The now viral website was created by four professionals in advertising who were fed up with not being able to do anything about the Hollywood sex assault allegations
By this point, you are probably sick of hearing about the Harvey Weinstein scandal. However, in case you have not been keeping up with the news, here is a short recap: this past October, The New Yorker published an exposé in which they revealed that, beyond being a commonly known bully, Weinstein had been sexually harassing actresses and women who worked in his production company, Miramax, for decades. The magazine decided to look into the issue after the Ney York Times had published, on October 5th, a story where journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey revealed multiple allegations against Weinstein of women claiming that they were either sexually harassed or assaulted by the mega producer.
Ronan Farrow writes, for The New Yorker: “Three of the women (…) told me that Weinstein had raped them, forcibly performing or receiving oral sex or forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they had experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is “used to.” Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them”.
After the women who had been allegedly harassed or assaulted by Weinstein came forward, scandal after scandal of sexual abuse in Hollywood started to come to the light. With all of the news and allegations against superstar actors, like Kevin Spacey, and big fish in the Hollywood tank, it can be really hard to keep track. Besides, if you are simply a consumer of film and media, and not someone who actively participates in filmmaking and similar industries, what can you do about it?
Now you can boycott movies and TV shows where people involved in production are alleged perpetuators of sexual abuse or harassment.
Thanks to Rotten Apples, you can now search a movie or TV show to find out whether or not a cast member or someone in the production team is a known or accused sexual harasser or assaulter. Rotten Apples takes the data registered in The Movie Data Base. When the user enters a given movie or TV show title in the search bar, they will be able to see whether said product is “Rotten Apples” or “Fresh Apples”. If your search turns out to be “Rotten Apples”, the website will provide you with a link to the news article where you can find the full story and read it for yourself.
This way, the next time you’re debating whether or not you should watch a show or a movie, you can look it up and use the information provided as a means to ruling out anything that might endorse a (maybe potential) pervert. As the Rotten Apples team states on their website: “The goal of this site is to further drive awareness of just how pervasive sexual misconduct in film and television is and to help make ethical media consumption easier”.
Not a full solution, but perhaps a start
Deciding to not watch a movie because Harvey Weinstein was involved in making it does not solve the issue, neither does it stop sexual harassment from happening. However, it can be a way of taking a stand.
It can be argued that boycotting a film because of one person’s alleged wrong doings may be exaggerating. As the team puts it, they agree: “By no means is this site meant to serve as a condemnation of an entire project”. They also leave you with a warning: “This database is not perfect, nor are the results meant to be taken as fact. Each link is sourced from an existing article and is not a reflection of our own opinions”.
Users can help better this tool, too. If there are allegations they have missed because, like all of us, the people operating Rotten Apples are human, there is a link available so that their users can let them know.
Latin American Post | Laura Rocha Rueda