Destroy All Monsters: We're Bad At Confronting News Like The Bertolucci News

Columnist; Toronto, Canada (@tederick)
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Destroy All Monsters: We're Bad At Confronting News Like The Bertolucci News

On the weekend one of my listeners jumped on the comment thread for my latest podcast episode to voice his disgust at the news that Bernardo Bertolucci had conspired with Marlon Brando to rape Maria Schneider for a scene in Last Tango in Paris. He went on to say that at least Hollywood and the European filmmaking community have progressed away from those sorts of practices in the last forty years.

(As many have noted, this admission by Bertolucci is only "news" if you discount Maria Schneider's own characterization of the event. Additionally, Bertolucci has subsequently clarified his comments, proposing that it was the use of butter in the sequence, not the rape itself, that was not cleared with Schneider prior to filming.)

I do not know if Hollywood and Europe have indeed progressed away from this kind of permissibility in that time - I hope so, but I doubt it. When we look at how we interpret things like Donald Trump's taped conversations regarding sexual permissiveness in The Apprentice era, or recall the omnipresent allegations against film-a-year director Woody Allen and the phalanx of charges against Bill Cosby, we might infer that very little has changed. Add the assault charges against the likes of Johnny Depp and Casey Affleck, and umpteen others besides, and it's becoming harder and harder to see men like Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci as single-case exceptions.

It's the reasoning behind the hope that Bertolucci and Brando couldn't do such a thing today, however, that gives me pause. Certainly, it's easier to wall off a certain type of criminality behind the buffer of time - sure, Alejandro Jodorowsky is on the record in his book on the making of the film as having raped Mara Lorenzo while making El Topo -- though he later denied it -- but nowadays he's just that hilarious old kook from Jodorowsky's Dune! - but the urge to make these things easy (on us) is pathologically narcissistic. And it comes from a single, greedy, entitled place:

"It's okay for me to still like the movies I like, right?"

In a decade where all we seem to care about at all are the identity markers we define ourselves by, of course the suggestion that the purveyors of one or more of the films we like is, of course, perceived as threatening, or more charitably, disturbing. (For my part: I was one of the biggest Pirates of the Caribbean fans around. I can't even look at that alleged wife-beating motherfucker anymore, and it has nothing to do with Mortdecai or his bullshit cameo in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.)

We seem to be getting more and more up in arms about our rights and freedoms to have things and do things exactly the way we want, which is where the issue of sexual assault in the arts - the old "can I embrace the art but not the artist" question - really runs aground. Here's why:

None of us have any rights when it comes to movies. We have the privilege of watching them, but that's it.

Making a movie would fall under the category of rights if, say, your government arrested you for making a movie while that same government was operating under a legal provision such as the First Amendment. But that's about it. Movies are not a right, they're a privilege. Our need to like them and to like ourselves for liking them does not matter one single bit. That we might even consider otherwise is the very definition of privilege.

Here's a forward-looking proposal:

As I mentioned above, I find the exceptionality of people like the alleged assailants listed above, and all the rest, to be highly unlikely. Now that the conversation around consent and sexual assault is very much a part of the mainstream, and even though it may take decades before we see the needle really move on the behaviours themselves, it is very likely that we will spend quite a bit of the next little while learning about a whole host of other content creators who are guilty of greater, lesser, or equal crimes.

Anyone who wants to fold up their tent and go home at this point is, of course, well within their rights (there's that word again) to do so. Particularly, for survivors of assault, the preponderance of major media personalities who are accused of similar crimes is going to be recursively triggering.

For the rest of us, though, I'd suggest that the answer remains an obligation, not to avoid content by potentially criminal creators, but to begin an even more rigorous interrogation of a popular culture made in part or in whole by people guilty of these crimes. Rape culture didn't just spring up out of the ground like a mole; it's the invested outcome of centuries of normalized behaviour, which then both creates and protects its next generations of standard-bearers - not just the people who commit the crimes, but any of the rest of us who, to any degree whatsoever, recontextualize, downplay, or ignore those crimes.

