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Should the Entertainment Industry End?

by H. Reilly 2 years ago in industry
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Does it need to be burned down in order for it to change?

Last night, stagehands around the country lit up their venues in red light. In a movement called #WeMakeLiveEvents, the workers of the entertainment industry lit the venues of America red to remind the world that they're still there.

Complete with a barely-watched Facebook live stream and weeks of planning, this futile effort to remind people that "12,000,000 people work in entertainment and the pandemic puts them all out of work" seems to have fallen short as far as media attention.

Not only that, but the pictures from Times Square and other places in the country reveal the self-involved attitude you find on loading docks throughout the country. Pictures dominated by white men flood the feed, sometimes they are the only ones in a photo. A single white man will be called to turn on the lights in a dingy mid-west theater, Times square is full of burly white men in masks standing with road cases.

I am leaving the live events industry. I'm a young woman and there is no place for me there, perhaps best highlighted by this representation. But it's more than that.

It's the late nights of worrying if I can get to my 12am call because I have to commute through unsafe neighborhoods that my male coworkers don't give a second thought to. It's being fired from a job next season because I didn't sleep with my boss. It's knowing how many times I've been hired under a less-capable whiteboy so that I can make sure he doesn't fuck up the job but my boss doesn't think the client will take me seriously, watching him get my pay raise, authority, respect.

It's my gay crew-lead saying it's fine for him to grab my tits in front of the entire crew because "[he] doesn't even like those". It's knowing that I have a small handful of female role models who everyone can tell me about (but knows their name because there are so few) and most of them are territorial and don't want to give advice or work to a young woman trying to make it.

It's knowing the only way I would get into the stagehand union that dominates New York would be to get lucky in the apprenticeship lottery or to suck someone's dick enough for it to be overlooked that I'm not related to anyone in it.

And I'm white.

So, I don't have to deal day-in and day-out with the racism that also happens. I couldn't imagine being a black female stagehand, and I personally know of only a handful of them.

While I know many of my friends are financially hurting, maybe this is a call for change beyond the pay raise and safe working conditions they're asking for. Maybe it isn't such a crime that this industry that I loved and was devoted to is ending, after it betrayed me and so many other young hopeful women like me.

The industry will say, "oh but you didn't want to tough it out", "oh this is just an extreme example", "She was asking for it". They'll tell you it isn't always like this, that they know plenty of women in the industry who are succeeding, and I'm sure they believe that.

Well, you know what motherfuckers? This was my life. I loved doing lighting, I loved running events, I would have stayed forever. BUT, I've had my ass grabbed one too many times, and I've been passed over for work one too many times, I'm not given second chances like the dumb fresh-from-tech-school boys are, and I'm over it.

I hope you burn (I mean, learn)....

Live events are not essential to society, as proven by how long the world has now been turning without them. They are an excess of a well functioning society (and by the way, of capitalism for the most part) and ours isn't doing so hot right now. With all the screens available to us now, why should live events EVER come back when it is safer for us to stay isolated inside with the screen?

And don't even get me started about how it's not always safe to be a woman alone at a concert.

Get over yourselves, entitled white boys, go get a job that actually contributes and get your self-important shit off my facebook feed or go join the incels on reddit and stop pretending like you can make a difference.


About the author

H. Reilly

I've never actually read The Old Man and the Sea, but I do love salt.


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