Are you there Harvey? It’s me, EJ.

My Open Letter to the H’s:

Dear H.,

Oh, Harvey. Hurricane Harvey Weinstein. Thank you. (I mean this sincerely). For stirring up, yet again, this reoccurring nausea ad nauseam painful conversation – just a day-in-my and most women’s-Hollywood life/and always would be, it seemed/until we are all Betty White and free/But even she?…

I understand how this all happens, though. What’s that saying? `Go big or stay home,’ right, Harvey? Well, you sure go big! I wasn’t going to write to you, Big H, but I saw you this past February at your Oscar party (Awesome party, thank you!) and it just felt time. Remember? You leered at me from across the room, just sitting there, Jaba the Hutt style, with your gravitational presence. I wanted to say hi that night, but somehow you made my stomach churn in that all-too-familiar way. Something in the way you looked at me scared me to the soles of my dirty dancing feet. My instinct told me it would be yet another exhausting octopus vortex to have to squirm out of, and I got suddenly exhausted just looking at you, and looking at you looking at me. (Meanwhile turning that discomfort in upon myself, feeling exposed & chilled, inferior in my own dress as you took it – took me – apart. All this, by your gaze alone.) How curious and pervasively prevalent the sexualization of my moments have become after so much battle on these too, too common grounds with too, too solid of your fleshy kind …

You looked sad this past Oscar night, Harvey. Why was that? That was what drew me in. (Female intuition is a killer, n’est-ce pas?) Was all this closing in on you back then? Was I witnessing the passing of a lion in front of my eyes, the muting of his roar? With your look, I was trying to figure out just what you wanted of me. I felt sorry for you. (Female compassion is another killer, n’est-ce pas?) I had no idea why in that moment, just a feeling, I felt for you. And I do still feel for you and feel sorry. It’s all very sad. I may not have talked to you that night, but we are colleagues, are we not? Sure, I’m lowly and you’re … Harvey. But we are neighbors, aren’t we? You, me, your casting-couch type – we’ve hovered the same spaces, offices, international film festivals, parties, hot tubs, yachts, hotel rooms … Hollywood is not really a place, but a community, is it not? I know her who knows you …

So then, Harvey, you may not have known, that Oscar party night, I finally gathered up my party-actress-SMILE! face and headed your way, meandering, always with you in sight, dancing with a few of your impressive staff, on my way to you … I thought I had all night. The party was just raging and, for Hollywood, the witching hour. The witching hour has power. Well, your kind of power at least. Then, I turned, and suddenly, you had vanished. From your own party. Did you leave alone? Now, after all these truths have come out, I hope you did leave alone. But, I have to admit, after you left, strangely, there was this void in the party, an absence, there was something missing in the room, a hole. Dad had gone to bed. Who would be in charge of us now? I guess, we were in charge. Huh.

You’ve been on my mind since that night, Harvey, and now … now I can’t sleep, thinking about you, reading every trade feed, every play by play. Oh, the activity of you! You’ve been busier than I thought. Not nice, Harvey. Tsk, tsk. But I do really want to thank you. For every woman’s story that comes out against poster-boy, whipping boy, you… every inspiring man’s story to come out, too, with their abuse … Oh, Harvey, how exciting it is, too, this bonfire of your vanities. It’s miraculous in its transformative potential! Maybe not exciting for you, sorry … but for Us. (No, this can’t be fun for you, Harvey – but don’t be greedy. You already had your slipknot moments of fun. But maybe, this is our time now, up there was your time … even for you, if you embrace it, with the Casey Afflecks, together, you can still win; yes maybe, you can lead the shifting brigade of mentality! And you … listening … Oscar-winners et al, we will be even better actors, producers, creatives, once this predator attention has been paid, I think so: Yes. I want to say Yes)…

There is, after the nausea, after the truth and before the reconciliation, there is relief in all this exposure, this streaking show. For every courageous woman and man and abused child actor/gymnast/legislator who comes forward, there is so much emboldening power to be gained and regained … power that had been there within us dreamers … we who choose lives of pursuing ideas, these dreams, that somehow can get stripped away by someone we misinterpret as bigger-than-us and overpowered by his desires over our own, because maybe ours are not-yet-fully formed. But his seem so: Clear. Fatted calves were we, remember way back, before we got to Hollywood? I think I can. I can. I have incredible men in my life – father, brother, son, uncles, cousins, friends. I think to them, not you, Harvey, to help replenish and restore. I am impressed with each and every account’s eloquence and ferocity. I am impressed with the men of the industry who are in on standing up to the B.S. Thank you! So thank you, Harvey, for stepping aside and giving them room to speak.

