As the sexual misconduct scandals continue to lay waste to the men who have abused and assaulted women in all kinds of industries, at least one Hollywood family can look back and see some progress being made. When screen legend Tippi Hedren, her daugher Melanie Griffith, granddaughter Dakota Johnson, and former son-in-law Don Johnson gathered for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, they reflected on what has and hasn't changed about the abuse of power in their own industry.
Hedren first spoke up on Twitter in October, when the Harvey Weinstein news broke, to compare the current women's experiences to her own with director Alfred Hitchcock and others. "Hitchcock wasn't the first," wrote Hedren, who starred in the director's The Birds and Marnie. "However, I wasn't going to take it anymore, so I simply walked away and didn't look back. Hitch said he would ruin my career and I told him to do what he had to do."
Now, during their interview with THR, Griffith recalled not being allowed on the set when her mother was working with Hitchcock, who reportedly isolated her from the rest of the cast and made several sexual demands of her. All of this sounds a lot like the reported behavior of Weinstein, particularly the way actresses like Mira Sorvino said he blacklisted them after they rejected his advances.
When Hedren refused to make any more films with Hitchcock, despite her seven-year contract, she taught her daughter an important lesson.
"She became an example of what to never let happen in my life," Griffith told the trade paper. "Hopefully, I've passed that on to Dakota — to be strong in your work and in yourself."
Johnson agreed, to some extent.
"I was taught self-respect and grace and strength," the Fifty Shades star said, reflecting on her grandmother's own experiences. "Never before this moment did anyone in my family [explicitly] say, like, 'Be careful.' Sometimes, powerful men in Hollywood will try to whatever." Instead of scaring Johnson about the perils of creepy men in their industry (who is the "only one getting scripts," according to her mother, Griffith), the women seem to trust the advances being made by vocal actresses and insiders and the growing community of women making Hollywood safer.
This isn't exclusive to powerful men in Hollywood, of course, as the #MeToo movement has shown, countless women from different walks of life have come forward with stories of abuse, assault, harassment, and intimidation. The unifying factors in all these newly revealed experiences are the secrecy and shame that surrounded the events. But, one by one, when very famous women like Rose McGowan and Salma Hayek share their stories, they open the door for others to come forward too, a trickle down effect that lays bare the wounds that have just begun to heal.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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