Back in February I wrote about how teenage girls don’t mind rape accusations if you’re popular on social media. Apparently they’re not alone.
Yesterday Deadline reported that Rainn Wilson, who you probably remember as Dwight from The Office, is producing a comedy starring Curtis Lepore. If that name doesn’t stand out to you, consider yourself lucky. Lepore is a “Vine celebrity”, which is an upscale way to say he’s popular on an iPhone app, that pleaded down rape charges back in February then taunted his victim on Twitter. Let’s be clear, he wasn’t found innocent. He took a plea deal. Then after taking the plea deal, he posted this:
This isn’t about Cutis Lepore, however. As gross as his actions have been, Rainn Wilson just made things exponentially worse. He made it clear to every victim of sexual assault, male or female, that they don’t matter.
This isn’t an established musician or actor continuing to work despite charges; this is someone being promoted and celebrated after charges. As much as we rolled our eyes at young fans that defended Chris Brown, it’s become clear that Hollywood was doing the same thing. We’ve become a society of being outraged when it’s convenient and going after offenders when there’s no chance of consequences for us.
Last month DiGiorno Pizza accidentally tweeted a hashtag about domestic violence as a joke about pizza. The company spent the next two weeks apologizing for their mistake to anyone that tweeted to them. Was it a dumb mistake? Absolutely. However, it was clearly a mistake. Here’s how it was spun in the headlines:
That’s not TMZ, that’s Time. What a convenient and not at all sensationalized headline. Meanwhile a news search for Curtis Lepore brings up nothing but stories about his new comedy. We love going after a company that mistakenly posted a social media update, yet have no issues whatsoever with a man who pleaded rape down to felony assault being celebrated.
Now we wonder why victims of sexual assault don’t come forward. Why would they? What’s the point? To be called a slut or a lying bitch? To become a minor bump on the perpetrator’s road to success? Hannibal Buress called out Bill Cosby during a recent show for his numerous rape accusations. What consequences, or even questioning has Cosby ever faced? Cee Lo Green allegedly drugged and raped a woman in 2012 and got to plead no contest to a felony drug charge. His punishment was probation and 45 days of community service. That’ll teach em!
Why would you put yourself through the hell of being in the spotlight as a rape accuser of a celebrity if it’s just going to end with a slap on the wrist or the world turning a blind eye, while you’re labeled as a slut who just wanted to get some money. God forbid you’re a man that gets assaulted, like in the Hope Solo incident. Now you’re a punchline.
We’re all a bunch of hypocrites and, as a society, we don’t care about victims of abuse and sexual assault.
Ask Rainn Wilson how much it bothers him that Curtis Lepore pleaded down rape charges. How many followers on Vine does he have? Oh then no, it doesn’t matter. We aren’t a country of second chances, we’re a country that will look past anything to make money. If we can stick Charlie Sheen in a show called Anger Management after his history of abuse, assault, and reckless behavior, then we need to just admit that victims mean nothing. We keep empowering abusers and belittling victims and it’s repulsive.
There are too many talented people in these industries to give chance after chance to those that don’t deserve it. And yes, if you use your platform to rape or assault someone, you don’t deserve it. Until we take a stand and show that we won’t support these individuals, nothing will change. You can write letters and emails and openly boycott projects like this and, believe it or not, it can make a difference. When an uproar starts, companies realize they could lose money and they’ll react to appease the mob.
On Friday, October 24 Rainn Wilson issued the following statement on his Facebook:
It’s encouraging to see that the thousands of voices outraged at the hiring of Lepore didn’t go unnoticed.