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COLUMN: Finn Wolfhard firing his agent was an act of solidarity



In light of the recent allegations and subsequent damnations of Harvey Weinstein, Finn Wolfhard, a 14-year-old actor famous for his roles in "Stranger Things" and "It," has fired his agent upon learning he had been accused of sexual assault.

Naturally, Americans are proud of such a young actor for standing up for sexual assault victims. Wolfhard should be celebrated for standing up for other child actors who may feel they do not have a voice in the sexual assault discussion. 

However, we must remember to pay attention to the stories of survivors of sexual assault, rather than solely celebrating allies to the survivors.

Wolfhard's agent Tyler Grasham was terminated from the Agency for Performing Arts after a former child actor and another editor came out about the abuse they endured while working with him.

Blaise Godbe Lipman, now 27, had just turned 18 when Grasham used alcohol to make him less likely to react to the assault during what was supposed to be a business meeting. 

Initially, he didn't use Grasham’s name in his post about his suffering in the film and television industry, but decided to name drop once Grasham poked him on Facebook shortly after he made the post. 

In a recent Facebook post, Lipman explains the fear of coming out as a sexual assault victim as a child actor. He says that at that age, all actors are throwaways and can be replaced, a fact Grasham and other agents tell child actors frequently. 

This creates a heavily imbalanced power dynamic between actor and agent.

Lipman also was subjected to mistreatment for being a young gay actor who had gay managers and agents. 

While it is amazing that Wolfhard already has the social consciousness at his age to step away from such hurtful men, it is Lipman’s post we should be sharing virally. Rather than just retweeting how brave Wolfhard is, we should amplify the voices of survivors. 

Lipman offers a different perspective on the sexual assault issue within the industry than those who are on the outside of Hollywood. He claims that many people were silent "because we all want to get our movies green-lit, or to get hired for that next show, or for our clients to book that next the job."

This isn’t acceptable grounds for assault. It isn’t even an excuse, but it is a reason. And the honesty about it can be refreshing.

Out of all of the terror, sadness and anger that has come from the Weinstein blow up in the last month, we can at least take solace in that it is on everyone’s minds, and some people are doing things to make the system better.

mmgarbac@indiana.edu

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