This is not my regular midweek rant on radio but a piece I’ve been compelled to put together. It has actually taken me a while but I guess we can all start a conversation.
Again, I’m pretty sure you’re simply not amused at my use of STFU in the headline but hey, how else could I have properly communicated my ‘frustration’ at the selfishness of the many female showbiz personalities in the country (Ghana) who have openly sat and spoken about being sexually harassed but are unwilling to help fight or put an end to the very struggle they supposedly face every-time?
Not just once or twice but on several occasions, a number of female Ghanaian musicians, actresses, television personalities etc have spoken about how one producer or the other demanded for sex (usually they claim they did not give in) before offering them roles or jobs and it’s gradually becoming nauseating especially as none of them is willing to ‘flip the script and mention the names of such individuals who are engaged in this act.
Ironically, the half-baked courage by most of these female Ghanaian personalities who have openly spoken about being sexually harassed was borne out of a shocking publication by the New York Times in October 5 2017 when an investigation by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey revealed sexual harassment allegations against American film producer and co-founder of Miramax, Mr. Weinstein dating back to 1990.
The said publication sparked a huge conversation around the world especially in Hollywood with over 84 women accusing Mr. Harvey of one sexual allegation or the other. This was indeed revolutionary especially since women in some few years back could not mount that courage to speak to such issues for fear of being victimized and not securing future jobs.
What changed? A number of women were ready to sacrifice their paychecks and get the system corrected but what do I see in Ghana? A bunch of female personalities who simply want to make the usual headlines but are unwilling to cause any change by calling out such men. I mean, how do we prune and make the system right so women are able to work freely by their qualifications and not as sex materials if the few powerful women who have the chance to be heard continue to shield such men?
I mean, if such women of influence and ‘power’ can not and would not lead right the wrongs, how much more the average individual who is silently suffering from for fear of losing the daily bread?
On January 9 2018, I did write an article on Multimedia journalist MzGee’s call on Ghanaian women to name and shame men who exchanged sex for roles and jobs. Apparently, the leader of the movement who alleges she did have such an experience could not name and shame the very individuals who demanded for sex from her. How pathetic? Is it a case of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite?
“In Ghana, it is difficult for ladies to talk about their sexual harassment because we get vilified. I tell you a story of myself in 2003, 2004 when I wanted to become an actress. I went for auditions at many hotels but there was one man I met him at almost all auditions. He was like the gateway to the movie industry back then. He looked me in the face an said you need to sleep with me and get a role in the industry but I declined. I never got a role but fast forward 2018 I can boast of a job I never slept with anyone for an it is still showbiz”, MzGee said in a video posted on Instagram.
Fast forward today, actress Yvonne Nelson is singing the same song. I mean how long would these figures sing the songs of old?
In a recent interview with the BBC, the actress revealed that some movie producers demanded sex before handing her movie roles although she declined because she knew her worth. According to her, the phenomenon of demanding for sex before roles is happening at an alarming rate in the Ghanaian movies industry.
“It happens a lot in the industry. It’s quite a controversial question but you know I’ve met producers on production sets and they’ve tried to make a few advances here and there.”
MzGee and Yvonne Nelson are not the only Ghanaian showbiz personalities to have spoken on this.
But then again, the question is, which male producers and men are in this business of exchanging sex for jobs and roles?
Could they be so powerful that their names can’t be mentioned?
Well, until any of our female celebrities is ready to flip the script and cause the change we all want to witness, I advise they spare our ears of the same narratives or better put STFU.