Actress Molly Ringwald starred in numerous John Hughes films such as The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles and quickly became the poster child of teen-driven coming-of-age movies of the ’80s that still resonate today. After starring in definitive movies from the Reagan era of side ponytails and Anthony Michael Hall, Ringwald wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I remember seeing her in Betsy’s Wedding in 1990 and then it seems like she disappeared. I remember randomly hearing through the grapevine that she was tired of Hollywood and moved to Europe. I didn’t know if that was a fact, but based on an essay she wrote in The New Yorker, there is some truth to the rumor. If anything, it’s the disgusting misbehaving men in power of the industry that influenced her to jump ship.
Despite the title of her essay, “All the Other Harvey Weinsteins,” Ringwald does not put the spotlight on the Hollywood exec who has been dragged for nearly two weeks after numerous allegations of sexual abuse and harassment had surfaced. She mentions that she worked with him in France during the early days of Miramax on a film titled Strike It Rich, based on the short novel Loser Takes All by Graham Greene. Even early in their career, Ringwald writes that Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob “were becoming powerful and were difficult to work with, and that it was inadvisable to cross them.” She also mentioned that Weinstein’s behavior toward their British co-workers was a bit unsavory and said that “it made everyone cringe” and all she could think was that he was “volatile.”
Ringwald writes that she was never propositioned or sexually harassed by Weinstein during his pre-English Patient era. Her relationship with him was strictly business, and from her essay, that relationship wasn’t ideal. Strike It Rich tanked and she was denied money that was owed to her. Weinstein even changed the movie poster, putting Ringwald’s head on a Marilyn Monroe-esque body that had nothing to do with the character.
Still, Ringwald had her own “Harveys” throughout her career and they were just as horrifying if not worse than the scandalous stories revolving around Weinstein. When she was 13 years old, a 50-year-old crew member “taught her to dance” and proceeded to rub against her with an erection. At 14, an unnamed married director “stuck his tongue in my mouth on set. During an audition with an actor friend, she was forced to put on a dog collar and in a magazine article, the head of a major studio was quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t know [Molly Ringwald] if she sat on my face.”
Ringwald writes that making these stories public is important and how they have to be taken seriously. The public needs to listen. Because when women do speak out, they tend to be “shamed, told they are uptight, nasty, bitter, can’t take a joke, are too sensitive.” As for the men who are doing the harassing, Ringwald says “if they’re lucky, they might get elected President.”