The consequences of what has become known as the “Weinstein fallout“ extend far beyond the alleged harassers and their many victims. The projects of the accused have been tarnished along with their names: movies pulled, TV shows canceled, magazines shut down. These cancellations don’t just punish the perpetrators who caused them: They affect everyone involved.
Countless innocent people—actors, crew members, writers, editors, publicists, designers—have lost time and effort on projects that will never see the light of day, all because of the actions of the men they were unfortunate enough to work with. Production companies find themselves in a difficult situation: to proceed or not to proceed? Even prior to Kevin Spacey’s replacement by Christopher Plummer, TriStar was quick to confirm that Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World would go ahead, saying “A film is not the work of one person. There are over 800 other actors, writers, artists, craftspeople and crew who worked tirelessly and ethically on this film … It would be a gross injustice to punish all of them for the wrongdoings of one supporting actor in the film.”
Others have lost valuable opportunities, professional breakthroughs, or meaningful roles they will no longer get to play. Trans actress Jen Richards revealed on Twitter last week that she had been set to voice a trans character in Louis C.K.’s now-canceled animated series The Cops. Richards said she was celebrating the “sea change” in gendered power dynamics and benefits it would bring, but was nevertheless mourning (understandably) the momentous role she would no longer get to play.
Update, Nov. 19, 2017: This post was updated to include comments from Nick Mathews.
Welp. I guess I can say this now: I was one of the stars of 'The Cops'. There was going to be an animated trans character, voiced by a trans actress, on network television. The consequences of these actions go far. https://t.co/J8fEg5HuDY— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) November 11, 2017
While the impact on these people is nowhere near as grave as that faced by the victims of harassment, it’s nonetheless sad that so many lives and careers have been swept up in the storm.
So how does it feel to lose out because of the downfall of a powerful man, even while believing that downfall was totally warranted? We spoke to four people who have been hit by the ripples.
Billy K. Peterson
Actor cast as the logo of Louis C.K.’s production company, Circus King Films.
The only thing that I will say about the things that Louis C.K. has done is: to the women he did this to, I am sorry that he did it. The women did not ask for it and it never should have happened in the first place. I applaud them for coming forward and telling their story.
As for how this story has impacted me personally and professionally, I am very disappointed. I only got into this industry as an actor in March of this year and I Love You, Daddy was my first time working in a movie. I was set to be the Circus King logo for Louis C.K.’s company, Circus King Films. As it was explained to me, I would be similar to the MGM Lion but for Louis C.K. movies. As you can see in the trailer, the logo pops up for just a few seconds. So it would have been used in I Love You, Daddy and other films in the future. Rather exciting for someone who has only done background and a couple speaking roles on smaller productions up until then. I was only on set for one day to film the logo so I did not know much about the movie plot itself other than seeing some of the script. I knew it would be a bit controversial from that and having been told “it’s a crazy movie” by the director.
As for what the project meant to me, as I stated above, I was only on set for one day of filming so I was not involved as much as the other actors but personally it felt like my break into films. So to have it pulled from being released was tough to find out but at the same time, I feel that it was the right decision to do so. I was actually on the set of Gotham filming a scene when my phone started exploding with text messages and Facebook notifications from friends telling me about the accusations (before he admitted it) so I was distracted and did not think much of it. Once I started reading the story, I knew the movie would be pulled. I actually thought it would be pulled earlier due to the Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey stories. Between them and the subject matter of I Love You, Daddy, I thought that, at the very least, it needed to be pushed back.
I guess to sum it up, I am frustrated and disappointed. I work hard as an actor for each role I get, whether it is a background role or a principal role. The actions of one man years ago can affect many people. Let’s all hope that this stuff stops, not only in Hollywood but all around the globe. People rely on Hollywood to help them escape their everyday lives. However right now, some folks in Hollywood have turned that upside down.
Actress who played “Upscale Gala Guest” in Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy.
I was a featured background actor in the film. With this kind of work I never know the story until I see the film, and in fact this set was ultra secretive. This happens—I don’t blame them. He is totally concentrated on a set. I’m always watching. His work is impressing and it was a pleasure to be on his set. He has the top people on his crew.
The odd thing is that Screen Actors Guild has already sent out screeners of the film to its Nominating committee for consideration for the SAG Awards. Just the morning the news broke a pal called me to say that she had 20 screeners waiting [for her when] she returned from vacation. She read all the titles to me and I gave her a quick review if I knew the pic. I told her that I was in I Love You, Daddy and that it was scheduled to open. After I heard the sad news I texted her to say save that DVD and don’t show it to your granddaughter! I also heard a synopsis of the film with the news of the cancelation of its release. Yikes!
I can tell you this: I’ve worked for Louis C.K. before and I know about his on-set behavior. I have never worked on a project where the director [and] lead actor is also sitting on the camera when he isn’t performing in front of it! This takes a great deal of concentration. I have admired him and his work and only wished I could have worked on his series set in the bar—exceptional work.
As for me, I miss the opportunity to see myself at my best, and to have people in the industry see my performance—part of the fun of doing the work. That’s the only personal downside. And who knows? I could have been cut out, this also happens, although it was a pivotal shot with Louis C.K. on the camera.
This is a very sad situation and I’m happy that he owned up to it immediately. The repercussions will be far greater for him that me.
As for me, no one will know the difference. For him, it will cause a drastic change to his life.
Here’s an idea for you : Have someone look at his horoscope. See what it has to say because this is a major life altering event.
A very sad story. Truth is always better than fiction.
It has always been exciting and a privilege to work for Louis C.K. I wish him the best.
