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Curse of the casting couch

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Curse of the casting couch

/ 12:03 AM October 31, 2017
Bill Cosby

In this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo, actor-comedian Bill Cosby poses for a portrait in New York. Invision/AP File Photo

Each show biz season, hundreds of “hungry” hopefuls storm the gates of the entertainment industry, desperate to be discovered and become fabulously popular and wealthy stars.

To their chagrin, if they don’t have enough money of their own to finance the production of their own launching show, film or recording, they have to first win the approval and backing of a producer, director or financier to achieve their fantastic and fantasticating dream of stardom.

Unfortunately and sometimes even tragically for them, some of their potential backers aren’t just looking for innate talent, beauty or charisma, they’re also on the prowl for sexual favors from the unknowns they choose to transform into overnight sensations.

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If the new talent agrees to “put out” or otherwise “cooperate” as part of the implied “contractual” agreement, good for both of them. If the starlet refuses, she or he can kiss this particular stellar break goodbye.

In the worst possible instance, the newbie is assaulted and forced to cooperate—but the promised stellar gratuity still doesn’t happen—and the used and abused starlet is left to bitterly bemoan his or her fate in seething, helpless silence.

These bitter ruminations are as old as the entertainment heels, but they have acquired current angst and relevance due to the “breaking news” exposure of newly unmasked show biz predators like comedian Bill Cosby and producer Harvey Weinstein.

Scores of victims have finally emerged from the shadows to accuse them, no longer “ashamed” and now feeling empowered to give their assaulters their comeuppance—to discourage other predators from traumatizing a new generation of clueless victims.

The Curse of the Casting Couch in show biz has silently held sway for so long that some people doubt if it can ever be de-fanged.

But, hope freshly springs, with the courage demonstrated by Cosby and Weinstein’s collective accusers. So, with the viewing public’s now enlightened backing, the slithering show biz snake could finally lose its poison:

If the all-powerful entertainment audience refuses to patronize the productions of the predators now being unmasked, that’s the end of their high-flying careers—and like-minded exploiters will similarly get the message. Because the bottom line in the biz is that money talks, and the threatened loss of it most convincingly shouts.

What do new talents do until that happens? The next time they get sleazily propositioned by a supposed show biz bigwig to “pay” for the privilege of becoming a star, they should secretly record the compromising conversation on their phone or device—and, when push comes to shove, play the incriminating and damning recording for industry leaders and law enforcers’ dark delectation.

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Some of Weinstein’s victims have done just that, and the reactions and legal actions have been consequently and correspondingly swift.

In just 10 days, the all-powerful Weinstein has been summarily stripped of his clout, and forced suddenly into “rehab.”

As for Cosby, the tide of public opinion has turned decidedly against him and his “fatherly” protestations of injured innocence.

It’s a new and more empowered age we’re living in, so the rage also has to escalate and speed up.

Our collective goal now should be—to burn that antediluvian casting couch and make genuine talent and exceptional charisma the sole considerations for stardom—which should be attained the nonhorizontal way.

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