Saturday, 21 October 2017

WHAT I KNEW

I’m not really a big fan of making Serious Statements on social media/this blog as I can’t help but feel there’s something basically performative about it all – ie I don’t think the aftermath of a terrorist attack needs a hot take from me.

Nonetheless, I’ve seen a lot of stuff flying around theatre Twitter about the silence of the men re: recent revelations, and while I’m fairly sure they mean actual important men like Rufus Norris I might as well quickly write something.

First it hopefully goes without saying that I think all forms of abuse, coercion etc within the industry and without are utterly repellant.

Second I honestly don’t believe I have personally done anything that constitutes abuse, aggression, coercion, etcetera. Ultimately it’s not for me to say that, and god knows I have things to be embarrassed and ashamed of about in my life for other reasons, but I think I’m just going to leave it there.

That leaves what did I know? I really sincerely mean it when I say ‘not a lot’, and I’m probably less connected to the industry than people might expect. I read some gossip about Kevin Spacey on Popbitch and maybe a couple of people told me similar rumours. I guess it needs people to come forward to substantiate or deny; the rumours I’ve heard are pretty mild on the Weinstein scale; other people have heard worse, I think, but there's always the worry it's a malicious distortion against a very famous person who chooses not to discuss his sexuality (I read a popular internet thread about him with stuff in it that was patently untrue - clearly his extreme celebrity is a distraction of sorts).

Max Stafford-Clark - didn’t know, never met him, first I heard of it was that he seemed to fit the bill of one of the people Lucy Prebble described in her Weinstein essay. (UPDATE: for whatever reason somebody has sent me some more info on this confidentially and it’s pretty grim).

I have heard I think three more names in the last week, in two instances literally just names with no behaviour attached, one a little more and totally unacceptable, though probably the sort of thing more damaging to a marriage than a career.

As far as journalism goes, I’ve only really had two jobs and I’ve always worked in small offices, and the senior staff have been women most of the time. I never personally knew any powerful (or non powerful) figures in journalism or theatre who were abusing their power - but it’s worth saying that again I’ve met fewer of them than you’d expect (I worked at Metro regionally for four years and only met the editor when he made me redundant). The worst behaviour I’ve been aware of has been people who were nice (or at least okay) when sober who become horrible whilst drunk.

Speaking of which… Re: Andrew Haydon – pretty much anybody who knew him more than a few years back was aware that he had a drinking problem, and was not a nice drunk. I’m not saying being an alcoholic excuses anything, or that his tendency to pounce on people/institutions who fell below a moral threshold that he himself had crossed wasn’t hypocritical. But the impression I got (I’ve only met him a handful of times IRL and maybe only two of them while drinking, though there Are Stories) is that he was more a misanthrope than a misogynist whilst drunk (ie he was horrible to everyone) and ultimately it seems like he was ashamed enough of his behaviour to kick the booze. I don't know, it all seemed sad and self-sabotaging rather than sinister, but probably not if you're a 19-year-old woman he's saying horrible things to.

So really this has been a boring note saying ‘I didn’t do anything or know anything’ which feels dangerously like self-justification and makes me worry that this is really just a big ego trip. But there it is.

If there’s anything you want to discuss with me from a confidential professional perspective or whatever you can get me on lukowski@gmail.com. Realistically, Time Out is not the place you’re going to go to for a big industry exposé - so possibly that’s a good reason to talk something through with me before committing to talking to a proper journalist, I dunno.

Anyway, maybe this has been useful, maybe this is a box ticking exercise, I can always delete it or rewrite it or whatever. It feels like now seems to be a good moment to say your piece generally, hopefully more people will do so.

2 comments:

Adelaide Dupont said...

Yes, being 19 and in the theatre is a risk

And by 39 you are virtually invisible...

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