A New Site Lets Users Search Their Favorite Movies and Shows for Sexual Predators

More than 100 influential men have been accused of sexual misconduct since the New York Times released its bombshell article on Harvey Weinstein. If you’re having trouble keeping up on who’s been a creep, you’re not alone. And if it feels like every day someone new is accused, that’s because on average they kind of have.

The sheer number of accusations makes it hard to keep track of which Hollywood big shot to avoid at the movies or on TV. Four advertising professionals following the Weinstein accusations and all those that followed tried to come up with a solution for just that problem. They called it Rotten Apples.

Tal Wagman, Annie Johnston, Justice Erolin, and Bekah Nutt watched the #MeToo movement unfold and thought there needed to be some sort of database for people to search their favorite movies and shows to see if they’re associated with anyone accused of sexual misconduct. Think an IMDb specifically for sexual predators. Disturbing, yes, but also potentially very useful.

The site itself is incredibly simple. The words “user friendly” have been used a lot to describe it but what people really mean is plain. There’s nothing there besides the name, a search box, social sharing options and a little question mark users can click to learn about the site. That’s it.

Searching a show or film will result in either a “fresh” or “rotten” score. Either way, users are encouraged to contact the site’s creators if they believe the score is an error so they can update the result. When the search turns up rotten, there will also be the name of the person accused and a link to a credible article explaining the accusations.

Rotten Apples could become a really valuable database, allowing people to quickly access information to help enable them to make ethical decisions about the media they consume. But there are, of course, problems with it as well.

The name, for one, is a little misleading. Although it’s a clever riff of the movie rating site Rotten Tomatoes, these aren’t just a few rotten apples. These are a whole lot of predators who were allowed to continue their horrific behavior because of a complacent and complicit culture.

There are other problems with the site as well.

A search of House of Cards will turn up a rotten rating, citing Kevin Spacey as the reason. A search of the movie Frida, starring Salma Hayek, will turn up a fresh rating despite connections to Harvey Weinstein who, as we all know, is rotten to the core.

But the creators are funding the show themselves with no intention of earning money from it (and it’s technically costing them money) almost as a public service. And they admit, there are problems and false positives or negatives. They’re updating the content as fast as they can, but with the number and frequency of accusations it’s hard for anyone to keep up.

All of this leaves us to wonder, what do users do with the information once they have it? Do we not watch anything that’s in any way connected with abusive men?

The question many people seem to be asking themselves is: Can you separate the art from the artist? This might be the wrong way to frame this issue. Instead, we should be asking: Can we separate one artist from all the others?

If a painter abuses women, or children, or animals, not consuming that painter’s art is an easy choice to make. I don’t want to support that artist so I will not buy or view their art.

A solo musician is also fairly easy to not support, although there are naturally other people involved in creating their art.

But that’s where these questions stop even appearing to be easy to answer as a consumer.

What if the abuser is part of a group of artists? What if those other artists are from marginalized communities? What if this is their big break?

Or, what if as in the case of Dr. Luke, the abuser isn’t the artist but someone contributing to that art? Do we never listen to a song produced by Dr. Luke? How do we keep track of that?

I think the answer to all of these questions is that we do what we can, and we expect others to do the same.

For a project that’s already completed, like Frida, we can use a tool like Rotten Apples to evaluate our choice to watch on a case by case basis. Yes, Frida is associated with Weinstein but it has other value that shouldn’t be entirely tainted by him.

Projects that are in the works give us a better opportunity to use our voices and our dollars to demand action.

Kevin Spacey is the perfect example. He is being erased from his work so we don’t have to even make the decision. I don’t want to give Spacey any more of my time or money, but Robin Wright is amazing. Netflix firing Spacey and making Wright the lead is a great solution. As far as we know, she is not a pedophile and neither are the many, many other people who work on House of Cards. They should not be punished for Spacey’s failures.

Other projects, which don’t remove or replace the accused person, present another issue. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the antithesis of All the Money in the World. Not only did the film’s creators choose Johnny Depp, who has been accused of domestic violence, after the allegations were public knowledge, they actually defended their choice after facing backlash and suggested his victim is lying.

If Spacey can be entirely erased from a film, there’s no reason Depp can’t be recast. Choosing to see the film at this point would require some serious ethical gymnastics.

For future films and series, we can keep making our voice heard. Keep making it clear to filmmakers that we won’t pay money to see abusers on screen and, instead, choose to support films and shows with diverse casts and untold stories that are filled with abusers.

Take Action!

In 2016, Johnny Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard made allegations that Depp physically and verbally abused her during their divorce proceedings. Her accusations were backed up by Depp’s former financial managers at The Management Group, who also filed a suit against Depp. Tell Warner Bros. to fire Depp and hire Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, in his place!

Photo Credit: David Shankbone

40 comments

silja s
silja s22 days ago

the feckless wanker in the WH heads the list, the president sits in the oval office; self proclaimed sexual predator ... hollywood's list of predators will swell ... media predators will also swell ... time is nigh start at the top. that feckless wanker presides over america

SEND
Elaine W
Elaine W24 days ago

I am tired of seeing this scrubby mug print in the news.

SEND
Joan E
Joan E25 days ago

On the one hand, I'm glad people are getting the chance to take the weight of abuse off their minds and get some relief and justice. On the other hand, I'm not going to be spending any time on a website that tells me who else abused whom, It just makes me feel sick and somewhat overwhelmed in combination with all the other bad news surrounding us these days.

SEND
Dot A
Dot A25 days ago

Care2 members are voicing the correct response. This 'me-too' pro-active movement should never be used as the witch hunt that it is becoming. More women, and men, too, must speak up and guide this correctly, or it will boomerang and hurt women far more than help it. Perhaps that is what's happening. The manipulators may be hoping that it will fall flat if it becomes a social signal of radicals just causing chaos, mayhem, and destruction. It's good for women to speak out, but, please, it must not become another hateful attack, seeking vengeance or we will not gain anything except more subjugation.

SEND
Maureen G
Maureen G25 days ago

The words...alleged and accused.....are not proof of guilt.

SEND
Donn M
Donn M25 days ago

I think this whole thing has already gotten out of control, some men are losing their jobs and reputations over one alleged incident and some very minor conduct at that. I prefer to make my own judgments.

SEND
Jeramie D
Jeramie D25 days ago

I am part of MeToo and my son is one of the teenagers Kevin Spacey abused, but we do all need to be careful about ending people's careers when there is no corroboration or proof. Surely there must be a few accusers out there that are just trying to get even with someone. Many people and other workers and family get pulled in to these things and hurt. There are names I could name that I will not because many years have gone by and I don't want to hurt their families. However, I so understand how it felt absolutely impossible to tell anyone at the time. I am so glad things are changing but I agree we need to speak up and let the courts do their jobs.

SEND
pam w
pam w26 days ago

Glad to see so many people in agreement about this POTENTIAL ''witch hunt."

SEND
Winn A
Winn A26 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Winn A
Winn A26 days ago

Noted

SEND