As always Seinfeld is ahead of the curve, what with today’s straight male “celebrities” –
and now –
“taking it out.” Why do these men seem to think women want to see their junk?
In Susan Braudy’s case, she provided a detailed written account of her experience with Douglas based on notes and files she kept, a timeline of her employment (including pay stubs), and three people she told of her experience who were willing to back her publicly, including two well-known authors. She also has a 1993 letter from the California Women’s Law Center showing she inquired about remedies for sexual harassment in the workplace, though she says she was too intimidated to follow through with a complaint.
But now thanks to “Me Too” she has ‘found her voice” as it were.
Braudy’s job, which she performed first in a small office suite but then mostly out of the living room in Douglas’ Manhattan home, was to “read scripts, hire and supervise screenwriters, and perhaps most important, to babysit Michael in his apartment,” she writes in her account. The entertainment industry is filled with such unconventional workplaces, many of which blur the lines between public and private lives. Movie sets often are considered akin to summer camp. And everyone from personal assistants to makeup artists to, yes, development executives often find themselves in the inner sanctums of those with enormous power and influence.
While Douglas, whose star in the late ’80s was rising thanks to the hits Fatal Attraction and Wall Street, was not often in New York, when he was, Braudy writes, she “did my best to shrug off the cloud of sexual aggression that Michael reflexively emitted.” She says he openly discussed affairs with co-star Kathleen Turner and a European heiress. “I knew something was off but had no name for it,” she writes. “I’d never heard there was a phenomenon called sexual harassment and didn’t know the term until the Anita Hill hearings in 1991.”
There were incidents with Douglas she says she found especially alarming. In a one-on-one meeting on her first day, he used a crude term for female genitalia. Later, “one screenwriter I hired asked if he could bring his daughter to meet Michael,” she writes. “She asked Michael for a banana. Michael strode to me and said so that only I could hear, ‘Yes. And then you can tell your friends you licked Michael Douglas’ banana.’ I was appalled.”
Who wouldn’t be? Speaking as a 70 year-old gay man and great appreciator of Peen, I’m well aware that there’s a time and a place, and one doesn’t simply “take it out” whenever the mood strikes.
To stop his commenting about her body, “I began wearing long, loose layers of black,” she writes. “He asked a producer, ‘Why does Susan dress like a pregnant nun?’ Another time I laughed loudly and he shouted to a group of agents, ‘Oh yeah, she’s a screamer! I bet she screams in the sack.’ I protested, ‘Please, don’t talk like that. It’s inappropriate.’ This made him laugh until he got pink splotches on his cheeks.”
At script meetings in his apartment, “Michael was usually barefoot, his blue oxford shirt unbuttoned to his navel,” she writes. “I sat across the room on the yellow silk couch taking notes.” Then one afternoon in early 1989, as they brainstormed an idea about an E.T.-like character, she recalls him sliding down the back of his chair and onto the floor. “Michael unzipped his chinos and I registered something amiss. Still complimenting my additions to our E.T. imitation, his voice lowered at least half an octave. I peered at him and saw he’d inserted both hands into his unzipped pants. I realized to my horror that he was rubbing his private parts. Within seconds his voice cracked and it appeared to me he’d had an orgasm.”
Braudy writes that she closed her notebook and rushed for the door: “I said nothing. I was surprised I wasn’t falling to pieces even though I was humiliated. I realized he thought he could do anything he wanted because he was so much more powerful than I was. Michael ran barefoot after me to the elevator, zipping his fly and buckling his belt. ‘Hey, thank you, you’re good. You helped me, thank you, thank you.’”
Take it away Ladies!