7:00am PT by Scott Feinberg
Emmys: Will the #MeToo Movement Sway Nominations?
It's been eight months since revelations about widespread sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein sparked a national reckoning that came to be known as the #MeToo movement, but reverberations of this seismic quake are still being felt across Hollywood as women (and men) continue to come forward with stories and industry institutions grapple with how to respond. The latest group facing tough decisions is the TV Academy, whose members will encounter on their Emmy ballots more than a few individuals who have faced allegations in the past few months.
They will not be asked to consider Kevin Spacey, the star of House of Cards who was fired after multiple men accused him of sexual harassment or assault, because his final season with the show was eligible last year, and the Tony Awards ceremony that he hosted in June 2017 was not submitted for consideration in this year's best variety special category, almost ceretainly because of his association with it; Master of None's Aziz Ansari, who was accused of aggressive sexual behavior, because his show is not eligible this year; or The Circus co-host Mark Halperin, who, after sexual harassment accusations arose, was fired and replaced ahead of its third season, which is eligible.
They will, however, have to render judgment on Jeffrey Tambor, a fixture in the best actor in a comedy series category for his work on Transparent since the show's debut, winning in 2015 and 2016, and landing a nom in 2017. He won't be on the ballot for that show this year — after allegations of sexual harassment, Amazon fired him and didn't enter him into the race — but he will be there for Arrested Development, for which he has twice been nominated. On the Netflix reboot, his misbehavior was apparently limited to berating co-workers — which gives voters another reason to avoid him.
Former winner Ryan Seacrest, a nearly perennial nominee, most frequently for hosting American Idol, was accused by his former E! stylist of sexual harassment. He denied the charge, was cleared by an internal investigation and retains the support of ABC, for which he co-hosts — in addition to daytime's Live With Kelly and Ryan — a rebooted version of Idol. But many in the industry seem unsure of how to regard him.
HBO built The Deuce around past nominee James Franco — on the 1970s-set drama, he plays two characters, serves as an exec producer and directed two episodes — before he was accused by five women of sexually exploitative behavior. (These claims, which he denies, were made when he was in the thick of the film awards race for The Disaster Artist; he still won Golden Globe and Critics' Choice awards but was not Oscar-nominated.) The network has stood by him — he already filmed season two — but voters might not be as forgiving.
Emmy darling Louis C.K. is in exile, having admitted that he sexually harassed multiple women, but he could still hurt two FX shows he co-created: Baskets and Better Things, which both snagged major noms in 2017. On Baskets, he was an exec producer for seasons one and two and co-wrote the pilot but did not work on season three, the one now eligible. But on Better Things, he was an EP for not only season one (and wrote or co-wrote nine of its 10 episodes) but also the one now eligible, season two (and wrote or co-wrote all 10 installments). Will his misdeeds hurt the show?
And then there's Morgan Freeman, who was recently accused by numerous female journalists of making sexually inappropriate comments towards them over the years — something that is not illegal, but that is certainly not endearing. His name appears on this year's ballot as part of the title of National Geographic's The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman (on which he served as an executive producer and host), which is vying for a nom for best informational series or special.
Interestingly, several of this year's contending programs — many shot before the Weinstein revelations — prominently feature #MeToo scenarios and themes: Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale; Showtime's SMILF; HBO's Silicon Valley and Westworld; ABC's The Good Doctor; CBS All Access' The Good Fight; TV Land's Younger; NBC's Good Girls and Great News; and Netflix's 13 Reasons Why, Black Mirror: USS Callister and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Fox's Family Guy even made the reckoning part of its campaign, sending out a mailer touting its prescience about Spacey and Weinstein, and tweaking voters about who might be next (there's a mirror inside the packaging). And last week, TBS' Full Frontal was feted at the Television Academy Honors for its coverage of the #MeToo movement. That same day, host Samantha Bee came under fire, for a remark she made the day before, by a TV Academy member who faced a host of #MeToo-style allegations before even Weinstein: Donald Trump.
This story first appeared in a June stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.