Whenever sexual assault allegations are levied against wealthy, powerful men, the same sentiment echoes from the Internet peanut gallery: "But should this really ruin their careeeeeers?"
In the case of Hollywood screenwriter Max Landis, the answer is a 100%, unequivocal, enthusiastic yes.
This morning, The Daily Beast released a bombshell report, compiling allegations from eight separate women—many of them ex-girlfriends and former friends of Max—chronicling a pattern of sadistic behavior towards women ranging from psycho-sexual manipulation to outright rape. Almost all of the accounts are corroborated or backed up by documents and evidence. When we say, "Max Landis is an alleged rapist," please understand that the "alleged" is included solely for our legal team.
Many people might be wondering why we're talking about someone they've never heard of before. After all, those outside of the entertainment industry are probably not very familiar with Max Landis. Within Hollywood, however, Max Landis is a superstar screenwriter, known for his ability to sell loads of scripts on spec (essentially, original ideas he came up with) and his big, loud personality. He's written a number of middling, forgettable screenplays, including Bright and American Ultra. He's also the son of legendary producer/director John Landis, which explains how he came up in the industry in the first place (*cough* nepotism *cough*).
He's also known for being predatory towards women: an open secret that's been circulated by people in his periphery for years. But his scripts sell and get turned into mediocre movies so, for whatever reason, prior allegations haven't stuck.
This time, though, Landis's career won't be recovering. Why? Because nobody should ever want to actively support a known "alleged" rapist, someone who held a woman down against her will as she continually said "no" and had sex with her anyways. Of course, that's not to say we shouldn't believe victims and cancel powerful predators in other situations with less evidence––after all, victim testimony is oftentimes the only evidence that exists. It's simply to say that, in this case, we all know what happened.
There are no puzzle pieces here; this one's clear as day. Max Landis isn't "allegedly" a grey area rapist—he's textbook. But almost scarier than that, Max's pattern of abuse, manipulation, and degradation seems akin to a serial killer's MO. "All of them go blonde, all of them lose weight, and all of them are under his spell," a former friend named Gage told The Daily Beast about Landis' girlfriends.
Moreover, Max Landis' behavior has carried onto his sets. Various women he's worked with on movies spoke to The Daily Beast about him harassing them and assaulting them in the workplace. "At one point we were on set with people around and he pushed me down and got on top of me on a bed. I raised my voice and told him to get off of me, and eventually managed to push him off," said Tasha Goldthwait, a set costumer on Landis' Me Him Her. This dude is "allegedly" such a piece of absolute trash that he can't even keep it in his pants at work.
Even in a culture numbed by the constant stream of #MeToo stories, the allegations against Landis are jarring. We're talking about a guy accused of choking multiple women on multiple occasions, threatening to kill them, and then crying about it to seek their sympathy. We're talking about a guy who keeps a list of women he's slept with, ranks the experiences, and then shows it to current partners to make them cry. We're talking about a guy who "allegedly" told a black out drunk girl that he was her boyfriend in order to rape her. That's who Max Landis is, and nobody should ever, ever, ever support the financial well-being of a person like that.
Boycott Max Landis. Boycott all of his work and every studio or company that ever chooses to work with him again. Boycott every project he ever touches. End his career forever.
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The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.