The self-protective impulse on the part of the audience will have to stop. At its heart is a very understandable fear: what does accepting or enjoying this art say about me? It's better, though, to admit that what it says is equally understandable, and much more important: that we are part of the culture that created these crimes, and are as much a part of what comes next as anyone else.


Destroy All Monsters is a weekly column on Hollywood and pop culture. Matt Brown is in Toronto and on Letterboxd.

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  • Jesse Bullington

    Really appreciate this article, just as I wish it wasn't necessary. Well said.

  • omnisemantic1

    POV:
    True art transcends the process of its making and remains beyond reach even for its makers after they inevitably perish at some point. Movies are not like news where shared facts are inseparable from their sources. Polanski may have done whatever, but he'll forever be one of my favourite directors and what that (other people think) says about me - I thoroughly do not care.
    Hell, many - often the most talented - artists happen to be pretty disturbed people and life in celebrity culture nowadays has made things worse by an order of magnitude. Yes, Depp might have assaulted Heard on some or multiple occasions, but that won't stop me from enjoying any quality movies he makes (here's hoping he actually makes some, cause things really ain't looking good these days).
    This approach of hands in the air, shouting "Oh, no!" reminds me of when my aunt informed me that she can no longer watch Sigourney Weaver movies, cause she heard the actress is gay. I told her she probably means Jodie Foster and that her decision is bullshit either way. This is literally the same, but with a different moral compass and a different border that supposedly ABSOLUTELY should not be passed. But there are no such absolute borders in art. Movie directors in particular do way crazier things than allowing a finger in someone's butt to get the take they want for a given scene. Seriously consider whether that is actually worse abuse for an actress than for ex. Lynch having Watts masturbating for over an hour on stage to get her so frustrated at him, so he can finally get THAT shot, which made the final cut of Mulholland Dr. (to this day the best movie ever made imo). Or Fincher's notorious 100+ takes on certain scenes - I can guarantee you that most actors will take the butterfinger over having to do the same thing for days in a row many times over.
    Ultimately what REALLY pisses me off is how Schneider has said all that before and no one seemed to care and now it's suddenly this big, essentially fabricated news. Real respect for that woman everyone's showing, well done... I don't know what you think all that is telling you about rape culture, but what does it tell you about media culture?

  • Jesse Bullington

    This POV is the exact attitude this article seems to be talking about--you like the art these men create and the art should be separated from the artist, so what's the big deal?

    I don't know you and am more than happy to give you the benefit of the doubt that none of this is intentional, but just talking you at your word here, trivializing a sexual assault is rape culture in action. And that's exactly what you're doing when you say, "Movie directors in particular do way crazier things than allowing a
    finger in someone's butt to get the take they want for a given scene... I can guarantee you that most actors will take the butterfinger over having to do the same thing for days in a row many times over."

    ...A woman's life was fucking wrecked because two men she deeply trusted violated her, emotionally and physically, and this horrendous assault was exhibited to countless people over the years as a scene in a lauded film. This is something she and one of the perpetrator's have both acknowledged. Yet your response is to question how bad it really was, joke about taking "the butterfinger," and point out all the other male artists who also do shitty things to women, but who should be judged for their art instead of their actions because they are so brilliant.

    That, my friend, *is* rape culture--and so is arguing that people's revulsion over a violent assault on a woman amounts to pearl-clutching, which what you're doing when you talk about the "this approach of hands in the air, shouting "Oh, no!"" and saying it's"literally the same" as boycotting an actress because she's gay. The false equivalency here stifles any conversation about an incredibly nuanced and personal issue--should we actually separate art and artist, if we even can--and implies someone being unable to stomach, say, Polanski because he is an admitted rapist is just as stupid and close-minded as homophobia.

