If you can make it past all the annoying pop-up ads on your computer screen, you’ll see some startling news. Producer Harvey Weinstein lost his job because he required actresses to bed down with him to qualify for movie and TV roles. For this old guy who many decades ago was a Beverly Hills newspaper reporter, it’s nothing new.
From D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille and Harry Cohn, casting couch interviews were routine. In many early Hollywood biographies, actresses including Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford and many others told of their experiences of dealing with horny old guys who demanded sex for employment. And, of course, it wasn’t just a Hollywood requirement.
In my later 25-year career with a major insurance company, the tradition certainly flourished. Top male executives who spent most of their time strutting around looking important often required bedding down for eager young women employees to move up to management positions.
One of my most vivid memories is when a married vice president took a liking to a recent college grad. Hired as a junior accountant, within a year she was promoted to assistant manager. In another two years, she was a division manager. The vice president was eventually divorced by his wife for infidelity. Of course, within the same company over the years, there were many other similar casting couch career advancements.