Jessica Hynes, the writer and actress who was once asked to audition for Harvey Weinstein in a bikini, has said that she hopes the scandal will be a “watershed moment” for women.
Writing exclusively in this week’s Radio Times, the star of Spaced and W1A says: “As a tsunami of sleaze wipes out the career of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, I, for one, am not surprised. Not surprised to hear that a man who once asked me to audition in a bikini should be exposed as a serial sexual predator. And certainly not surprised to hear that Hollywood should have provided happy hunting grounds for a man who ran a film empire worth $150 million and who could make or break an actor’s career at will.”
She adds: “I hope that this is a watershed moment, that the women who seek justice get it because they deserve it, that women in Hollywood take the reins and effect real change. The strength safety and happiness of women globally has never been more under threat, nor more important.
In the piece, Hynes analyses the history of Hollywood, the troubling relationship between – often male – bosses and female talent, and the advent of “the mogul”.
“Hollywood burgeoned in a world riven with social injustices, while you could say it shone a light on them and changed the world for the better, you could also argue that it glorified and reiterated the status quo both on screen and behind the scenes in the business culture that surrounded the industry and spawned ‘The Mogul’.”
She goes on to write: “By the early years of the 20th century and the birth of film, Hollywood provided a chance for change. Naturally the rules were the still the same for women; limited opportunities, limited pay-cheques, even though they now had the vote, they still lived in a society rotten with lies that had justified the deep-rooted injustices still ever-present and yet with the dawning of the silver screen women did acquire some power: the power of on-screen allure.
“How intoxicating to find your flawless face ten feet tall in an auditorium of adoring fans? Even more intoxicating however to be collecting the ticket sales. Beautiful women may have never been bigger business, but it was still the men who held the pursue strings. Studio moguls and male actors consistently made much more than their female counterparts. Incredibly, they still do.
“But what’s a few million between friends? Everyone got rich but Hollywood moguls like Weinstein got the richest. Mogul seems such a perfect word to describe someone with no morals or conscience. Moguls could have what – and who – they wanted.”
You can find the full piece in this week’s Radio Times, on sale in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday October 17