    Again, not offering any judgements of you as a person, but your statements here embody the very problems this article is talking about. This stuff is so deeply ingrained in modern society that it we can be unaware when we buy into it, but once we see it we have to make a choice as to whether or not we'll acknowledge it and try to grow beyond our comfort zone or take the easier, weaker path and convince ourselves we're not a part of the problem. Like the author of this piece observed,

    "Rape culture didn't just spring up out of the ground like a mole; it's
    the invested outcome of centuries of normalized behaviour, which then
    both creates and protects its next generations of standard-bearers - not
    just the people who commit the crimes, but any of the rest of us who,
    to any degree whatsoever, recontextualize, downplay, or ignore those
    crimes.

    "The self-protective impulse on the part of the audience will have to stop"

  • omnisemantic1

    Very well written reply, though I forgot to mention that my own post was in reaction to other articles on the topic claiming we should denounce the "classic" status of Bertolucci's movie over this story rather than Matt's own piece.
    Anyway, I'd argue it all boils down to the simple fact that you may be over-exaggerating what you claim I'm trivializing: "A woman's life was fucking wrecked because two men she deeply trusted violated her, emotionally and physically, and this horrendous assault was exhibited to countless people over the years".
    I don't see it like that. Hell, I'm not convinced Maria Schneider sees it like that either. The problem with such absolute lines is that everything that falls beyond them is by definition equal. Even Schneider couldn't bring herself to call it a "rape" proper, let alone "a horrendous physical assault". This is why I still stand by my comparison that refusing to recognize such situations in context and instead judging them on a basis of some self-righteous, "universal" principles "is just as stupid and close-minded as homophobia".
    It is about recognizing that it is not a question of where do we draw the line, but that what we're drawing ain't no line as such - it is a very different shape.
    Refusal to recognize this makes people think they should ban abortion at ANY stage. Eat animal products of ANY kind. Ban sexual deviance in ANY form. And so on, and so on.
    So yeah, a statement like mine does not actually promote rape culture, but I understand why in the context of such a culture you would think it does.

  • Jesse Bullington

    Thanks for taking the time to clarify your position, but I think you're still missing my point. I get that impression because you keep trying to downplay the event as not that bad, relatively, as when you say:

    "This is why I still stand by my comparison that refusing to recognize such situations in context and instead judging them on a basis of some self-righteous, "universal" principles "is just as stupid and close-minded as homophobia".

    I don't think anyone's anger over this incident stems from self-righteousness or a refusal to take things in context. The context is pretty simple, and sadly common: a woman was assaulted by people she trusted in her place of work. In 2007 Scheider described the incident as follows, and in his comments Bertolucci didn't argue with her version of events:

    "Marlon said to me: 'Maria, don't worry, it's just a movie,' but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn't real, I was crying real tears.

    "I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn't console me or apologise. Thankfully, there was just one take."

    ...Reading that, I'm not sure why you would try to downplay it as not being a horrendous physical assault, other than the fact that the culture we live in can give us blinders to these things.

    You question whether Schneider would consider what happened to her "rape proper," which reminds me of Whoopie Goldberg dismissing Polanski drugging and raping a 13 year old as "not rape rape," and then a little further down the comment thread Arturo does the exact same thing, arguing Schneider isn't a "real rape victim." This is a toxic pattern in modern culture--seeking to diminish and dismiss the trauma of sexual assault when it doesn't fit into some preconceived notion of what rape is. This popular requirement that rape can only be one very particular kind of assault is a prime example of that anti-intellectual "universal principle" you were talking about, though not as you envision it.

    So yeah, I dunno--if your go-to in cases like this is to fall back on Barthes' Death of the Author and to downplay the incident instead of recognizing that there's something deeply fucked up about the situation I don't know where to go from here. I can absolutely see why people are having a hard time still viewing this as a classic now that they know one of the key scenes isn't actually being acted but is an actual sexual assault--and it's a sexual assault that we as the audience are made complicit in if we merely shrug and say, "well, if that's what it took to get that scene than it was worth it, because art above all."