But here I go again, giving you all the credit, Harvey! You didn’t start this awakening. This conversation started back up in Fall, didn’t it? With your frenemy, Donald Trump, who in spite of your loathing of him, turns out to have more in common with you than you ever thought. (Oh, I know it’s anonymous and all, but will Donald be joining you in rehab? I hope so.) Remember how shocked we were that the pussy-grabbing Trump somehow slipped into POTUS (Pussy Officer Thrust on Us)? Even then, I recall, what was more shocking about all these allegations was how these allegations shocked the rest of the country. To us, it was not news. Beverly Hills bungalows? Been there. Blocked doorways? Come sit by me couches? Pshaw! Truly just a day in the life of so many woman, youth, and men told to be cool and chill the f**out just for five minutes – do this one thing for me please and you will be glad you did, your career will be glad; in Hollywood, in Silicon Valley, in the workplace, in the gym, in the grocery store, in dorm rooms, on campuses, in military barracks, in basements, in attics, in the playgrounds. And the music industry? Please. Music producers? Recording studios? Please. So, thoroughly broken by it all, I stopped my own music to get away from the stalking and the harassment. Recording, singing, playing out live… what had been so fluid and process-oriented in New York became so painful in LA, giving pay-to-play a whole `nother meaning. Sing into my mic, right?

Silly me, I thought Hollywood was a step up, some kind of protection, I thought. At least there was a company logo! Some accountability. Some place to put my Master’s! Did I ever tell you, Harvey, about my first job interview in Hollywood where the executive told me, “Sure, sure you got the job — as long as I can c** on your tits!” – to a film set where I was told “jump up and down for me, PLEEEEEEEEASE, so I can see if they’re real.” I’ve had an agent tell me, “I love your look, but I can’t work with you with that thing on your face.” (A mole above my eyebrow disturbed him so much he promptly signed me up for a surgeon to have it removed.) I had a manager jam his hand under my hair, grab it and yank my head back suddenly, to make sure my thick hair wasn’t a weave. When I called him on this, an act that hurt my neck, he shrugged, “Oh, I just needed to see what I was working with.” As if I was some horse to be prodded on an auction block. I’ve been invited to what was supposed to be a pitch meeting in a hotel room at Sundance Film Festival that turned into,`Drinks (naked) in my hot tub would be such a better place to take this meeting, don’t you agree?’ Or, be invited to a party – then be told that I could only come as long as I brought at least five girlfriends who were “above an 8.” Or, when a producer friend tells you flat-out, “I’d invite you to more A-list parties, but you don’t put out,” then giving me “one more shot” by whipping his junk out in the car and asking if I approved of the way it looked. All this, I thought I had to put up with! I thought that’s how business was done in Lalaland. I was young, fresh off the boat. Wasn’t it this way? Then, stunned, I guess his not liking my response, not even getting the job. Not even sure what that was, what any of these incidents amounted to, which, over time and countless more incidents, devolved into this numbness, disconnect, giving up, pledge to not work with men in power, not all men, though, but how could you tell who is who until it’s too late; trying to navigate and avoid the ones who thrived on swallowing up my essence or having them dump theirs in/on/around me somehow –

