We’re going after the wrong people.
It’s been revealed that Predator cast Steven Wilder Striege, a registered sex offender, without the cast’s knowledge of his past. Munn was the one who first brought this to attention and since there has been anger at how the cast have appeared to ditch Munn. This is largely because Munn appeared at a press event alone when the other cast members were supposed to be with her.
Solidarity is vitally important. It’s also critical that we create an environment where people can come forward with concerns, draw attention to people with a history of committing or attempting sexual abuse and for just there to be an open dialogue. That can’t happen if the whistleblower is not backed up and is left out in the cold. Munn did the right thing and is not the bad guy.
However, the tirades against the cast have been completely full on and have risked putting blame on the wrong people. The studio is responsible for who it hires and how it reacts when people raise concerns. Often actors are under incredible pressure from those studios which means it’s incredibly difficult to stand up to them and that’s how these kind of scenarios can happen.
“Tirades against the cast have been completely full on and have risked putting blame on the wrong people”
This isn’t a situation where the actors knew about his history – like so many who have worked with Woody Allen or Roman Polanksi – this was something they found out later and are trying to process under incredible pressure. It’s also particularly uncomfortable to see the focus being on the cast reaction when so many women are being told they are letting down feminism. Why are they being held to a higher account than the studio or even the guy who is on the sex offenders’ registry? Additionally, one of the cast members who is being called a disappointment is Yvonne Strahovski. It’s well publicised that she is heavily pregnant right now and due to give birth any day. It’s understandable she wouldn’t be making any public stands in the midst of such a personal time, but also it’s quite disgusting that fans are piling on someone who is about to give birth. Time off – particularly for maternity leave – is a fundamental right. It doesn’t matter if you just want her to put a statement on Twitter; that’s still work at a time when she has every right to focus on herself and her family. To demand anything else is exploitative, capitalist, anti-feminist, entitled and also sounds alarm bells about what treatment actors can expect from fans if ever they need time off for illness.
Solidarity is a core part to change or any kind of activism. But actors aren’t there to perform for us when we decide that we need a public display of remorse or action. It’s quite insidious to suggest otherwise. We must demand solidarity but also create a culture that actively supports that. The outrage should be aimed at a studio that has resisted being held to account, than the actors who have less power in such circumstances. Munn deserves solidarity and should not be frozen out, but it’s important to remember who exactly caused that situation to begin with.