From Anne Applebaum‘s “The New Puritans,” published in The Atlantic on 8.31.21: For the moral crime of adultery, Hester Prynne “must wear a scarlet A pinned to her dress for the rest of her life. On the outskirts of Boston, she lives in exile. No one will socialize with her—not even those who have quietly committed similar sins, among them the father of her child, the saintly village preacher. The scarlet letter has ‘the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.’ “We read that story with a certain self-satisfaction: Such an old-fashioned tale! [For] we now live in a land governed by the rule of law; we have procedures designed to prevent the meting-out of unfair punishment. Scarlet letters are a thing of the past.
“Except, of course, they aren’t. Right here in America, right now, it is possible to meet people who have lost everything — jobs, money, friends, colleagues — after violating no laws, and sometimes no workplace rules either. Instead, they have broken (or are accused of having broken) social codes having to do with race, sex, personal behavior, or even acceptable humor, which may not have existed five years ago or maybe five months ago. Some have made egregious errors of judgment. Some have done nothing at all. It is not always easy to tell.”
As most HE readers know, I got “Scarlet Letter”-ed last March when Critics Choice honchos Joey Berlin and John DeSimio booted me out of their organization after being pressured by hysterical wokesters after I posted a sentence written by someone other than myself — a sentence which sat on HE for an hour or less before I took it down. This eviction gave certain publicists an excuse to take me off their screening invite lists, etc. Six weeks ago I wrote Joey and John a letter about this incident. I was going to keep it private but what do I have to lose by sharing it at this point?
HE to Joey Berlin and John DeSimio of Critics Choice Association (CCA) — sent on 8.6.21.
Happy Midsummer Night’s Dream and best to your families.
I was just wondering if you guys know or care what your decision to boot me out of Critics Choice last March….a cowardly move which was ABSOLUTELY NOT over “a pattern of offensive, insensitive and unprofessional behavior,” as you told the trades (neither of you ever said a damn thing to me about any alleged issues ever, and I mean not so much as a single email or text) but over a single short paragraph in a post THAT I DIDN’T EVEN WRITE (did you even know that?) and that I took down less than an hour later…
I was just wondering if you have any idea what that hysterically overblown and thoroughly minor-in-the eyes-of-God episode did to the fortunes of Hollywood Elsewhere? Maybe you do have an idea. Maybe you don’t give a shit, or maybe you’ve chuckled about it over drinks.
I was never that attached to the fortunes (soaring or otherwise) of the Critics Choice Association. I was happy to nominate and vote and attend the annual Barker Hangar shebang, but I ate and slept pretty well before I became a member. It really wasn’t that big a deal to me, but you guys sure as hell poisoned the well when you booted me out.
Tell me truthfully, man to man…have either of you ever had a hand in a decision that helped to damage a fellow journalist’s career? Have you ever lowered the boom on someone and brought serious trauma into their life? Let’s assume you guys don’t do this on a regular basis and let me ask a question — why did you LIE about the particulars when you cut me loose? You know I didn’t cause any grief for CCA before this one dumb thing, and yet you claimed otherwise.