Why have your type, Harvey, gotten away with it? Why? Because that has been where the money has been. Power of the bloody purse. Bloody, indeed. But now, Harvey, hopefully now (can we all pray?), that is a WAS. Has Been. Those who engage like you are has-beens. If we stay on it. Vigilantes of the Awakening. I hope to guarantee, there will be a shift when women and conscientious men are the purse holders. Women investors, job holders, job healers! WE NEED YOU. Men, we need you. I know and have worked with so many enlightened, powerful and inspiring bosses/producers/directors who defy and abhor this behavior. When jobs are on the line, exciting ideas and dreams possibly coming to fruition, it’s not an easy case of “just say no” to the situations. We are in an industry of desires, of wanting to say YES, YES, YES to exciting and cutting-edge stories to tell. And these little rapings, I tell myself, they don’t always happen, not every single time, only when you least expect them. (Usually at a moment when one feels heightened by an epiphany, an expression, to then get blindsided by some physical envelopment and shut down). Not always. But frequently/infrequently enough … to threaten the safe spaces. How many of these stories can we take? There’s nowhere to relax or breathe with them. Do we need a guard dog? No, I want you to be your own guard dog! Do we need a Mother Superior in meetings, to hold a ruler when the dancing is getting too close? No, I’m not your mother. I’m only my son’s mother. (If you can’t find a good man, raise one, I say!). Plus, I want to get close! I want to be able to get in cars with male directors and producers and not have to figuratively, too-oft-literally keep the window rolled down for an escape route or my finger on the lock to keep from being a subject in your arena. I want late night hotel meetings, bouncing off ideas. I want to say YES — to the projects, to the potential of sharing stories. I want to have those connecting dinners, without them having to lead to­ `oh how convenient, this restaurant is right next to your bachelor pad/hotel suite that your wife doesn’t know about’ – But even then, I want to go back to your hotel room; I want to continue an exciting idea session. Heck, let’s call your wife and let her in on it. She might have a great angle on this story. Is that a possibility? Is there a way to keep igniting, but keep the shift from turning into something unwanted, awkward, threatening and then being punished for the previous dynamic going cold, just when our conversation is heightened by wonderful, childlike ideas? Or was that really the only reason you invited me? Well, that sucks. I want to stay open and “naive,” to hope that our nocturnal animals want to keep expression – lo, all this misappropriated expression! – why can’t a private screening at your place be just that: a private screening between colleagues — not be one of you getting me comfortable, me just feeling safe, then having to quickly gather my shoes and stuff to run out of there in fear — and then not even remembering your name, because I don’t care about you, I might have at first and over time, but you ruined it and scared the crap out of me, then having to see your friggin face rubbed in mine at every f***in party for 20 years & be ill. And over. And over. Rinse. (Or don’t rinse. It didn’t seem to matter cause one could never get quite clean.) The trauma of all this continual engagement and ensuing enragement driving us further away from the original pursuit – acting and music (fear, fear, fear of the vulnerable, too preyed upon) to writing. Retreat, retreat. From creative coitus interruptus. And the ensuing gaslighting, smearing and discrediting. Retreat. Retreat. How sickly odd, confusing, complicated and ironic that one could feel safer at a Hef Playboy Mansion party than in a “business meeting.” But even in writing…oh, ho, thanks, Harvey Weinstein. And Harvey, the invisible rabbit in the room. Oh, Harvey, I’m sickened by all this, aren’t you? Even you know that sex may seem to sell in the moment, but it doesn’t last. Stories sell and last.

So, while you’re in rehab, write it out, Harvey, and write me back! Heal yourself and help us all heal. You’ll get through it, though you may have to carry a mirror around for a while. Write me back, Harvey and let me know that you are making breakthroughs because that sounds hopeful. Like your hulking person, large and epic, like your incredible pulse and taste in talent and film and recognition of story, you’ve ignited massive heavyweight conversations that fit your size. Keep Us talking. Get the shame and rage out of the shadows. Out from under our addictions used for coping and covering up the abuses.

Oh! Also, and this is big … Save the Date: I want to invite you to a party. Next year, since you won’t be having an Oscar party of your own L, I want to take you as my plus one to the “Women in Film” party. Different than the kind of party you’re into … but who knows, after all that therapy, you may be ready … we’ll see … Don’t worry, I’ll protect you. Even just for five minutes. Oh, you’ll love it. Trust me, Harvey, you will.

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