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How classic Hollywood execs preyed on young girls


How classic Hollywood execs preyed on young girls


During the Golden Age of Hollywood, women were often subjected to s**ual exploitation at the hands of powerful men in the industry.

One such instance occurred at MGM’s 1937 sales convention.

The event was a lavish affair complete with celebrity meet-and-greets, an open bar, and entertainment by famous acts like Laurel and Hardy and the Dandridge Sisters.

However, for dancer and movie extra Patricia Douglas, the night turned into a nightmare when a drunken salesman stalked and raped her.

“Stag parties” like the one Douglas attended were common and dangerous for young women.

Women were often paid to attend these parties and were expected to do more than be pretty faces.

Extras, in particular, were viewed as expendable and were frequently recruited as “party favors” by men on set.

These events often took place away from home, allowing men to act without consequences.

At the time, just a handful of studios dominated the motion picture market and the lives of their employees.

Studios like MGM controlled every aspect of their actors’ lives and demanded complete loyalty.

Women were subjected to propositions, assaults, and assumptions of s**ual availability.

The casting couch was ubiquitous, and women were expected to make themselves available to powerful men as dates and more.

There was no concept of workplace harassment, and women were expected to endure scrutiny and s**ualization to get work.

The Hollywood dictatorship had a clear underclass: women.

“Pretend it’s not a movie studio—pretend it’s a country,” says Hollywood biographer David Stenn.

Janis Paige, an actress, was told by her MGM director to go on a date with a man she had never met.

When he tried to rape her, she fled, and kept the incident a secret until recently revealing it at age 95.

Judy Garland reported being groped by Louis B. Mayer on set when she was still a teenager.

Clark Gable allegedly date-raped co-star Loretta Young in 1935, and Young became pregnant.

She hid the pregnancy, gave birth in secret, and left her daughter in an orphanage before later “adopting” her.

Young did not report the rape or the pregnancy to the studio.

Women who attended stag parties faced danger and exploitation.

Women were often seen as “prey,” says Stenn.

Many of the women who experienced s**ual abuse in Hollywood never came forward.

When Douglas reported her rape, she was taken to a private hospital where she was examined by an MGM-paid doctor, Edward Lindquist.

Like other studio-paid doctors of the era, Lindquist provided abortions, treated s**ually transmitted diseases, and performed operations for stars who wished to keep them secret.

That night, he gave Douglas a botched rape “exam” that removed all physical evidence of the crime.

Douglas sued. However, her case was dismissed after a vicious smear campaign.

Thanks to Hollywood’s pervasive “fixing,” we may never know how many women were victimized during the era.

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