Following the shock revelations about long-time Hollywood director Harvey Winestien’s sexual misconduct, people began to share their stories about being sexually harassed on social media using the hashtag #MeToo to highlight the fact that it’s an epidemic.
The movement was the brainchild of actor Alyssa Milano who wrote on Twitter, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Whilst it was predominantly women who shared their stories of sexual abuse, some men used the movement as an opportunity to share their stories too – highlighting the fact that sexual misconduct is not limited to one gender. One of these men was former child star Blaise Godbe Lipman. He revealed that he had been plied with alcohol and sexually assaulted by someone in the entertainment industry during a business meeting when he was a teenager in 2007. People began to speculate about who this person was as Lipman had named the agency they worked for – APA. Tyler Grasham, pictured below, was eventually identified by Lipman after he had the audacity to ‘poke’ him on Facebook after his post.
“The ‘poke’ reminded me about Tyler’s harassment after the ordeal. He told me I’d never work in this biz. He’d have his friends drunkenly call me and berate me. I didn’t do anything at the time. I was young and desperately wanted acceptance within my industry. His threats felt very real. Although my initial reaction yesterday and today was to not make this about me, there’s no better time. Tyler Grasham is still working at APA, where he’s been representing children and teenagers for the last ten years since this happened.” Lipman’s claims about Grasham were further substantiated by the fact that he was not the only person to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Film editor Lucas Ozarowski also claimed that the agent assaulted him in January of last year. Twenty-seven-year old Ozarowski spoke to Deadline about the incident with Grasham:
“He got me a little tipsy and took me to the Sandbox bar next door. There were more and more drinks. At midnight or 1 AM I told him I wanted to go home, but I’d left my phone at his house to charge. So we went back there and I called for an Uber. But he said, ‘Let’s watch The Martian while you’re waiting for Uber.’ I said OK and we sat down on the couch. I had my phone in my crotch. All of a sudden he reached over and grabbed me under my pants. It really took me off guard. I pulled his hands out and said, ‘You know I’m not gay. I don’t want this Hollywood BS.’”
Grasham had been an agent at APA since 2005. On Friday morning, they announced that he would be put on a leave of absence whilst the claims against him were investigated. The investigation did not take long, and he was fired a few hours later. Lipman, however, claimed on Facebook that there was no way that APA did not know about Grasham’s misconduct until now.
“APA Agency has kept this man employed, working with kid actors. I find it incredibly difficult to believe they do not know of his predatory behavior, using his position within the company to prey on naive kids.”
As soon as APA announced that Grasham had been suspended, two of his most prominent clients Wolfhard and Cameron Boyce, stars of Disney’s Descendants movies, fired him. Now Stranger Things star 14-year-old Finn Wolfhard has followed suit and fired Grasham. Finn’s decision to fire the disgraced agent has been widely praised across social media, with many admiring him for setting a good example to other young actors. One fan wrote, “role models come in all ages.” Further details about Grasham’s misconduct will undoubtedly emerge over the coming days and weeks. It’s clear that the Weinstein scandal is having the positive effect of encouraging people to speak out about sexual misconduct. After the news about Weinstein broke, the producer checked himself into a rehab clinic in an attempt to show the world that he wanted to change his behaviour – a decision which was criticized by many as he only did it after he was outed as a predator. Over the weekend, sources reported that Weinstein is now “cured” after an intensive seven-day treatment. However, actress Lupita Nyong’o has also joined the growing list of women who have revealed their horrifying encounters with Weinstein: We hope that the outrage caused by the Weinstein scandal changes the world and entertainment industry for the better.
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