‘Bombshell’ Condemns Behind the Scenes Sexual Exploitation

Updated 2 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor, by Crystal St. Clair
‘Bombshell’ Condemns Behind the Scenes Sexual Exploitation

An intricate, intimate, almost hitting ground zero film, “Bombshell“ has more benign moments than today's "in a hurry" sensationalists  favor. But this scandal inspired docu-drama swats  toridly at the commonality and inner consequences of severe workplace sexual harassment. Director Jay Roach has a "straight from headlines" reality portrayal to which  alludes to a broader sphere encourages by "fair and balanced" right-wing extremities.

Set in 2016,  the Fox News anchors represent an"every woman" mix facing a "man's world" that has allowed more women into executive ("Devil Wears Prada") positions and up professional ladders. Yet, in most cases they have male majority board of directors waiting for them to mess up.

 Charlize Theron (Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (Gretchen Carlson) and Margo Robbie (Kayla Pospisil) have been award nominees and winners which  illustrates their acting skill at wooing empathy. They enliven the high stakes battles with  Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) at Fox News.

For this analytic review , I had a woman, Crystal St. Clair, watching with me. Little did I know that her own history of fighting sexual harassment would burst when the auditorium fully emptied.

My female counterpart asked what "baggage" they bring from previous jobs? St. Clair admits to somekind of sexual harassment on every job she's held. To prove the widespread cancer, at random, she asked a 23-year-old woman if she had endured sexual harassment. Her answer: Yes!

As most viewers know the Fox scandal led to greater awareness, and the downfall of numerous male media titans who had their past sins exposed in blaring "headlines."  It widened the  #MeToo movement prompting motivations of some sincere and politically correct men favorably adapting sexual harassment to the domestic violence  "walk a mile in her (high) heels" march or support (pay) equality at annual "free the nipple" parades, emphasizing that men go shirtless and woman cannot.

Harassment is not about foribidden attraction. It's about power  and the "loser"   acumulates blame , consequences, and shame. St. Clair identified strongly with the "what did I wear, what did I say," moments leading to an allusion that these emotional whallops feel like '"you were stripped naked and left alone in front  of a crowd," forcing you to "lose it or march on." 

 Abuse and harassment come in many flavors varying from light to disgusting. Genuine "conservative" rooted women are not exempt. Margo Robbie defines a young fully immersed conservative hailing young woman admitedly influenced by her family's addiction to FOX . I would anticipate that other influencers apply too, such as her religious beliefs and community environment. 

A giddy well-satisfied FOX producer, she's stealthy lead into the Ailes trap. He's praising of her as he emphasizes "loyality" and "Trust" (sounds likes the President?) eventually leading to a humiliating demand from the boss which she ever so timidly completes with tears in her eyes.

Her anchor colleagues caved long ago to short skirts, glass table, mounds of makeup and perfect hair styling  for preaching evangical conservativism as a stong feminist on air, but a  demure manniquin in cameraless real life confronted by powerful men. When confronted by a cult trooper at a supermarket who disagreed with her on air speech, Gretchen politely reminds, "We have the freedom to disagree."

As one critic wrote: 

"It’s impressive that Bombshell is able to discuss all the issues at hand all at once. It tackles the beginnings of what would become the #metoo movement, the radically unexpected rise of Donald Trump, and the transition of Fox News into a supposedly more female-friendly environment."

Viewers thinking outside the box, clearly recognize the neuances which for the purpose of the film visually depict verbal harassment ("spin" and show your body ) avoiding the "hotels" and undressing. 

Since the anchors are "performing," there's a gray area concerning a required appearance. Broadway and television pick attractive people for the camera. These gender abuses are not confined to women. As a young would-be broadcast journalist, I was told, "You don't look good enough to be on television." Actually, I wanted to produce, not be an anchor.

Heather Hogan wrote  in Astrostraddle about Fox News career pressures:

"... their careers were in peril, and after fueling white supremacy with outright lies and fear-mongering propaganda; and exhibiting unrepentant racism, xenophobia, misogyny, transphobia, and homophobia on a daily basis; and empowering the Republican Party’s descent into fascism. It’s almost nauseating to watch two women who used their platforms to attack victims and survivors for years hoist an imaginary #MeToo trophy in the air."

Incidentally, February brings "The Assistant”, which follows one day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner), a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant's -- making coffee, changing the paper in the copy machine, ordering lunch, arranging travel, taking phone messages, onboarding a new hire. But as Jane follows her daily routine, she, and we, grow increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colors every aspect of her work day, an accumulation of degradations against which Jane decides to take a stand, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered.