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Commentary By Jason L. Riley

Resist the Temptation to Politicize Sex Scandals

Culture Culture & Society

The left’s excuses for Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior greased the skids for Donald Trump.

Back in 1999, I went to see the Kevin Spacey film “American Beauty” twice, but I only saw it once.

On the first attempt, I made it to my seat just in time for the coming attractions, only to notice a large gray rat scurrying up a carpeted wall a few feet away from my head. I tapped my date on the shoulder, and we made our way to the lobby, where I told a manager what I’d seen. She listened without expression, apologized and gave us a refund. Clearly, we weren’t the first people to inform her that the theater had an infestation problem.

On Monday Mr. Spacey became the latest Hollywood figure in recent weeks to be accused of sexual assault, and by this point the public is probably as shocked as that theater manager. Even Mr. Spacey’s if-I-did-it-I-was-drunk defense had a familiar ring. Mel Gibson blamed his anti-Semitic rants on alcohol. If Mr. Spacey is to be believed, too much liquor also makes grown men throw themselves on top of 14-year-old boys. Some claim the sex scandals that have bedeviled the Catholic Church stem from sexual repression among the clergy, so what explains similar shenanigans in libertine Tinseltown?

It’s been speculated that “Suburbicon,” a new film directed by George Clooney and starring Matt Damon, tanked at the box office over the weekend because moviegoers wanted to punish the two men for perhaps knowing more about Harvey Weinstein’s lecherous behavior than they’ve let on. Maybe so, but it’s hard to believe that a nation that put Donald Trump, warts and all, in the White House would use guilt by association to punish two of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Besides, the movie opened to mediocre reviews—The Journal’s Joe Morgenstern called it “not only unfunny, a bad sign for a black comedy, but deep-dyed dislikable.” Maybe the critics were right.

Read the entire piece at The Wall Street Journal


Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal