Our Hollywood – Hellywood Conundrum

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction… – Galatians 6:7-8


We have a problem, you and me. It’s called, “enabling.”


Any honest assessment of the rampant Hollywood sexual misconduct filling our daily newsfeeds mandates a look in the mirror. For every fan “shocked!” by the allegations involving their favorite star or starlet, there needs to be honest recognition of some very troubling realities.


REALITY #1: Hollywood is heavily populated with sad, desperate, broken, lonely people. Some of those people are men who have perverted their creative gifts and positions of authority, twisting them into whatever shape was needed to acquire great wealth and dominance over those in subordination to them.
Anyone feigning shock and surprise over these revelations is being so blatantly dishonest that it almost brings one to the point of laughter…if the whole thing wasn’t so sad. Did you really expect better from an industry that has spent “50 years destroying every moral rule governing sexual conduct and then they act shocked when people are immoral in their sex lives,”Matt Walsh
Friends, did you truly expect admirable behavior from  those who make a fortune pretending to be someone else?
They play dress up better than you, so they’re famous. But they’re still broken. There’s no moral compass in that town. It’s all about getting the most you can – money, fame, sex.


REALITY #2: This isn’t a new problem. The concept of the “casting couch” didn’t suddenly leap into the modern vernacular like Uber or the iPhone X. Abuse of power has been foisted upon gullible victims with zero self-respect for several decades. The entertainment complex has long featured predatory men and women (yes, it goes both ways) taking advantage of those with no moral basis or self-esteem upon which to make their decisions.
Why on earth would an attractive young starlet agree to EVER visit the hotel room of a male – especially one with a widely known reputation for questionable behavior? Because he might just provide the career boost they’ve long sought.
Now, before you start printing up the picket signs to march in protest of what appears to be a blaming of the victims, pay careful attention to the following statement:
The age old Hollywood pattern of the powerful preying on the vulnerable happens because both sides have placed fame, success, popularity, power, and wealth at the top of their personal goal pyramid. For the power brokers, morality has no place in the equation. For the vulnerable (often much younger) aspiring actor/actress, the mindset becomes “do whatever it takes” to climb the ladder. Imagine how differently the casting couch would look if no one ever used it.

It’s a sad commentary on the entire culture of professional pretending. Yes, there is justified anger and outrage at the abusers. There should also be great sadness for the victims – not only for what they have endured, but also for the added pain of discovering vapid hollowness of the career path they thought would satisfy.
Today we’re seeing a surprisingly choreographed catharsis where victims finally found a voice after holding in secrets for too long. Let’s hope it not only leads to a behavior change among the powerful, but also a change in goals and standards for those ripe to be preyed upon.


REALITY #3: This one is going to hurt. You’ll notice that I’ve not included any specific names or photos in this story. To do so would be to mask the true inspiration for writing it. Instead of focusing on individual cases in this barrage of sickening news, please don’t dismiss one crucial factor that helped make it all possible.
You. Me.
We’re the one making these people famous, wealthy, entitled.
Have you ever wondered how the paparazzi “happen” to know where and when to find celebrities for those photos that adorn the gossip rags? Because they are tipped off by publicists who are paid to ensure you get to see those pictures in your favorite magazine or just in time for the impulse purchase at the grocery checkout. It’s all done in order to capture your attention and invade your wallet.
How did a producer you couldn’t pick out of a lineup become worth over a billion dollars? Because we watch his product.
How is it possible that an actor can be paid $20 million to appear in a movie? Because they’re counting on generating over $150 million from you.
Why do so many people of faith – which describes most of you reading this – electronically allow content into their lives that they would NEVER tolerate in person?
In recent days, we’re seeing damage control from stars who never thought they would be found to be as deranged and diabolical in real life as the characters they play on the screen (Frank Underwood).


REALITY #4: Want it to stop? There is a very simple solution. Stop paying attention to them. Every single example of abuse and scandal coming from Hollywood has, at its core, the attention and financial support of the American consumer.
I’ll never figure out why any person of any age would actually shriek in excitement when an actor/artist they admire takes the stage. I’ve seen teens do it, which is at least moderately understandable…but I’ve also seen women in their 50’s scream in adulation for an aging artist, and will never comprehend how that can happen.
But as long as it does, Hollywood will have a permission slip to behave however it pleases – just as long as we get our little moments of escape from reality. In many ways, our selfishness enables Hollywood’s abuses.


FINAL THOUGHTS: Many years ago, my friend, Pastor Billy Walker, caused many a teenage eye-roll when he would preach about the perils of embracing “Hellywood.” As one of those teens in the audience, my eyes rolled at the silliness of such a nickname for the same industry that made me laugh and put superheroes on the screen.
Billy warned of numerous traps the mind of a young person could fall into as we consume the “garbage and filth” being produced for mass consumption. We laughed it off then, but now I hear those wise words resounding as victim after victim steps forward with a broken heart and damaged life.
Among the more forceful concepts Billy preached, were these memorable words: “Stop expecting darkness to produce light. It never has and never will.”
For the victims of the powerful, for the minds of the impacted, for those who will ignore reality and continue to place fame and stardom as their highest priority in life, welcome to “Hellywood.” Billy had it right.

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