Writer and academic assigned a piece in Leon Wieseltier’s previously forthcoming magazine, Idea: A Journal of Politics and Culture.
I am a writer and professor, have published eight books and do occasional reviewing, but it is a very rare thing for me to get offered a substantial sum of money to write a short nonfiction piece. I was therefore absolutely delighted when Adam Kirsch contacted me to ask if I would be interested in writing a 4000-word piece on reading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the time of Trump (I’d posted a short piece about this on Medium over the summer, and had been posting snippets of Gibbon all year on Facebook), for what seemed to me a significant sum of money—over a dollar per word, anyway.
When I saw the Times piece about Wieseltier, my heart sank—I knew it would be just a matter of time before I got my assignment canceled. And indeed my editor emailed a couple days later to apologize and retract the offer.
Fortunately for me, I really hadn’t done any work on it, I wasn’t counting on it for freelance income as I am fortunate to get a regular paycheck from my academic employer, and I have emergency familial responsibilities right now that mean (the piece was due Thanksgiving week) that it is actually much better for me not to be writing a piece in a slightly unfamiliar mode just now. But I can easily imagine it would have been devastating for someone who was depending heavily on the income and the byline and who wasn’t currently quite as overloaded as I seem to be with other commitments.
John Buffalo Mailer
Actor in The Private Life of a Modern Woman, a new drama written and directed by James Toback, around which the future is unclear.
I can’t pretend that I have been affected professionally for the one day of acting I did on Toback’s last film. It was incredible to get to work with the extraordinary Sienna Miller, for which I am extremely grateful, but I can’t say that I was looking at playing this part as my breakout opportunity, and so would be lying if I said that Toback’s predatory actions coming to light have affected me professionally. On a personal level, I am thrilled to be living through the ground shift we are experiencing in terms of women in the entertainment industry (and all industries for that matter) finally feeling empowered to speak out against the misogynistic culture that until now has been considered part of the deal if one wants to become an actor. It is long overdue.
I would imagine that most of the people who worked on the movie feel like Toback’s actions took something away from the experience. While I was only on for one day, it was a fun shoot, and I am proud of the work. However, given the number of people who have been personally impacted by Toback’s predatory behavior, if it never saw the light of day, I can’t say that would upset me terribly. I don’t know how one can watch the movie objectively and forget about the actions of the man who wrote and directed it, not for some time at least. Don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of censoring art, and if people are curious about the movie, I think it should find a home (mostly because of Sienna’s magnificent performance in it), but the level of anger and course correction we are living through at the moment is strong to the point where if I were a distributor, I would not see easy answers as to whether or not putting the movie out now is the right or wrong thing to do.
At this point, after being a professional actor/writer for twenty years, I like to joke that I write for a living and act when the powers that be let me. So, this was a fun opportunity to get to act with one of the most interesting leading ladies of our day, and I leapt at the chance to do so. I certainly do not regret doing the movie, but the fate of one movie is far outweighed by the number of people who have been effected by Toback’s actions, so while I am one who does his best to try and separate artist’s personal lives from their art, if what he did means that all the work that an army put into making that movie happen is for not, that is a price Toback will have to shoulder and take responsibility for. I can’t imagine that it is the foremost price he has on his shoulders that is keeping him up at night at the moment.
The fate of the movie will be what it is. For the sake of all my friends who worked so hard to make it happen, I hope that if and when the time is right, it sees the light of day. But if it does not, then it will be yet another example that actions have consequences, and it is not okay for anybody in a power position to use that power to make people who are beholden to them do things they do not want to do. Power must always be held accountable and kept in check.
Played Sal in The Private Life of a Modern Woman, a new drama written and directed by James Toback, around which the future is unclear.
This project was kind of a big deal for me. It was the first time in my career that I ever worked with an academy nominated writer/director and A-List talent like Sienna Miller. Getting cast was one of the most memorable days in my life career-wise and something I will never forget. I was cast as Sal, Vera (played by Sienna Miller) Lockman’s ex-boyfriend, who has recently come back into her life for a lifesaving favor.
I could have easily told you what my hopes were [for the project] before all of the allegations came to light, but at this point I don’t know what a realistic hope for it is. I still want people to see it. When I saw the premiere in Venice for the film festival, I was really pleased with the project and proud of my work. At the end of the day, I want people to see my work.
I have hope that eventually the work will be seen simply because it’s good work. Now might not be the right time, but if and when it’s meant to be, it will be.
I’ve had to be more diligent [since the allegations came to light] about screening my social media from backlash, because I noticed random people posting angry faces or pig emojis in the comments section to pictures I’ve posted while in Italy for the Venice Film Festival. Everything from pics with James to anything else related to Private Life. That makes me sad because I’ve been trying to break through in this industry for over a decade and finally, finally I got something that was so good for so many reasons (the script, the cast, the writer) and suddenly, like within a day, it turned into something else entirely. I want to make it clear that I just met James when I auditioned for this film. I didn’t know of these past allegations nor did I see any of this behavior on set when I worked with him. All I know is he wrote a great screenplay and has an unconventional style of directing that lead to me giving one of the best performances I’ve ever done.
I think we are in a necessary cleansing or purging phase that is painful right now both for victims to share/retell and for projects getting shut down, however, I think it’s going to be great for the industry when it’s all said and done. No one should have to face this type of situation when you are going to work. Period. I hope we also start implementing new rules and regulations because outing all the bad guys is the first step but unfortunately not enough. In order to protect future generations coming into the business we need to develop new standards. For example, in film there is no HR department. If you have a problem on set, you go to the producers or the Union. Both of which are problematic if/when the person you are complaining about is the producer/director.
These responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.