Recently, That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson was found guilty of sexual assault and sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. While this in itself is distressing, many were shocked and disappointed to learn that Hollywood darlings Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis — who costarred with Masterson on That '70s Show — wrote letters to the judge in his case asking for leniency for the disgraced actor.
But in my opinion, Hollywood has a habit of turning a blind eye toward (or even supporting) those who have allegedly perpetrated heinous crimes, especially sexual assault. Recently, I learned about a bunch of new examples from members of the BuzzFeed Community,* who chimed in on the comments of my posts about darkHollywoodfacts. Here are some of their examples of Hollywood figures whose alleged bad behavior has been brushed under the rug or inadequately addressed.
*We also used replies from thesetwo Reddit threads.
1.Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski received a number of accolades in the decades after he was charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. It's not as if the assault wasn't known about — it occurred in Jack Nicholson's house.
Anjelica Huston, who was dating Nicholson at the time, actually came home while Polanski was there with the 13-year-old, but did not report him. "I thought nothing of it," Huston said of finding Polanski alone with a teenager — they claimed to have been doing a photo shoot. Huston has since defended him and blamed a "whole playboy movement" in Europe then that involved pursuing underage girls.
2.Polanski has been defended by a ton of the Hollywood elite, even when they are publicly asked about the accusations against him. For example, in a 2010 interview, Johnny Depp defended him, saying that he didn't believe Polanski was a predator because he was married with kids and not "out in the street doing horrible, horrible things."
3.Speaking of Depp — unsealed court documents from his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard suggest that Depp was investigated by the LAPD and the Department of Family Services for allowing his then–15-year-old daughter, Lily-Rose, to live with her 23-year-old boyfriend next door to him in his condo. No charges were filed, and Depp has never publicly responded to these allegations, though the witness in the documents testified that they felt Depp had made false statements in order for the charges not to be filed.
"I asked him afterwards, I said, 'It must have gone pretty well,' and he said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'Well you couldn't have told them the truth.' And he just smiled," recalled the witness, who appears to be his former agent Tracey Jacobs. The court documents name her as one of the witnesses, then the ensuing transcripts refer to the specific witness speaking as an experienced talent agent who stopped working with Depp in 2016 after a 30-year working relationship.
4.Woody Allen, like Polanski, also enjoyed a long career in Hollywood despite sexual assault allegations. Allen's stepdaughter Dylan Farrow has claimed for years that Allen molested her when she was 7. Allen has denied these claims.
Allen is also currently married to his ex-wife Mia Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, whom he has known since she was a child. He also has a historyofdatingteenagers.
Stars who have supported Allen include Kate Winslet, Diane Keaton, Scarlett Johansson, and Alec Baldwin — among other stars who have since changed their minds and renounced Allen and/or publicly supported Dylan Farrow in light of #MeToo, like Drew Barrymore.
5.Hollywood's history of sexual abuse within the industry has come to light in the last few years, but not enough attention has been given to abuse of child stars back in the '80s. Corey Feldman has been very vocal about this, claiming that he and fellow actor Corey Haim were both sexually assaulted as teenagers. “The biggest problem in Hollywood is pedophilia,” he claimed.
Former Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim backed up the claims, saying, “I literally heard that they were ‘passed around.' The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful — these were kids, they weren’t 18 yet. There were all sorts of stories about everyone from their, quote, ‘set guardians’ on down that these two had been sexually abused. ... It was the gossip back in the ’80s. People said, ‘Oh yeah, the Coreys, everyone’s had them.’ People talked about it like it was not a big deal," Arngrim said.
Actor Paul Petersen, who played Donna's son on The Donna Reed Show, also spoke up in support of Feldman, saying, “When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head. Some of these people, who I know very well, are still in the game.” This was over a decade ago, so it's possible some of these people were caught during the #MeToo era, but people like Harvey Weinstein were still allowed to prosper in Hollywood for decades while their abuse was an open secret.
