Recently Lindsay Lohan was interviewed by The Times, and most of the piece is focused on her various ventures. Her self-branded beach bars and makeup lines, her projects in production, her role in the UK series Sick Note — all things that let us know she’s keeping herself busy. All good stuff, basically.
But at the end of the profile, after discussing her on-screen nudity in 2013’s The Canyons, the topic of sexual harassment comes up. Lohan claims she hasn’t ever had any #MeToo-ish experiences during her career. And then she, uh, went on:
“So, I don’t really have anything to say. I can’t speak on something I didn’t live, right? Look, I am very supportive of women. Everyone goes through their own experiences in their own ways.” But, she says, she can’t go along with the “attention-seekers” or trial by social media.
“If it happens at that moment, you discuss it at that moment,” she says. “You make it a real thing by making it a police report. I’m going to really hate myself for saying this, but I think by women speaking against all these things, it makes them look weak when they are very strong women. You have these girls who come out, who don’t even know who they are, who do it for the attention. That is taking away from the fact that it happened.”
And look, I’m conflicted. People are entitled to their own opinions, and frankly her thoughts shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Lindsay already shared her thoughts on the Weinstein scandal last year in an infamous Instagram video where she said “I feel very bad for Harvey Weinstein right now. I don’t think it’s right what’s going on.”
And yet… C’mon now. Filing a police report doesn’t make sexual assault a “real thing” — experiencing it does! And speaking up in no way makes a woman look weak. It takes enormous courage to come forward and risk professional and personal repercussions, as we’ve witnessed time and again in basically every account of sexual misconduct we’ve heard since the Weinstein story broke. Of course, living with assault and NOT speaking out also takes courage. Basically — being a victim is not the same as being weak, no matter how it’s handled.
And you certainly can’t say that assault becomes “a real thing” if you discuss it in the moment, and THEN turn around and say that speaking out “is taking away from the fact that it happened.” Is the experience of sexual assault more real if you speak up or if you suffer silently? Which is it? Because honestly, this shit already felt like a no-win situation since FOREVER, and we’re just now starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel — see that maybe it’s possible to be believed, and to show that victims aren’t alone. Let’s not go back to that no-win way of thinking.
But mostly I’m conflicted because I don’t think Lohan is simply ignorant or naive or “wrong.” I think she’s a product of the very same Hollywood system that’s under attack. And even if we take her at her word that she’s never personally had any negative experiences, it’s possible to see how literally growing up in that system can make someone internalize those values — and those fears. She’s seen first-hand how easily the roles dry up when you make mistakes and go from the It Girl to an outcast. I imagine the idea of staying silent and not pissing off the people in power does look like strength, if you come from that environment.
Look, I don’t agree with Lindsay Lohan, and I’m not trying to apologize for her or excuse her. What she had to say was sad and logically unsound on so many levels. But reading her opinion, I was mostly left wondering just how she ended up coming to think the way she does.
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