The 2018 Golden Globes

Men stayed silent on sexual misconduct

They didn’t speak up: While singer Justin Timberlake wore a Time’s Up pin and tweeted the hashtag #whywewearblack, he did not elaborate on it.
They didn’t speak up: While singer Justin Timberlake wore a Time’s Up pin and tweeted the hashtag #whywewearblack, he did not elaborate on it.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell (above), Ewan McGregor, Guillermo del Toro and Aziz Ansari.
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell (above), Ewan McGregor, Guillermo del Toro and Aziz Ansari.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE–PRESSE, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell, Ewan McGregor (above), Guillermo del Toro and Aziz Ansari.
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell, Ewan McGregor (above), Guillermo del Toro and Aziz Ansari.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE–PRESSE, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell, Ewan McGregor, Guillermo del Toro and Aziz Ansari (above).
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell, Ewan McGregor, Guillermo del Toro and Aziz Ansari (above).PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE–PRESSE, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell, Ewan McGregor, Guillermo del Toro (above) and Aziz Ansari.
They didn’t speak up: They, too, avoided the elephant in the room at the event. Sam Rockwell, Ewan McGregor, Guillermo del Toro (above) and Aziz Ansari.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE–PRESSE, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

Some men at the Golden Globes wore Time's Up pins to support the fight against sexual abuse, but most chose not to talk about the issue

WASHINGTON • The men showed up to the Golden Globes on Sunday night, as they often do at awards shows, dressed in black suits and tuxedos.

This time, however, the colour was a symbol of solidarity for women facing sexual harassment and discrimination.

Some men wore Time's Up pins on their lapels - a show of support for the initiative launched by Hollywood women to combat sexual harassment and abuse in their industry and in those that are not in the public eye.

But for the most part, the men did not speak about the symbols they wore. That job fell almost entirely on women.

Host Seth Meyers' opening monologue was almost entirely about the #MeToo moment, noting that it was kind of weird for a man to host the awards this year. It was a lead that few men followed.

Here is an example: Singer Justin Timberlake proudly showed off his Time's Up pin in a tweet with the hashtag #whywewearblack. But instead of explaining why, he tweeted: "Here we come!! And DAMN, my wife is hot!"

The men who won awards largely skipped the topic altogether in their acceptance speeches.

Actors James Franco, Ewan McGregor, Aziz Ansari, Sam Rockwell, writer Martin McDonagh and director Guillermo del Toro were among the winners who avoided the movement that otherwise dominated the evening.

According to a few of the men, they had heeded a message that emerged from the #MeToo movement early on, when they were roundly encouraged to hush up.

"I do feel it's time for men to shut up and listen," McDonagh, the writer-director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, said in an e-mail.

Del Toro, who collected best director for The Shape Of Water, said by e-mail that coming on the heels of the rousing speech by TV mogul Oprah Winfrey - who urged men to listen too - he felt it was "important to acknowledge the woman power in my immediate circle of work/collaboration and how they made it possible to create the film".

Publicists and agents guiding male clients through this unusual awards season said it was highly likely that some of the men were terrified of making missteps on the world's stage.

Actor Matt Damon had proven to be just one cautionary tale, they said. His attempts to draw distinctions between varying levels of sexual misconduct - distinctions that some people believed in privately yet would not dare say publicly - set off a firestorm of criticism.

Representatives for Franco and Rockwell said their clients could not be reached, but noted that during interviews with reporters backstage after their wins, the men readily responded to queries about the Time's Up movement.

"Women feel empowered to say something. I think they deserve that, and I think the rest of us should just listen," said Rockwell, a star of Three Billboards.

Asked what else men could do to sustain change, he replied: "I don't really know the answer to that, but I suppose, I think really the issue is bullying. I think people have to stop being bullies."

When Franco was asked backstage why he was wearing a Time's Up pin, he replied: "I've always said that whenever any group is treated differently or given less rights or less equality than any other, it's everyone's responsibility to stand up and make change."

And actor Gary Oldman said that Harvey Weinstein, the producer who has been accused of harassment by dozens of women, had always given him "the creeps" and that he welcomed this movement.

"A wheel is turning. It's turning a notch in the evolutionary wheel," he said. "We're still coming out of the mists of time. What we do, what we say, how we do it, who we say it to and who we do it to, is very, very important."

Despite the viral moment from Winfrey and a well-reviewed performance by Meyers, the ratings for the Globes dipped 5 per cent compared to last year's telecast.

The ceremony drew a total of 19 million viewers, down from just over 20 million last year, according to early Nielsen data.

On the red carpet, when men were asked about their black tuxes and Time's Up pins, some had answers ready.

"Yes, it's important tonight but it's important to follow through," actor Denzel Washington said to NBC host Al Roker. "It's important to see what's going to be happening a year from tonight."

Others struggled to answer basic questions on what those symbols meant.

Good Morning America host Lara Spencer asked Stranger Things actor David Harbour a simple question: "Time's up on . . .?"

He struggled to fill in the blank, so she began suggesting answers for him: "Sexual harassment? Predators?"

Harbour, who was wearing a Time's Up pin, settled on "women not getting the respect they deserve in the workplace".

On Twitter, viewers who watched E!'s red carpet coverage noted that host Ryan Seacrest seemed to be asking only women about Time's Up and sexual harassment, while sticking to more comfortable topics like acting with the men he interviewed.

WASHINGTON POST, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'Men stayed silent on sexual misconduct'. Print Edition | Subscribe