    And with all due respect, the real world isn't a freshman philosophy class--I hope that beyond the realm of internet argument rhetoric you recognize there is an enormous fundamental difference between being homophobic or pro-life and being anti-sexual assault in literally every hypothetical case. One camp is based entirely on repressive attempts to police the bodies of others, while the other is based on the quite reasonable request that nobody violate our own bodies. Making such a false equivalency is neither a mature nor responsible position to take.

  • DreadfulKata

    Thank you for this excellent commentary, which further articulates the thoughts that formed reading Matt Brown's words.

    It's not just that we don't have a right to these movies - not just that they are a privilege - but we have an active responsibility. The way we engage in culture is important. Culture is the sea we swim in and when we swim, we make ripples.

    I think the OP's comment is proof of how quickly an abdication of that responsibility - an attitude of 'the creator doesn't matter if I don't want them to' - leads to an endorsement of their actions or views. When we fail to face up to things in this way we create fictions to accomodate ourselves. The OP would probably never believe themselves of approving of 'real rape' but they make light of a real person's real traumatic, life-shattering experience because in a world where the incident is just 'crazy' and 'silly' he is able to carry on liking the moves that the perpetrator's made.

    I don't pretend the world is black or white, that there are 'problematic' people that we should dismiss with all their works, and 'perfect cinnamon rolls'. That's where the responsibility comes in. The 'death of the author' applied in these cases feels like a Get Out Of Jail Free Card, permission to value your own enjoyment of a thing above morality. But none of us have that right. To ignore immorality is to endorse it.

    In the same way we should be conscious of whether our physical products are ethically sourced (not buying from companies that use sweatshops or don't allow unionisation etc) we should be responsible consumers of culture.

  • Jesse Bullington

    And thank you for yours, you make a lot of really good points. Your analogy of culture as the sea we swim in is a really concise way of putting it.

    It's really depressing that coming out against those who commit sexual assault is somehow a controversial stance these days, yet it's obviously important to try and talk about it even when it seems like an uphill battle. Hopefully in time people's reaction to hearing one of their favorite artists is actually a rapist, domestic abuser, or what have you will lead to their resenting *the fucking artist* instead of resenting the victim, the media who reported, and/or the people who think it's important to talk about.

    One funny albeit anecdotal thing I've noticed is that out of the large number of professional artists I've known the ones who advocate the Death of the Author the hardest are themselves pretty mean-spirited or otherwise unpleasant people, and seem to use it as an excuse to justify their obnoxious or cruel behavior. There is this prevailing myth in our culture of the tortured artist, which has led to us romanticizing all sorts of shitty anti-social behavior because the artist supposedly answers to a higher calling. I find this attitude deeply unhealthy for both artists or their audiences--it's possible to be a great artist and not also be a jerk...and it's a far cry from jerk to sex offender, too.

    Art doesn't emerge from a vacuum, it emerges from a person, and it seems pretty silly to pretend that's not the case. The whole point of a brilliant piece of art is that nobody else could have created it, so while not every conversation need revolve around the creator I don't see why anyone should seek to discourage these conversations from happening, too. Like you said, being a responsible consumer of culture isn't about only appreciating art by artists who line up precisely with her own views, but there is definitely something to be said about not blindly supporting artists who actively hurt other people.

  • DreadfulKata

    I agree! If art is a reflection of humanity, surely the the humanity of the people who create it is of the utmost relevance.

    I can't claim to have invented that 'sea we swim in' analogy. I've heard it in a couple of places. I know Brene Brown used the analogy to talk about how its a losing battle for parents to try and protect children from the negative messages of pop culture by trying to isolate them from it, and we do better to teach critical thinking and resilience skills.

