The Golden Globes’ red carpet was as predictable as paint drying. Hosts like Carson Daly and Al Roker threw softball questions about the #MeToo movement and change in the industry to celebrities — while stars provided answers that felt more scripted than some of the movies for which they work.
Nothing sounded very different from the safe statements we’ve been reading amid the sexual misconduct scandals involving disgraced filmmakers like Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein — that is, until Denzel Washington got in front of a microphone.
While other celebrities sold an industry that was in the midst of serious change given the recent sexual misconduct scandals, Washington had a much more grounded reaction to change within the industry (including to stars wearing black in “solidarity” against sexual harassment).
“It’s important to follow through,” Washington said, while shrugging about stars wearing black in solidarity at the ceremony. The “Roman J. Israel Esq.” star stood next to Pauletta Washington, his wife of more than 30 years.
The actor added as a warning to Hollywood and all those watching the controversial industry, “It’s important to see what’s happening a year from now.”
It’s not the first time Washington has broken from the mainstream Hollywood political narrative — and it’s certainly not going to be the last.
While it’s inspiring to see stars standing in solidarity and bringing attention to an incredibly serious issue within the industry, it was also refreshing to see a celebrity express what many Americans are feeling about Hollywood at the moment.
He expressed in only a few words a warning that change is more than a social media hashtag and a fashion trend (though those can help). Change means looking at past behaviors and learning from mistakes. In order to do that, Hollywood needs to admit its mistakes — which is not at all easy for the hypocritical and political industry to do.
PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].