6.Also in the '80s, director Victor Salva was convicted of the sexual assault of the 12-year-old star of his film Clownhouse (which was funded by Francis Ford Coppola), as well as of filming the encounter and possessing child sexual abuse images. He was only in jail for 15 months before going on to find major success in Hollywood, most notably for the Jeepers Creepers series, which wasin part produced by Coppola.
7.In another '80s example, Charles in Charge star Scott Baio was accused of sexual harassment by two of his then-teenage costars — Alexander Polinsky and Nicole Eggert — decades after the show ended.
Polinsky alleged that Baio (who played a live-in babysitter on the show) assaulted and harassed him from the ages of 12–15, showing his genitals to Polinsky, pulling down Polinsky's pants on set, and calling him anti-gay slurs as well as describing explicit gay sex acts. The bullying and harassment allegedly further turned physical when Baio threw hot tea in his face. Baio denied the claims, saying, “For reasons I don’t understand, I am the target of false claims that threaten everything that is important in my life."
Eggert also accused Baio of molestation during her time on the show, which began when she was 14. The abuse allegedly continued until Eggert was 17, with Eggert saying that Baio told her that if she told anyone, the show would end and they would all be out of jobs. Baio has denied any inappropriate touching and says they had a one-time consensual encounter when Eggert was 18.
Baio continued his movie and TV career after this, including producing and starring in Nickelodeon's See Dad Run in the 2010s. He also appeared in Sam & Cat and A Fairly Odd Summer.
8.Speaking of Nickelodeon, there have long been rumors of abuse complaints in regards to Dan Schneider's time there, where he produced a number of hit shows, including Zoey 101, Victorious, iCarly, and Drake & Josh. In the years since, manyfans have pointed out the sexualization of young girls in Schneider's shows (particularly having to do with feet).
Regarding specific allegations, Jennette McCurdy wrote in her memoir about her cruel and inappropriate experiences with a man she calls "The Creator" at Nickelodeon on shows iCarly and Sam & Cat, including being forced to wear a bikini and pushed to try alcohol, as well as him massaging her shoulders. Many believe this man to be Schneider. Alexa Nikolas also talked about a bullying atmosphere on Zoey 101 and called Schneider “the creator of childhood trauma."
Schneider parted ways with the network in 2018, though the official story is that it was a natural time to end their partnership. A ViacomCBS investigation apparently found no evidence of sexual misconduct during his tenure on Nickelodeon, though it did find evidence of verbal abuse, and interviewed workers who brought up him texting minors outside of work hours and asking for neck massages. Schneider declined to speak on the investigation but said, “I never interacted with actors in any way, texting or otherwise, that should make anyone uncomfortable," and claimed if his stars found him difficult, it was due to his "high standards."
9.Producer and director mistreatment and exploitation of stars has happened numerous times over the years. For example, Thandiwe Newton has claimed she was groomed and sexually abused by director John Duigan on the set of Flirting when she was 16. According to Newton, she was shamed into doing more films with him, and he would do things like lie about the framing of her shot and instead take video of her breasts. Duigan never responded to these claims and has largely retired from the business.
10.Director Bernardo Bertolucci was accused by Last Tango in Paris star Maria Schneider of adding a scene where Marlon Brando's character anally rapes her character using a stick of butter as lubricant, and not telling her about the scene beforehand. Schneider described feeling humiliated and "a little raped," calling Bertolucci manipulative.
Bertolucci later admitted to not telling Schneider about the scene with the butter because he wanted Schneider's humiliation to appear real, and he said he felt guilty but didn't regret his actions because "you have to be completely free" as a filmmaker.
11.Not all abuse is sexual, and powerful figures in Hollywood have continued to enjoy strong careers even after horrible allegations of on-set abuse. Take Quentin Tarantino. In an interview with the New York Times about Harvey Weinstein, Uma Thurman talked about her experience with Tarantino in Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction. She says that Tarantino both choked her and spit on her for different shots in the films; Tarantino confirmed these allegations but defended the reasoning behind his actions.
Thurman has also said that Tarantino pushed her into doing a dangerous stunt that ended in a serious car accident. Thurman has forgiven Tarantino (who sent her the footage and called it "the biggest regret of [his] life") but continues to blame producers Weinstein, Lawrence Bender, and E. Bennett Walsh for the traumatic event and their alleged efforts to cover it up.
