Steven Soderbergh is expressing real fears over backlash to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements in a new interview with The Daily Beast. The director, whose limited series “Mosaic” is currently airing on HBO, explained that he worries about how powerful men in Hollywood will react to the anti-sexual harassment campaigns. Will men in charge take the time to systematically change behavior on film sets or will they just stop hiring women as a way to avoid potential cases of harassment and abuse? Soderbergh can’t help but be worried about the latter.
“My fear is that, men being men, going forward, as opposed to changing their behavior, they’re just going to stop hiring women,” he said. “In everything. In every business, in every part of the culture. Like I said, knowing men as I do, I think for a lot of them, that’s going to be their initial reaction, as opposed to a reassessment of how they’ve behaved. It’ll just be: let’s not hire women, because, you know, they talk.”
But even Soderbergh admits that this way of thinking couldn’t possibly last long.
“Over time, that’ll be a bad play,” Soderbergh said. “Because diversity wins in all of these situations. If you become a company that, for instance, decides—tacitly or explicitly—to hire fewer women because you don’t want any problems, you’re going to get beat by other companies who do continue to hire women, because they’re going to have a better result.”
“Again, it’s very early days,” he continued. “And I think the intensity of it is the result of many, many, many years of pent-up frustration coming out. That’s why it feels so all-encompassing. There’s just been this pressure that’s finally being released. If you step back and look at it from a sort of social-anthropology point of view, I find it fascinating.”
Soderbergh goes on to say that he thinks “this shit is over” when it comes to sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood. He says Hollywood is “a completely new landscape now” thanks to the brave women who came forward to reveal their stories of abuse.
“It’ll be interesting to see where the new equilibrium ends up, and whether or not this will expand beyond gender-driven harassment into a more general discussion about people who are assholes,” he said. “Because there are plenty around. After this takes a shape that seems like it’s going to settle in, I’d love to see a discussion just about abusive behavior in general that has nothing to do with sexual harassment, but just bad behavior.”
Soderbergh will be back in theaters this March with the iPhone-shot horror film “Unsane,” starring Claire Foy. Head over to The Daily Beast to read Soderbergh’s full interview.