Monday, November 24, 2014

Bill Cosby, Hollywood, and the Casting Couch

Model Photo at Age 19 
A lot of people have been asking me if I think Bill Cosby is guilty of sexual assault and rape now that sixteen or so women have come forward to claim he forced sex on them in one way or the other. Let me say right here that I don't know if Bill Cosby committed a crime or he was just behaving like some of the men I encountered during my year in Hollywood; aggressive, entitled, and rather repulsive.

The casting couch was alive and well during the year of 1973 when I did the rounds in Hollywood attempting to get modeling and acting gigs. Managers, photographers, and actors of the male persuasion certainly put the moves on me promising me gigs and stardom if I just gave up a little somethin' somethin'. I remember quite a number of approaches. One day I went to a casting director over at Universal Studios for Police Story and he told me he loved my portfolio. Headshot photo in hand, he asked me to dinner. When I told him I had other plans, he threw it back across the desk at me and told me, mockingly, to call him again when I got in the union. Another time I had this manager take me to Richard Dreyfuss's house. I don't remember the actor being there but I do  remember a dish of pills being passed around. The manager encouraged me to pick a color. I declined. He then told me he could take me to Las Vegas with him while he did some business there. I declined. He didn't take me on as a client. I can remember some other times when my go-see included a man simply dropping his trousers or whipping it out and encouraging me to have a go at it. Yeah, the casting couch was and is a huge problem and I can tell you, I ran into very few girls who said no because those who did often got nowhere in the business. I promised myself I would never succumb to the casting couch and I kept that promise; I failed dismally at getting any work other than extra work.

I am not saying that truly talented women and men can never climb the career ladder in Hollywood without getting on their knees, backs, or stomachs but I can confidently say that a good portion of wannabee actors and models just go with the program and hope it does them some good.

So, can I see Bill Cosby acting in a disgraceful manner and aggressively seeking sex with young vulnerable women wanting to break into Hollywood? Absolutely. Most of the stories the women tell sound more like the casting couch than rape scenarios but that some might have been taken advantage of while heavily under the influence of drugs that Bill might have given them when a sexual act occurred...yeah, possible.

The problem, as always with the reporting of crimes delayed by weeks, months or years and especially when reported in the media rather than to law enforcement is that it is impossible to really know if a criminal act occurred, or for that matter, if even sleazy behavior occurred. Even though a person, like Cosby, with a position of power can certainly cause young person to succumb to sexual pressure either because they are starstruck or desirous of fame or fortune, it still isn't a crime unless there was force involved. One could call it sexual harassment but the fact most of these claims are outside of professional employment situations means it is a matter between two people. And, when a man reaches such a high level of visibility, it is easy for him to become a target of claims that can't be proven but can ruin one's reputation. I have had many lies told about me and I can't do much about them because once they are out on the Internet and being repeated, denial often doesn't make a difference. So I don't know exactly who is being despicable in this situation.

I made the decision at age 19 not to go the casting couch route. I could just have easily decided to use it to my advantage to get work. In reality, this is another version of prostitution and if one want to sell one's body to make money or advance one's career than one must accept that one is choosing to do so and the responsiblity for the act lies on both sides. Is it fair that the casting couch is, for a good many people, a necessity to get work in Hollywood? No, and I would like to see it eliminated. But, for now, it is still a reality and we all know that those in power sometimes demand sex in return for favors and those not in power may offer sex in order to get favors.

Sometimes standing up to those in power means losing money and opportunity. I didn't make it in Hollywood at age 19 because I chose not to go the casting couch route (and I probably wasn't all that talented, either) and I lost my job as a professor with Excelsior College because I chose not to allow plagiarism and I refused to participate in grade inflation. I have lost a good portion of my television work because I won't speak on mass murder. That is how life goes. I am sure many readers here have lost opportunities because they said no to sex, or lying, or cheating, or racism, or elitism, or whatever less-than-ethical action their boss or company required of them. And hurrah for them.

So, is Bill Cosby guilty of what these women claim? I don't know. All I know is he is still funny and I still love The Bill Cosby Show. And I still think Michael Jackson can dance.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

November 24, 2014


Dawn said...

Well written,Pat.If one puts one foot in that direction,all becomes lost in oneself ,as you are then being controlled by someone else.Not a good place to be.

Anonymous said...


Very Interesting experiences and ones that have given you a insight into what can be a murky yet very powerful world.

There seems to be a lot of high profile media Hollywood actors/actresses having fatal accidents also of late.....and myself personally don't buy most of what gets reported - but once they join that inner circle and often when they are very young and naive - there is no way back and it would seem that to speak out.... results in their downfall via their image or ultimately their life.

There is something very evil happening in the world and i get no pleasure from saying that, and it is tied into the machine that runs us all.

Take a look at the music industry running parallel with hollywood - many talk of the Illuminati - look at the symbolic gestures used in the videos and so on....its in your face and people can see it and talk about it all the time - like its a trendy club.

Some of this stuff would have been regarded as the work of the devil less than 100 years ago and now its mainstream in your ears and eyes for the upcoming generations to digest....its where the dream lies for many kids, especially when young bright eyed and bushy tailed with the idea of fame,money and everything that brings in materialistic wealth.... it seems to over ride the minds of today in greater numbers with each generation.

As i write this post i sound like a fuddy duddy to many lol - believe me I am NOT by any stretch of anyone's imagination.

As i reach my mid forties. i have began to read extensively and can see how this fundamental shift has taken place and its disturbing me more with each day that passes.

Madonna seems to be attracting many into mystic kabbalah - do you know much about these teachings Pat?

Have you ever read about lilitu / Lilith ..its fascinating reading.

There is so much i want to say.

Pat ...please take care.


Anonymous said...

An excellent article, Pat. Thank you. You're the tops!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant article

Preraphazon said...

I was in the music biz for 20 years when younger, and I know exactly what you're talking about. Geezers using their position and their ability to dole out favors to get laid. Not all were like that, thankfully, but I was one of the earliest women in that world and I remember walking into a national industry convention in a three-piece wool suit and being motioned over to a group of men who assume I was the hooker they apparently ordered. No one there took me seriously. The next year I went with a punk band and dressed up like one of them and fared much better.

I used my smart mouth to shoot down the crude advances, but most women couldn't muster it up to do that. After a lewd suggestion, I'd look them up and down appraisingly with my resting b*tch face and say "You wouldn't like it" or "You couldn't handle it" or "I'm trying to quit" or "I'm more of a woman than you could handle and more of a man than you'll ever be" and just dismiss them out of hand. Problem is to make all that work, you have to not be hooking up with one you DO like or then everyone gets their back up.

By the time you get where you're wanting to go, you may still have as many enemies as friends, but it makes reaching your goal that much sweeter, I thought, to see those I'd given the bad end of my spiked heel to squirming once I was in a position I could not longer be f'd with.