12.Director Abdellatif Kechiche was accused of horrific behavior on the set of the critically acclaimed Blue Is the Warmest Color. After French film union SPIAC-CGT released a statement on Kechiche's labor law–violating schedule and bullying on set, stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos spoke about the horrible shooting conditions and revealed that their famous sex scene took 10 days to film. Exarchopoulos called Kechiche manipulative and revealed that in the fight scene, they were really hitting each other, at Kechiche's request.
At one point, Seydoux had to push Exarchopoulos out a glass door, and she says Exarchopoulos got cut and was bleeding everywhere and crying, but Kechiche just said, "No, we're not finished. We're doing it again." Later, Seydoux told the Independent that filming the sex scenes was humiliating.
13.Alfred Hitchcock is another famous director with a strong legacy who has been accused of horrific abuse that most people tend to ignore. Tippi Hedren, who worked with Hitchcock on multiple films, recounted how Hitchcock tried to kiss her and made inappropriate remarks on the set of Marnie. When she refused his sexual advances, he allegedly promised to ruin her career. He then kept her under contract so she couldn't work with another studio and refused to offer her large projects.
And then, on the set of The Birds, Hedren says that in the scene where Melanie is viciously attacked by birds in a bedroom, mechanical birds were apparently not working, so Hitchcock elected to use live birds. Hedren endured five days of live birds being thrown at her, and even birds being tied to her that were trained to peck her.
14.A lot of awful mistreatment went down on the set of Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, though in this case, it was the stars who were to blame. According to the documentary Celluloid Crime of the Century and the book Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, star Sandra Peabody was horribly mistreated by her male costars. Marc Schaffer admitted to threatening to throw her off a cliff to try to rile her up for a scene*, and David Hess allegedly threatened to actually assault her in a rape scene they were about to film.
15.Men tend to get away with bad behavior not only on set but just in general, even when it comes to other stars. While R. Kelly has finally been convicted and sentenced for his crimes, he got away with horrible behavior for decades. His grooming of Aaliyah was a well-known fact in Hollywood. The New Yorker referred to their relationship when Aaliyah was underage as "an open secret," pointing out that their marriage (which was later annulled) made headlines at the time. Yet Kelly went on to have a huge career in music, despite police investigations into his sexual abuse and a trial for child sexual abuse images after an alleged sex tape with an underage girl surfaced.
Journalists have suggested that multiple figures in the music industry were complicit in Kelly's ongoing misconduct and abuse, or at the very least aware. Kelly's reputation only seemed to truly become affected in 2018, and he was later indicted and found guilty on all nine counts.
16.While Kelly was convicted, many other stars have gotten away with their bad behavior. Like the star who allegedly beat Halle Berry so hard that she lost most of her hearing in her right ear. Berry has never publicly named her attacker, but she has spoken about the incident: She told People magazine that a well-known Hollywood man "hit her so hard, her left eardrum was punctured."
"I left so fast, there were skid marks,” she continued. “It never happened to me before — or since.” Singer Christopher Williams, who had also dated Halle, later alleged that this boyfriend was Wesley Snipes. Ex-boyfriend David Justice later claimed the same in a series of now-deleted tweets that were supported by Berry's ex-husband Eric Benét.
17.Sean Penn was also accused of attacking Madonna when they were married. He allegedly tied her to a chair for nine hours, until she was able to escape and run to the police station. Originally, Penn was charged with battery and inflicting “corporal injury and traumatic conditions,” but Madonna later pulled the complaints, though she did file for divorce.
18.R&B singer Michel'le has publicly accused Dr. Dre (with whom she shares a child) of beating her so badly that she had to get plastic surgery on her nose to repair the damage. In the Season 1 reunion special of R&B Divas: Los Angeles, when host Wendy Williams pointed out that she had to be referring to Dr. Dre, Michel'le replied, "He knows it. That was very public," and said he often gave her black eyes right before she'd shoot music videos. According to Michel'le, they also started a relationship when she was only 17.