    And I'm pretty certain the excellent Folding Ideas channel used it in his video about Gamergate. It;s a really fascinating watch, and covers teritory not unconnected to the above - about the base assumptions at play when people (in this case particularly men) prioritise a perceived right to interact with the media they like unfettered by consideration towards fellow human beings.

    https://www.youtube.com/wat...

  • bobsponge42

    The self-protective impulse on the part of the audience will have to stop. At its heart is a very understandable fear: what does accepting or enjoying this art say about me? It's better, though, to admit that what it says is equally understandable, and much more important: that we are part of the culture that created these crimes, and are as much a part of what comes next as anyone else.

    Well said Matt. And, even though many will not like to hear this, the plague that is porn plays a part in this as well. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

  • arturo

    For what I've read the rape was in the script, but not the use of butter, and moments before they filmed the scene she was told and that's what angered her, I don't think you can call it rape (that's an insult to women who have been raped for real) but I think that when a filmmaker shoots a rape scene the actress has to be informed in all aspects of the scene, and its clearly a bad idea to improvise a rape scene on the spot, the director handled it badly, and Brando who was a master at improvisation made a bad judgement call to use improvisation during that scene. All they had to do was tell her about the use of butter early on, and we would not be having this conversation.

    I'm curious to know how much if any improvisation was used in movies like Irreversible, I Spit On Your Grave, The Accused, Leaving las vegas and countless other movies, and would it be considered a crime if any male actor used improvisation during a rape scene, even if it was written in the script but the actor tries something spontaneous during the scene? Filmmakers just have to be extra careful when they film a rape scene anytime in the future, and don't surprise the actress in any given take.

  • DreadfulKata

    'that's an insult to women who have been raped for real'. I see this line used a lot by people, mostly men, arguing that some case or other 'isn't really rape'. Men who have decided they are the arbiter of what does and doesn't constitute rape. Who are these 'real rape victims'?

    It's a way of making yourself think you're a reasonable and sympathetic human being while failing at basic human empathy and humility.

    The logic of 'if they just told her earlier about the butter' doesn't stand up. Sure she MIGHT have consented if told. So can you use that argument in another rape case? A man rapes a drunk woman. She might have been up for it if conscious, so it's OK? A misguided bit of improvising at worst?

    A woman was sexually assaulted, causing her terror, trauma and a massive affect on her life. Your glib and uninformed (seriously, check out the legal definitions of rape and sexual assault, they trump your personal opinion) dismissal of it as 'not really rape' is not a defense of 'real rape victims' it is ignorant and demonstrative of a failure to really grasp the moral and emotional issues involved in the crime and the culture behind it.

  • arturo

    Maria Schneider is not a real rape victim, she said herself it was not real (get it, not real, fake) she was just upset that they did not mention the butter scene, that is all. Even cinematographer Vittorio Storaro said that nothing criminal happened, and that the overall experience for Maria Schneider making Last Tango was a good one. So no doubt that your a feminist who absolutely believes that Marlon Brando raped Maria Schneider, I do not believe that, you talk to any woman that has been raped for REAL ( I know 3 that have been raped) and they will tell you the horrific trauma that they went through, so yes it is an insult to people who have been raped for REAL, so when Maria Schneider is on record for saying that she new it was not real, then guess what, the rape that is in your mind NEVER HAPPENED. It was just handled badly by the director, and Brando should not of used improvisation during that scene, that's why all they had to do was just mention the butter, but the rape was already in the script, so she new that a simulated assault would be filmed. You have your opinion and I have mine, so in this particular topic, we will agree to disagree.

  • Jesse Bullington

    Arturo, speaking as an outside observer to this exchange I have to tell you that your tone here is very off-putting and hostile. I'm not sure why you consider the word feminist to be a pejorative, or why you are making such baseless and frankly nasty assumptions about the DreadfulKata. By defensively lashing out against the valid points they made you are once again proving this article's point that too many fans aren't willing or able to have a reasonable and critical engagement with these issues, and will instead simply try to shut them down.

