Perhaps no other industry in the world profits from and focuses on sex as much as Hollywood.
Obviously, the porn industry spends more time and energy focusing on sex than does Hollywood but it’s headquarters (arguably the San Fernando Valley) is only 30 minutes away from Hollywood. Though the outbreaking of negative publicity is focused on Hollywood these past weeks, the porn industry would put it to shame, if people spent as much time reading about porn “stars” as they did Hollywood “heroes”. Either way, the two industries are quite similar in many ways – they seek to entertain with digital media and they often (Hollywood) or always (Porn) use sex as an enticement.
But, as fate would have it the focus is on Hollywood, for now. What is so striking about the recent revelations of sexual assault and harassment is that anyone is surprised. The people at the center of these stories are the same ones who make a living (and have made livings for decades) selling a product that, more often than not, is designed to be sexually enticing. As the old adage goes, “sex sells” and these newly minted pariah’s can now attest, the price tag is often more than just money.
Fortunately (and by ‘fortunately’ I mean ‘providentially’) modern science and psychology has begun to understand that people who regularly allow themselves to be “entertained” by sexual material begin to display symptoms similar to those of drug addicts. They get a “high” from the sexual material. That high begins to decrease as time goes on, so they seek more explicit or dangerous material – just like drugs. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how raunchy movies could potentially lead to porn use and deviant behavior. Ted Bundy said porn was the thing that helped him view women as objects and eventually murder them. Sure, he was probably looking for a scape-goat but there’s probably a kernel of truth in his words.
What does this have to do with Hollywood? Well, as I’ve said, the products of the industry are saturated with sexual immorality (any form of sex outside of a heterosexual marriage). Years ago, sex between two married people wasn’t acceptable for your TV. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a show with High Schoolers as the main characters in which sex isn’t depicted in one form or another – often sex (or “romance”) is the main subject matter. In short, sexual immorality has become normalized and therefore what was once sexual immorality is now just sexual.
Enter Weinstein and his ilk. These people have been creating entertainment for years in which the sexually immoral has slowly become the provocatively entertaining. Now, it’s not even provocative to be sexual, it’s just entertaining, at least for some. What happens when we turn something that was once seen as sinful and make it good? My suggestion – Harvey Weinstein.
I think the gradual acceptance of sin leads to more sin. One of the reasons why God’s grace knows no bounds is that sin knows no bounds either. It will never stop. In the words of John Owen, if we’re not “killing sin” it will be “killing us”. It’s a binary situation. You kill it, or it will kill you. Since these heroes of entertainment have often given themselves to the selling of sin, is it any wonder that the sin they sell has grown into something they now cannot control? It seems to me that the normalization and approval of sexual sin has paved the way (or should I say rolled out the red carpet – not being cute, just emphasizing the approving and even glorifying tendencies of Hollywood toward sin) for people like Weinstein to treat women like their existence is meaningless unless they are providing them with pleasure.
Sin is mysterious in many ways, but one thing we know – it likes to hide in darkness. The Bible often equates sin with darkness for this very reason (Acts 26:18). For that reason, unfortunately, we can be quite sure that the allegations and assaults that we’ve heard of are just the tip of the iceberg, whether we hear the other stories or not. The insidious nature of sin is such that even when it harms someone, it often convinces the offended party to remain quiet. Fortunately, we can avoid the shortcoming’s of Hollywood by choosing not to partake in its sin-gratifying products. Unfortunately, avoiding participation in these products is becoming more and more difficult for those who work in the industry. What’s the quickest way to ensure you won’t get work in Hollywood? Tell them you have Christian morals.
Let us pray for our Nation and our Nation’s entertainers because where the eye goes, the body often follows.