“You will never know how much money I have and with whom I am sleeping,” she grinned, as she and director Ryan White came to talk about documentary Ask Dr. Ruth coming to Hulu after its high-profile premiere at 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
The now Disney-dominated streamer will air the docu on the Holocaust survivor turned iconic sex therapist and with Magnolia set to give it the widest theatrical release for a Hulu Documentary to date, according to the home of The Handmaid’s Tale. The move puts Netflix and others on notice in the race for the Oscars.
Among other questions Westheimer will not address are those about sex involving an animal – “I’m not a veterinarian,” the nonagenarisn explained.
Nor has she addressed “violent sex that I know some people engage in,” because, she explained simply “It’ s not my cup of tea.”
Asked why it has taken “mainstream culture” so long to openly talk about issues of the transgender community, Westheimer answered “I am not an expert on that whole issue of gender. I hope and wait for a scientifically validated study from a reputed university to learn more about it.”
In the film, she said, viewers will see her stand up for the rights “of homosexuals and of women, but I don’t answer any questions about this issue of right now, because I don’t know.”
That said, Dr. Ruth insists “every person has to be respected” and is “very worried” about suicide among “those people who feel they are trapped in the skin of another sex and become very depressed.”
Also on her Do Not Ask List: questions about sex during the Holocaust.
“My whole family perished,” she said. She told the TV critics “never to forget the Holocaust was not only against Jews. It was mostly against Jews but it was also against homosexuals, gypsies and, let’s not forget, people with disability.”
The bio-doc depicts Westheimer’s childhood via animation, which White said he used because she kept diaries and all the letters her parents wrote to her after she was sent to an orphanage in Switzerland while they stayed to fight, ultimately perishing in a concentration camp. Animation was a less impersonal way to address her childhood, than stock photo of the place and era in which she grew up.
‘We had amazing access to her voice, in German and then in Hebrew,” White said of the diaries and letters.
Having talked about sex for so many years on TV and radio, and with all that has been written on the topic, Dr. Ruth says she does not get asked questions about premature ejaculation of not being able to achieve orgasm.
Today most questions from millennials are about loneliness and not finding someone to share life and experiences with., she said, adding that she is “very concerned young people are going to lose the art of conversation.”
“Everybody is sitting with their phones,” she said, observing she had been “warned” that the TV critics would be sitting in the room during her Q&A typing on laptops and smartphones as she spoke. “In my classroom nobody sits with computer,” she scolded. “They have to talk with each other. I’m very concerned with those things.”