This Seems Like a Good Time to Get Rid of the Hollywood and Highland Casting Couch

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

In the wake of all the Weinstein news, reader Robin emailed me to ask if I would write about the "casting couch statue in Hollywood." Robin writes, which I am sharing with permission: "On a tour last year our guide made smirking, smarmy comments about it. Lots of people would have seen it. Famous. Part of the classic tour."

I had never heard of this monstrosity, but, as Robin notes, it is part of at least one Hollywood tour and is featured on multiple online tourist guides. I called the management of the building where it's displayed to confirm it's still there. It is.

Sitting atop the Hollywood and Highland Shopping Center, on the north-facing observation deck with a view of the Hollywood Sign, is a golden chaise, positioned beside a tiled floor mural reading: "The Road to Hollywood: How some of us got here."

[Photo via TripSavvy. Credit: Shelly Munkberg/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

TripSavvy, as part of a "practical guide" for visitors to Hollywood and Highland, notes, lest there be any doubt about its context: "This over-sized piece of furniture is the most popular spot for a photograph at Hollywood and Highland. The term 'casting couch' originated with unscrupulous casting agents, whose office furniture could be used for sexual activity between them and aspiring actresses looking to get an advantage."

Actresses looking to get an advantage. Oh.

Writes Robin: "Hollywood acts shocked (!!!) by revelations while literally having a casting couch statue celebrating rape culture."

While we're immersed in news about Harvey Weinstein's sexual predation, and also having a national conversation about the value of monuments to institutional abuse, it seems like a good time to reconsider the existence of this fucking thing.

In other words: Get rid of it. Now.

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