A GHOST STORY producer Adam Donaghey was arrested last week for molesting and raping a child actor who appeared in the film. Horrifying allegations of abuse on this film set. Trades need to pick this up. @Variety @THR @DEADLINE https://t.co/zvImapDLjA— Jovanka Vuckovic (@JovankaVuckovic) May 13, 2020
Most troubling are not just the allegations against Donaghey, but other worms found beneath the lifted rock, as expressed by community insiders following social media exposure of the incident.
Nearly three years after the #MeToo dam burst, the entertainment industry is still broken. But are we ever going to reach culpability - or just more lip service?
This year, a sixteen-year-old girl alleged on Facebook that thirty-nine-year-old Adam Donaghey molested her on the set of the 2017 film A Ghost Story (you might remember it for its other infamous player, Casey Affleck). The film was directed by David Lowery, who denied any knowledge of Donaghey's behavior.
Donaghey was taken into custody on April 27th; he was immediately released after posting a $25,000 bail the following day.
Donaghey worked closely with genre notables Fangoria and Cinestate. (Reps for both also denied any knowledge of his behavior.)
His recent credits as producer are expansive, including Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018), Porno (2019), Satanic Panic (2019), VFW (2019), and Castle Freak (2020), as well as many others in post-production.
Despite the public denials from just about everyone who had worked closely with Donaghey, Vuckovic made it clear that this behavior - and, in turn, those complicit by covering it up - is nothing new in the horror community:
We NEED to be talking about this. So tired of the horror community sweeping stuff like this under the rug.— Jovanka Vuckovic (@JovankaVuckovic) May 13, 2020
Also some really disturbing allegations about sexual harassment on set by Fred Williamson here.— Jovanka Vuckovic (@JovankaVuckovic) May 13, 2020
I don’t understand it either. We’re a community of outsiders and misfits and we should be looking out for each other. We must take care of each other, especially young people and children. Here’s something easy and actionable: Stop working with known predators.— Jovanka Vuckovic (@JovankaVuckovic) May 13, 2020
Vuckovic's singling out of those choosing to work with predators could mean anyone from convicted child molestor Victor Salva, who directed outspoken #MeToo activist, Rose McGowan, in 2011's Rosewood Lane (and whose upcoming Jeepers Creepers 4 will be produced by Myriad Pictures), to director-producer Eric England, behind 2013's Contracted and 2019's Greenlight (he's been since removed from the IMDB page of the latter), who is now facing sexual assault allegations of his own - or perhaps, even, a certain son of a famous director. (Judging by discussion on Twitter, the possibilities are endless.)
Other women in the horror community joined the conversation.
Producer/Director, Micheline Pitt:
Radio silence from all people who he worked ln their films as well as all the horror and genre sites. Funny how people pick and choose who they will drag and not drag, the dude is accused of child rape... again proving Hollywood doesn’t give a shit about children.— Michelinepitt (@michelinepitt) May 13, 2020
Directors, Jen and Sylvia Soska:
Disgusting.— The Soska Sisters (@twisted_twins) May 14, 2020
Actor, Barbara Crampton:
I am angry, horrified and saddened to hear about the assault on a young girl by Adam Donaghey. I did not know of his reputation or this alleged incident, and it sickens me. Predators hide in plain sight. We must do better as a film community to keep people safe.— Barbara Crampton (@barbaracrampton) May 14, 2020
This is pertaining to sexual misconduct/ harassment while on set working...not Covid. Sorry should have clarified— Barbara Crampton (@barbaracrampton) May 14, 2020
Screenwriter, April Wolfe:
I’m frustrated with this industry’s inability to admit and deal with harassment and assault being a much larger issue, to a point of near banality. I’m frustrated every woman in the industry (myself included) still has a story abt how someone powerful chose to look the other way.— April Wolfe (@AWolfeful) May 15, 2020
And if someone who’s assaulted or harassed others has somehow found himself in your ranks, an appropriate response is to say that you’re looking critically at HOW we could have failed to vet them because we take this seriously and know it could happen again.— April Wolfe (@AWolfeful) May 15, 2020
In Vuckovic's thread, a genre journalist added further context to the original Dallas report:
It's now days since the initial report. So why is a single horror site out of many, Dread Central (who chose not to embed Vuckovic and Pitt's tweets hinting at more widespread behavior in the community, yet embedded others denying knowledge of Donaghey's behavior) - the only to report?
(Then again - considering said site's history when it comes to discussing victims of assault, perhaps that question has already been answered.)
What about Fangoria, the company that worked extensively with Donaghey? Or Birth Movies Death, who faced their own controversy regarding an inability to handle those accused of sexual harassment? Or Blumhouse? Or Bloody Disgusting? Or the Los Angeles Times? The mainstream outlets singled out by Vuckovic in her post - Variety, Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline - have also stayed silent.
A widely-shared Medium article, which lumps Donaghey's behavior alongside that of Joe Bob Briggs (his current controversy is an article he wrote last summer, just unearthed on Twitter), is currently the only other piece written on this topic. And certainly, the concerns raised about Briggs and the hypocrisy highlighted within also deserve ample discussion.
But why have so many self-appointed voices of the horror community been silent on the issue of Donaghey and other predators? Why is every new case given no more than a week's worth of outrage on social media before it's forgotten entirely?
And at what point must we decide that the community's take on feminism could stand to grow past the 1970s ceiling of Final Girl movies - all still largely written (and directed, and produced) by men?
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Thoughts on Hollywood apparently taking its middle school yearbook's advice and never changing, even during this pandemic hellscape, ONTD?