Sunday night’s Grammys lost 10 million viewers despite being packed with the hottest stars and
bratty adorable little Blue Ivy Carter (daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z).
Despite the lackluster public engagement, there were a couple of pretty big moments and ironically they contrast each other in a way that sharply focuses the #MeToo controversy.
Singer Ke$ha’s performance was one of the most anticipated of the evening. The “party-girl pop” singer has been embroiled in a very nasty, complicated lawsuit against her former producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. You can read about that here, but for those unfamiliar a simple recap is that Ke$ha claims Gottwald raped her on two separate occasions and used her recording contract to hold her and her music hostage.
This lawsuit has been winding through the legal system for three years now, long before anyone could have dreamt of #MeToo or the horrible things people like Harvey Weinstein did with their power. At the time of her charges, much of the industry and many consumers thought perhaps Ke$ha was simply making a play to get out of a bad contract. Perhaps she’d had some affair with the producer and was bitter about the direction of the relationship.
Gottwald could well be considered the Harvey Weinstein of music. He can make or break or a singer’s career, and has done just that for many women. For Ke$ha to accuse him of such horrendous crimes at the pinnacle of her fledgling career was to risk losing everything…and for a while it looked like she had.
At that time, it seemed easier to believe that a woman who sings about brushing her teeth with whiskey might be lying for her own gain. That was before Harvey Weinstein showed us how we have all been deluding ourselves – and allowed ourselves to be deluded – for all these years.
Supported by the wallets of superstars like Adele and Taylor Swift, Ke$ha pushed forward with the suit and her music. She penned a moving and personal ballad about surviving sexual abuse at the hands of her mentor called “Praying” and was invited to sing it with Cyndi Lauper and other female stars at the Grammys. It was her own personal #MeToo moment and it did not disappoint.
What is most striking is how much the pop star earned that moment for herself. The Hollywood #MeToo contingent did nothing to earn their moment. While Ke$ha summoned the courage to step out on her own regardless of the consequences, the Meryl Streeps of Tinsel Town cowered behind their paychecks for decades, only daring to poke their heads out after women who had already paid a heavy price came forward.
The bandwagon filled up fast. Actors draped themselves in black and called themselves “activists”. They did nothing to create the movement (nor prevent the need for such a movement in the first place). They didn’t make any films about it, or write scripts or go on talk shows and blast creeps by name. They took their big paychecks and kept their head low until someone else got their proverbial head chopped off first. Then they stood and declared their solidarity, having risked absolutely nothing at all.
Ke$ha bore the risk herself and has paid a hefty price. Her performance at the Grammys was a well-deserved victory and should be held up as the example of what #MeToo should really look like. This woman waited for no one, no hashtags, no red carpet stunts. She went after what she thought she rightfully deserved – justice – and she did not cower to protect her career.
She wrote a scathing and moving song based on her struggle and turned it into a hit. What’s worth more: a black dress on a red carpet or a personally written song evicirating a tormenter practically by name and performing it on national television in front of many of the people who enabled him for so long?
Accidentally punctuating the problem, the Grammy producers shockingly thought it would effective to have Hillary Clinton read from the Trump expose “Fire and Fury” as some kind of #MeToo stunt. Hillary Clinton – the woman who is still married to a man who shoved a cigar up an intern’s vagina in the Oval Office and has been accused of multiple rapes.
I suppose the #MeToo policy of believing the woman first only extends to women who haven’t been raped by a Clinton.
Ke$ha’s courage and her outstanding, emotional Grammys performance only served to underscore the hypocrisy of her industry and the entire entertainment industry in general.
Pay attention, Hollywood. Your fakery is annoying. This is how it’s done. Take a personal risk, be tenacious, then create something beautiful and genuine out of a horrible experience.
The Ke$ha #MeToo is just so extra.
You guys in Hollywood are just #MeTooFakeNews.