Three separate harassment claims surfacing at the same moment struck me as odd, and so I asked if the three persons (women, I presumed) had “come forward as a group, or did the harassment complaints surface of their own volition and time clock, and just happened to arrive at roughly the same time?”
In an in-house memo sent yesterday (Friday, 3.23) to Academy staffers, Bailey stated that the whole magillah is about one woman — not three apparently — complaining about a single incident that happened more than a decade ago. It concerns his having “attempted to touch a woman inappropriately while we were both riding in a transport van on a movie set,” according to Bailey’s memo. He added, “That did not happen.”
Bailey may or may not have inappropriately touched (or attempted to inappropriately touch) a woman during a ride to a movie set in a van more than a decade ago. I wasn’t there. I know nothing. And it’s possible that something more than touching actually went on, I realize.
As I said in an 11.1.17 piece called “Past Predators,” I was inappropriately touched once at age 19. After a night of drunkenness I woke up in bed with an old fat guy — bald, blubbery, smelling of booze — in a New Orleans hotel room. I bounded the fuck out of bed and got dressed in a hurry, going “jeez” and “good God” and mostly feeling icky rather than assaulted. Definitely distasteful, but not exactly a case of lingering traumatic shock.
Bailey’s statement: “I have refrained from comment on the various media accounts about me of the past several days because I wanted to allow the Academy process to play out. However, in light of several repeated false stories, I feel compelled to set the record straight with those of you who work side by side with me on behalf of the Academy. The media reports describing multiple complaints made to the Academy about me are false and have served only to tarnish my 50 year career.
“The fact that the existence of an allegation even became public thwarts the confidential review process that the Academy adopted and is supposed to follow when receiving complaints.
“There was a single named complaint regarding an allegation dating back more than a decade ago in which I am alleged to have to attempted to touch a woman inappropriately while we were both riding in a transport van on a movie set. That did not happen.
“I have supported women throughout my career and am heartened by the outpouring of support I have received from numerous women with whom I have worked and supported during my career
“While I cannot undo the damage of having a false narrative leaked to the press I expect the committee will undertake its obligation to review this matter faithfully. Because I know the facts, I expect they will conclude that there is no basis to take any action against me. While there have been well documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them. I care deeply about women’s issues and support equal treatment and access for all individuals working in this profession. I am proud to serve as President of the Academy and am committed to carrying on the important work the board elected me to do.”