    So, to reiterate the point that you keep missing--*you do not get to decide what constitutes a sexual assault.* Nobody is arguing here that Brando penetrated Schneider with his penis, we are making the point that isn't the only kind of sexual assault--and smearing butter all over someone's privates who doesn't want you to is definitely, unequivocally a sexual assault.

    Contrary to your claim, in an interview Schneider said the experience made her feel "a little raped." Bertolucci and Brando never contested her version of events. Hell, they admit to planning it in advance and then forcing her to go through with the scene even though she didn't want to--which also runs counter to your argument that Brando was merely "improvising."

    So all this to say, by arguing that Schneider wasn't a real victim and that the claim is insulting to other women who have endured "worse" you are in fact a part of the problem. You are perpetuating the harmful myth that unless a sexual assault fits your definition of what that means than it is inconsequential.

    Just think about this--you yourself said in your original post "that's why all they had to do was just mention the butter." As DreadfulKata, that line of reasoning isn't really very well reasoned at all, because it presumes what Schneider's reaction would be, but it does shine a light on the heart of the matter: all they had to do was not conspire to commit a sexual assault. You're absolutely right that this wouldn't be a story if they had cleared it with her first, and if that scene was acted instead of endured by an unwilling woman. This is at the heart of every single rape case--if only the rapist hadn't committed the crime it wouldn't have happened, but instead every single rape case ends up with people questioning the victim, asking what she could have done to prevent it, etc.

    You argue that because Schneider knew that a scene was coming it wasn't a big deal, only a little addition, right? That's like arguing that because a sex worker agreed to one thing in the bedroom it's not a big deal if her client goes ahead and "improvises" something she does not consent to...which is a heinous argument that only a rape apologist or misogynist could seriously believe, but one that has been made before in courtrooms.

    And alllllll of this is because rape culture systemically downplays assaults of any kind...which intentionally or not, is exactly what you are doing here.

  • arturo

    So because my opinion does not coincide with your opinion, then myself and countless other people including women who believe that rape or sexual assault never happened during Last Tango, are you implying that i'm some sort of rape apologist or misogynist? That is absolutely ridiculous, so when Schneider said she felt "a little raped" we are all supposed to fling our arms up in the air and say oh my god she was brutally raped, but refuse to even look at other claims that was said over the years. Its like when Tom Cruise said that acting is like "going to war", are we really to believe that Tom Cruise experience in acting is like veterans who have experienced real war? Bertolucci recently clarified his comments, and the rape was in the script, and the butter was not put in her anus for real. Also read the comments in what cinematographer Vittorio Storaro said here, http://news.sky.com/story/l....
    If this case was to be brought forward in a court of law, and when they examine all the evidence, Bertolucci and Brando would be found not guilty of rape or sexual assault, and there is a reason why it was not brought to court even by Schneider family members, because no rape or sexual assault actually happened. That may not sit comfortable with you, but to imply that people who have a different opinion than you regarding this topic, we must all be part of this rape culture? I don't think so. Some interesting points you made, and others not so much. You have clearly already made up your mind that Schneider was raped and any opposing opinion from myself or anyone else for that matter are either ignorant or misogynist, and that is the real problem with the society we live in, we are quick to judge and condemn others without knowing the full facts. I don't claim to know exactly what took place that day because I was not there (neither were you), however I stand by my original post, because its like "My Opinion Man".

  • Jesse Bullington

    As with your reply to DreadfulKata, you seem to be taking my criticisms of what you've said with you as a person, which was not my intention. I feel like we're just going in circles at this point so I'll try to keep it brief:

    This article is all about how some movie fans are bad at handling problematic news about film makers, with a knee jerk reaction to defend the film maker by playing down the seriousness of the accusations and/or rallying around a cry of separate the art from the artist without examining what that says about our complicity in the greater culture...and then you and the other commentor above immediately demonstrate the truth in that statement by doing exactly that. The article gently suggests we all look inside to see how we might better engage with these very real problems, and your response is first to defend the two guys who did this, play down the severity of the event, and then seem to get angry when myself and another fellow film lover point out the problematic nature of your statements. Again, not of you, but of the beliefs you are promoting--that even when the victim and one of the perpetrators agree a violation took place it's not actually valid unless it somehow passes some rape litmus test for you.

