Tony Goldwyn Pens Essay on Time's Up's Meaning for Men
In his quest to learn what he should and should not do, the 'Scandal' actor declares that real men ask questions.
Tony Goldwyn discusses the fine line of men trying to be allies in the Time’s Up movement in an InStyle essay published Wednesday.
His piece, titled “What Do Men Do Now?,” continues the conversation surrounding the best way for men to become aware and adapt their behavior after the #MeToo movement. It is subtitled, “In the age of Time’s Up, it takes a real man to shoulder responsibility for his behavior.”
The Scandal actor writes that he attended a Time’s Up men’s meeting in Los Angeles a few months ago with Hollywood actors, producers, agents and influencers. The female leaders introduced gender-politics experts — who were males — and then left the room, so as to make it “a ‘safe space’ for the boys to talk.” (The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Time's Up Men had its first meeting in January at UCLA with gender studies sociologist Michael Kimmel and activist Ted Bunch.)
The group was told that 85 percent of men are good guys — that is, not predators, abusers or harassers. The number didn’t make Goldwyn feel any better. As he put it, “Of the 200 guys in that room, statistical probability said that 30 of us were assholes.”
He says the men at the meeting wanted to support the women, but they felt anxious. They didn’t know how to deal with the “subtler dynamics of power and sexual politics” or if they would be accused of something they had or hadn’t done in the past.
“Many of the men were confused about how and where to draw the line, which appeared to be shifting daily as more and more men were being called out for bad behavior — often ending or destabilizing entire careers,” Goldwyn writes.
He continues, “How are we to know if our seeming innocuous behavior has been unwelcome or even destructive to the women we work with, live with and parent? Having entered that room pretty sure of my bona fides as an outspoken male feminist, I felt my confidence beginning to wane.”
Goldwyn says the meeting opened up an ongoing conversation. He asked his daughter whether she likes men to open doors for her (she does). He asked a Scandal castmate if she was okay with his hugs (she was).
He also confesses to one questionable moment in his past. While directing a sex scene in The L Word, Goldwyn demonstrated how an actress should caress a co-star with her hand. “The assistant director took me aside and said, ‘Tony, I know you have the best of intentions and that you’re very close with the actors, but you can’t do that.’ I was mortified. It had never occurred to me that my actions might be perceived as inappropriate or even predatory,” he relates.
Ultimately, Goldwyn deduces that he needs to ask when he’s unsure, but realizes men feel insecure asking questions — a sign of weakness. “The simple truth is that men are better bosses, colleagues, parents, friends, allies and lovers when we ask instead of assume,” he says.
The essay is part of a larger discussion in Hollywood about how men can help. Just last month, a co-ed #MeToo panel in Silver Lake featured Jane the Virgin’s Justin Baldoni and Funny or Die CEO Mike Farah talking about including men in the movement.
Read Goldwyn’s full article at InStyle.