Before the historic 2016 Presidential campaign, the call to taking down political figures or members of the Hollywood elite were ideas that were isolated within the fringes of general discourse. Monday’s news about allegations of sexual misconduct against Charlie Rose continues a cultural shift to the mainstream.
It’s much clearer now that there’s a united front to take-down the powerful and widely accessible figures of the mainstream media and the Hollywood elite. The Washington Post reported that Charlie Rose was the latest celebrity to be the target of sexual assault allegations by eight women.
The same media outlet had reported in recent weeks that nine women accused Alabama’s Republican candidate of the US Senate race, Roy Moore, of alleged sexual assault. While Roy Moore is far from being part of the Hollywood elite, his brand of right-wing extremist has often targeted both Hollywood and others they label as political elites.
Almost daily, you’ll find right-wingers lambasting Leftists and Liberals and publicly motion for war against them. As a member of the media, there’s no doubt that Charlie Rose has himself been labeled as a Liberal. Even Bannon couldn’t help but refer to the Liberal media during his interview with Charlie Rose.
Charlie Rose: High-Society Take-down
The fall of Charlie Rose was immediate. CBS, PBS and Bloomberg suspended all programming associated with him and the 75-year-old talk show host himself, before being fired on Tuesday. Like the report against Roy Moore, The Washington Post had collected accounts and verified the allegations with multiple sources before they went to print.
The claims of sexual assault were further confirmed by Rose when he made a statement to the Post apologizing for his past behavior. Equally, Moore just as strongly confirmed the allegations against him by not denying them at one point after his report, admitting that he dated younger women. Among the allegations of sexual assault, are the accusations saying that Roy Moore had also harassed underage girls when he was in his 30’s.
But the claims against both men are part of a steady wave of allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful figures who have also become political pawns whether they like it or not. For instance, Democratic Senator Al Franken has already been in the cross-hairs of similar accusations which is politically convenient because he’s a senator.
His previous career as a comedic writer and Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast member not only put him in the upper-ranks of high-society, rubbing elbows with Hollywood elite. But it also makes him an example of the crossover between politics and the Hollywood industry. Like Charlie Rose, Al Franken’s career on television goes back decades, decades that are all being challenged now.
So, now there is no doubt that the Hollywood establishment is threatened. This is because comedic mainstays who have built their careers for decades on crass humor such as Louis CK are now being rejected for the kind of behavior that made them valued assets.
Similar take-downs have been enacted against other reliable assets such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, which no doubt has right-wingers cheering. More specifically because those who make up parts of the Hollywood elite have been turned into targets by extremist Trump supporters.
This is because Hollywood has been seen as a safe haven for Liberals the Right despises, never mind that the Right has often used antisemitism to go after Hollywood too. But the allegations brought against Charlie Rose could also be seen by the Right as a tit-for-tat response to how all of this started. Starting with last year’s allegations of sexual assault against former CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes.
Fox News is a notorious mass distributor of conservative propaganda which currently acts as an arm of the Trump administration. Trump himself has also faced similar accusations of sexual assault, but because he accuses media that is critical of him of being “fake news”, there’s no doubt that he and his loyalists are praising the downfall of figures like Charlie Rose.
Hypocrisy and Openness of Sexual Misconduct
Even Trump has blamed and targeted the political elite by campaigning on the message that he would “drain the swamp”. But in fact, what he seems to be doing is deliberately replacing the Liberal elite with elitist conservatives. In a similar hypocritical move, Trump and his supporters are openly protective of those who are loyal to Trump who are facing sexual assault allegations.
For instance, despite sexual harassment accusations against Ailes last year, Trump came to his defense and even hired him for his transition team. More recently, he has said little to nothing about Roy Moore. At the most, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said that if the allegations were true, that Moore should get out of the race.
The openness of admitting to such allegations is also new where, in the shake-up, it’s hard for each powerhouse across various industries to stay grounded in what they believe that this shake-up means. For instance, co-host for CBS This Morning Gayle King came on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert this Tuesday to openly accept that the allogations against Rose were true. Since Monday, rather than avoid it, King and her other co-host Norah O’Donnell had been very candid about not wanting to go against a colleague.
Despite having been a journalist and a well-known figure in the media for decades, it’s hard to know if Charlie Rose will be able to recover from the report. Even with firing him, the network(s) might still be conducting their own investigations. Taking action to discipline these figures is similar to those that have been suggested for Hollywood, certainly, a shift among the elite, in order to prevent cases of sexual assault in the future. But as more allegations come to light in the coming months, the industry culture will be drastically changed.