    I'm really sorry to hear that you have friends who have been the victims of sexual assault. So do I, as do most people, and it is a sad, fucked up thing that it is so prevalent. I would ask you to consider, though, what your friends might think of you using them as an argument as to why what happened to this other woman isn't actually worth considering as a horrible violation. And if you feel in your gut that they might not be thrilled with your statements here about sexual assault, I would entreat you to consider why.

    Again, I don't know you and I'm inclined to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. So this isn't about who you are, it's about what you said, and I also stand by my original statement: the attitude of dismissing women'S accounts of crimes because "only x constitutes sexual assault so no big deal" is a symptom of rape culture. If you don't want to be a part of the problem then put yourself in the place of the victim--how would you feel if you were treated in such a fashion? And how would you feel if when people were discussing it after the fact it was to defend your attackers and say it wasn't so bad? i know the odds of realigning your perspective with a conversation on the internet are long, but it's important enough an issue I've got to try.

  • arturo

    You claim that movie fans are bad at handling problematic news about filmmakers, have you read comments regarding this? Some people immediately condemned Brando and Bertolucci as rapists without reading more into facts, and for the record i'm not a Bertolucci fan, I think he is an overrated director and I also think Last Tango is a bore, and I only own 2 Brando films on Blu-ray, so I'm not one to immediately defend filmmakers because I love movies, it's just this particular case that I find has been blown way out of proportion, unlike someone like Bill Cosby who I think is guilty as hell, and Roman Polanski who is guilty as hell. Rape is a serious problem in society, and it should be treated seriously, Hollywood already has a bad reputation that is widely known throughout the years and no doubt crimes have happened to women behind closed doors, recently we have heard of Rose McGowan and Evan Rachel Wood being raped in the past (I believe them), I have no reason yet to believe that they are lying. However regarding Last Tango and everything I have read, and people I have discussed this with including women, my personal opinion is that a real rape, sexual assault or whatever you choose to call it, did not actually happen. She was no more sexually assaulted than Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear when Robert De Niro put his fingers in her mouth right before he kissed her (The finger scene was improvised according to Juliette Lewis, she knew about the kiss, but not what he would do with his finger) is that sexual assault? When the written script is as edgy as Cape Fear and she knew what she was signing up for, the same with Schneider. The bottom line is this, when you take away the butter (that was made to look like it was put up her ass, but never actually happened in real life) this whole discussion is redundant. One very important note, you quoted that Schneider said she felt "a little raped" (a little? you're either raped or not) but then she said "even though what Marlon done wasn't real". Now how do you interpret that? Let me tell you it was FAKE, it never happened. Yes the scene was handled badly as I mentioned in my original post, and the director and actor made a silly mistake by not mentioning the butter scene to her, but to call that real rape/ sexual assault is just misleading, and that's why I feel compelled to voice my opinion, it's not an easy subject matter, and its something that's worth discussing, but what really annoyed me is the way you worded your first post to me implying that somehow we are complicit in rape culture or perhaps anyone who will voice a different opinion must be a rape apologist. Women's voices must be heard regarding rape, but each case must be looked at individually, and don't be to quick to condemn people who have been accused of a terrible crime until you have done as much research as the internet allows you to. Its been interesting chatting to you, and even though we have our disagreements, I appreciate your passion in what you believe and I understand where you are coming from. The last thing I want is to get into some vicious argument, although sometimes I get slightly carried away in what I type. I do believe your coming from a good place, but on this topic I'm not drinking the same cool aid as you. Cheers dude!

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