The Hollywood casting couch is still in operation today, even though the studios, run by corporations would not want to admit it, one iota. It may not take place as blatantly as it did in the past, when studio heads would literally have sex with young actresses (and actors) right in their offices, promising jobs for favors. Although, that probably does still happen on a smaller scale, the Hollywood casting couch probably operates more opaquely than it did in the golden years. The “casting” sessions take place after expensive dinners and champagne. Isn’t that what Bill Cosby is accused of doing?
Ashley, in the novel, “Palm Avenue,” realizes early on, she must use her sexuality to get ahead in Hollywood. She does it in the first chapter, by exposing more cleavage to land the hostess job at the Sunset Strip nightclub. Then, she is groomed by more experienced female sharks, Jillian and Chloe, how to dress and move in for the kill. When she runs into fictional super agent, Michael Levin at cafe behind Fred Segal, she knows exactly what she must do. Likewise, when Jack Wrangler invites her to the Chateau Marmont, she knows it is an opportunity she can’t pass up. You may purchase the ebook version of “Palm Avenue” here for immediate download.
If you attend premiers, awards shows, and other industry related events in Los Angeles, you will often see powerful older men, and women accompanied by beautiful younger men and women, and it is no secret what is going on. When I first arrived in Hollywood, I attended a play, and in attendance was a well known character actor who I had admired in many television shows. He always played a tough guy. Well, he was accompanied by a very handsome younger man, and was obviously gay. I was shocked. I have since seen incidence after incidence like that. Unfortunately, many of the young men and women who compromise themselves in the hope of fame and fortune, end up with nothing but some expensive clothes and jewelry, like Jillian does in Palm Avenue.
Some young actors work their butts off and end up succeeding through pure hard work and talent. Others work their butts for years and get nothing. Others, like Ashley in the book, do it the old fashioned way – they sleep their way to the top. Are they wrong for doing it? How many Hollywood stars past and present achieved their success by using their sexuality? This includes men, women, and unfortunately children.
A new documentary is coming out, “An Open Secret,” which is said to expose dozens of incidents of sexual predators in positions of power in Hollywood in the recent past. The title is interesting, because that what the Hollywood casting couch is, “An Open Secret.”