opposing views. Most tragically, it annihilates moral judgment.
This is not fair. This is not just. This is not American.
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He told of the advice those from those in the Hollywood sphere that we don't always hear about, "crisis managers" and "lawyers," and their pleas to Langella to "apologize" in one way or another no matter the truth.
My first instinct was to blame. To lash out and seek vengeance. I interviewed crisis managers, tough connected lawyers, the professionally sympathetic at $800 per hour. Free advice was proffered as well:
“Don’t play the victim.” “Don’t sue. They’ll dig into your past.” “Sign the NDA, take the money and run.” “Do the talk shows, show contrition, feign humility. Say you’ve learned a lot.”
Apologize. Apologize. Apologize.
Allegedly, according to Langella, the crux of the allegation against him was that during filming a "love scene" with the younger actress playing his wife, the actress proclaimed that Langella touched her leg once the director called for a cut.
Langella explained what he told Human Resources during a questioning of the incident, including what a producer told him was off limits in Hollywood in light of the #MeToo movement:
“Before the love scene began on March 25,” said the questioner, “our intimacy coordinator suggested where you both should put your hands. It has been brought to our attention that you said, ‘This is absurd!’” “Yes,” I said, “I did. And I still think so.” It was a love scene on camera. Legislating the placement of hands, to my mind, is ludicrous. It undermines instinct and spontaneity. Toward the end of our conversation, she suggested that I not contact the young lady, the intimacy coordinator, or anyone else in the company. “We don’t want to risk retaliation,” she said. When I mentioned that it was certainly not my intention to … she cut me off polite and said: “Intention is not our concern. Netflix deals only with impact.”
When you are the leading actor, it requires, in my opinion, that you set an example by keeping the atmosphere light and friendly. Nevertheless, these were some of the allegations: 1. “He told an off-color joke. 2. “Sometimes he called me ‘baby’ or ‘honey.’” 3. “He’d give me a hug or touch my shoulder.”
“You cannot do that, Frank,” said our producer. “You can’t joke. You can’t compliment. You can’t touch. It’s a new order.”
If Langella is proven innocent of the allegations against him, and his explanation is as he has written, then could it be said that "polite society" - or what's left of it - is over?
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