Dr. Dre later publicly apologized for his past behavior toward women (which Michel'le didn't feel was genuine because it was public and not personally to her), and acknowledged that some allegations against him were true, though he then denied having abused Michel'le. Dre is known as a music legend and still enjoys success today.
19.Like Dr. Dre, Chris Brown still has a strong music career despite claims of abuse. Also, while you likely know about his 2009 assault of Rihanna, you may not know the details of just how horrific it was. According to court documents, Brown slammed her head against the window, punched her, and then continued to do so while driving, swerving the car. He also reportedly bit her and put her in a headlock that cut off her breathing and almost made her unconscious, and told her he was going to kill her.
Despite this horrible assault, he very much made a comeback in his career, with his 2011 album F.A.M.E.debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart (his first album to do so). He remains successful, though he complained earlier this year that people "still hate" him for his "mistake."
20.Brown is not the only star to make an unearned comeback after horrible allegations. Louis C.K. admitted to masturbating in front of colleagues in 2017 after the New York Times published an article accusing him of this behavior. Originally, he was "canceled": FX (which had broadcast his show Louie) severed ties with him, and his upcoming film I Love You, Daddy was shelved days before its premiere.
But then he made a comeback: He went on an international comedy tour, released a new special, and cowrote and directed the film Fourth of July — AND he won a Grammy for his comedy album Sincerely, Louis C.K.
21.One of the saddest aspects of the protection of abusers in Hollywood has been the effects on people who have spoken out about sexual abuse. For example, Brendan Fraser felt that he was largely shut out of Hollywood after he was groped by then–Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk in 2003, and said that the HFPA denied the claims.* Berk also denied the allegations when Fraser made them public in 2018 (though Berk had previously spoken about the incident in his own 2014 memoir).
The incident caused Fraser to retreat from the public eye, saying that "the silence was deafening" and that work “withered on the vine" for him, causing him to wonder if he'd been blacklisted by the HFPA, especially considering his sparse Golden Globe Awards invites. (Berk has denied this was the case and said, "His career declined through no fault of ours.") “The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why. There's many reasons, but was this one of them? I think it was," Fraser told GQ.
22.And finally, a ton of music stars of the '70s and '80s were known for having sex with underage groupies, and yet still enjoy strong legacies today. Like Steven Tyler — people seem to ignore the fact that he once "dated" a 16-year-old. He literally admitted to it in his memoir, writing, “She was 16, she knew how to nasty, and there wasn’t a hair on it." Tyler was 26 at the time.
It's likely that Tyler is referring to Julia Holcomb, who actually sued him last year for sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress back in the '70s. She claims that Tyler persuaded her mother to sign over guardianship to him, which is corroborated in Tyler's own memoir, in which he writes that “her parents fell in love with me, signed a paper over for me to have custody, so I wouldn’t get arrested if I took her out of state. I took her on tour.” Holcomb also says she became pregnant and Tyler made her have an abortion.
23.Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers also admitted to a "relationship" with a minor. He once told the story of a Catholic schoolgirl he slept with who had come to his concert, and who eventually revealed that she was 14 and a runaway, and her father was the chief of police. Kiedis said, "I did want to get her the hell back home right away. So we had sex one more time.” He was in his mid-20s.
24.Jimmy Page, according to Rolling Stone, "dated" Lori Maddox (sometimes spelled Mattix) when she was 14 years old and he was in his late 20s. Maddox claimed he "basically kidnapped" her after telling her he was going to be with her, then often left her at the hotel with security at the door.
25.One more: Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones met 13-year-old Mandy Smith in 1984 (when he was 47) and married her after she turned 18 (allegedly having groomed her for those five years, while he was in his 40s). Smith said they had sex when she was 14. Wyman did not directly contradict these claims* but said, "It wasn’t how it was reported to be. A lot of people understood, but a lot didn’t, especially the media.” Be that as it may, Wyman has enjoyed a pretty strong legacy in the decades since, despite this disturbing behavior.
What other dark "secrets" do you know about Hollywood and its major players? Let us know in the comments.
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