Remember what a douchebag Johnny Depp was last year when he compared his many celebrity photoshoots to instances of rape? You'd think his fellow actors would have learned from his mistake that "rape" is not a word that can be thrown about to describe any mildly uncomfortable situation, but some actors obviously did not get the message. Earlier this week actress Kim Novak, star of the 1958 Hitchcock Classic Vertigo, took out a full-page ad in Variety magazine to blast new film The Artist for ripping off Bernard Hermann's famous love score from Vertigo. While Novak could have expressed her disdain for the film's creative choices with any manner of unoffensive language, she instead used the full-page rant to accuse the film of "raping" her. She writes:
FROM THE DESK OF KIM NOVAK
I WANT TO REPORT A RAPE.
I FEEL AS IF MY BODY—OR, AT LEAST MY BODY OF WORK—HAS BEEN VIOLATED BY THE MOVIE, "THE ARTIST."
The film could and should have been able to stand on its own without depending upon Bernard Herrmann's score from Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO to provide it more drama. Much of VERTIGO's music was written during, not after, filming—that was the way Hitchcock worked. The Love Theme was woven musically in with the puzzle pieces of the storyline. In my opinion, the combined efforts of the composer, director, Jimmy Stewart, and myself were all violated. I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SPEAK NOW. They didn't need to use what I consider to be one of the most important love scenes in motion picture history by playing the VERTIGO score and using emotions it engenders as if it were their own. Even though they gave a small credit to Bernard Herrmann at the end, I believe this to be cheating, at the very least. Shame on them!
IT IS MORALLY WRONG FOR THE ARTISTRY OF OUR INDUSTRY TO USE AND ABUSE FAMOUS PIECES OF WORK TO GAIN ATTENTION AND APPLAUSE FOR OTHER THAN WHAT THEY WERE INTENDED. IT IS ESSENTIAL TO SAFEGUARD OUR SPECIAL BODIES OF WORK FOR POSTERITY, WITH THEIR ORIGINAL AND INDIVIDUAL IDENTITIES INTACT AND PROTECTED.
OK, Kim Novak, we get it. You don't want The Artist to win at this year's Oscars. However, plagiarism (or in this case, homage since Herrmann was credited) does not in any way, shape, or form legitimize a rape comparison. Novak was obviously going for shock value with both her language and presentation of her letter (a full-page ad? WTF?), but in the process she succeeded in belittling the horror, violence, and trauma of rape itself. Her act is almost worse than Depp's misstep as she flagrantly acknowledges the power of the term "rape" and still throws it in our faces for her own petty ends.
But Jimmy Stewart! The Artist's musical score really annoyed me!
Worse still, Novak is not alone in her douchebaggery. Her manager, Sue Cameron, released a statement in support of Novak's letter:
There are all kinds of rape including the rape of one's soul. All rapes are violent acts and all victims should be supported.
Wow. Let me get this straight. The Artist's credited use of music from Vertigo constitutes a violent act? Against Kim Novak? And we as a public should support her in this wild and disgusting rape accusation? No way. Novak's ad demeans the real experiences of rape survivors and Cameron's painting it as some sort of show of activism is just salt in the wound. Lynn Blanco, the CEO of the Rape Crisis Center in San Antonio, Texas, explained to Fox411.com just how harmful actions like Novak's can be:
When rape is used in a way that overdramatizes a situation that did not include an actual rape it diminishes the suffering of the thousands of men, women and children who have suffered from the crime...Using the word in this way can actually silence victims from telling their stories. It reinforces the idea that rape is not serious or important enough to report.
Whatever influence Novak still has in our popular culture could have been used in this situation to call attention to this movie score issue she clearly has strong feelings about. Instead, she chose to further marginalize an already undersupported part of society by appropriating the language of rape survivors. Shame on YOU, Kim Novak. Shame on you. I just hope this Douchebag Decree helps you and other public figures remember that rape should never be used to describe your professional frustrations, no matter how strong they may be.