WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - For weeks, women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against powerful men. On Wednesday evening (Dec 13), one man went against the grain and admitted his own long history of sexual misconduct against his classmates, co-workers and his two wives.
Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock, who wrote that he "built a career on finding the truth," shared a detailed account of his misconduct stretching back to his college days in a confessional blog post that he tweeted with the note, "I am Part of the Problem."
The message came just months after he sold his documentary Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! to YouTube Red for US$3.5 million (S$4.7 million), according to Deadline.
Spurlock also has a forthcoming docu-series entitled Cultureshock on A&E, set to premiere in 2018.
"As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realisation of their past indiscretions, I don't sit by and wonder 'who will be next?' " he began.
"I wonder, 'when will they come for me?'"
In the blog post, he chronicled his multiple infidelities, verbal sexual harassment in the workplace, battle with depression and decades-long struggle with alcohol abuse.
"I can't blindly act as though I didn't somehow play a part in this," Spurlock wrote about the sexual harassment epidemic in Hollywood. "Over my life, there have been many instances that parallel what we see every day in the news."
To support this statement, he offered several examples of his sexual misconduct throughout the post, always punctuating the harrowing stories with a variation on the phrase "I am part of the problem."
The first instance he divulged took place in college, when he had a one-night sexual encounter with a girl that he thought was consensual but she later referred to as "rape".
After a night of drinking, the two went back to his room and "began fooling around," but she pushed him off her. Still clothed, the two laid in bed for a while laughing and joking. Before long they were "fooling around" again, though this time they took off their clothes.
The girl, whom Spurlock didn't name, said she didn't want to have sex, but they eventually did anyway. During intercourse, the girl began crying. The two stopped having sex, and Spurlock tried comforting her.
"I thought I was doing OK, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped," Spurlock wrote, adding, "That's why I'm part of the problem."
Spurlock, who founded the New York-based production company Warrior Poets in 2004, next recounted the behaviour that led to him settling a sexual harassment allegation with a former female assistant.
He would often yell at her from across the office, using diminutive nicknames like "hot pants" and "sex pants," which he thought were funny but later realised had "completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of non-existence."
When his assistant quit, she told Spurlock that he had to pay her to remain silent about his consistent verbal sexual harassment, the director wrote.
"I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and cooperation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was," Spurlock wrote.
Spurlock then wrote that he has "been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend" he's ever had, adding that his hatred of this behaviour "didn't make me stop."
Musing on what spurred this pattern of infidelity, Spurlock wrote that he was sexually abused "as a boy and as a young man in my teens." He told only his first wife about the abuse, "for fear of being seen as weak or less than a man."
He also wrote that he suffered from depression and has used alcohol to cope with the mental illness since he was 13 years old and that he hasn't been "sober for more than a week in 30 years."
Calling himself "someone who consistently hurts those closest to me," he wrote that "I have helped create a world of disrespect through my own actions."
He concluded the post by promising to "do better," to "be better."
To begin, he wrote, "I'm going to be more honest with you and myself."
The post received mixed reactions, because, as Andrea Mandell wrote in USA Today, "His motive remains unclear: Is Spurlock purely trying to take responsibility for his actions? Get ahead of new allegations? Preserve his reputation as a documentarian? Reassure investors, like those at CBS and A&E?"
One Twitter user said he was "brave to come forward." Another thanked him for his "honestly and bravery."
Many didn't feel like he deserved any praise, however.
"Morgan Spurlock is not brave, he's trying to get ahead of the story and give you a reason so when you hear about how garbage he is, you think of the reason," comedian Peter Coffin wrote on Twitter.
One user called him "opportunistic."
Another said that despite his post, "he's still bad and I want him to go away."