Tag Archives: consensual

Revelation about ‘Last Tango in Paris’ rape scene sparks outrage

Last Tango in Paris is making headlines again 44 years after the controversial film came out. A recently unearthed video interview with Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci from 2013 has renewed interest, and outrage, over what happened to actress Maria Schneider on set during the infamous butter rape scene.

Bertolucci said neither he nor Marlon Brando told Schneider of their plans to use the stick of butter during the simulated rape scene — a concept they came up with the morning of the shoot — because he wanted her to react “as a girl not as an actress.” He wanted her, he said, to feel “the rage and the humiliation.”

Schneider, who died in 2011 at age 58 after a lengthy illness, spoke a number of times about the scene between her, then aged 19, and Marlon Brando, then 48, even saying in a 2007 Daily Mail interview that she “felt a little raped” by her co-star and director.

“They only told me about it before we had to film the scene, and I was so angry,” Schneider said. “I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script. But at the time, I didn’t know that.”

Outrage today

But despite Schneider’s past comments, the video interview with Bertolucci struck a chord this weekend as it circulated on social media that the director was admitting the scene was non-consensual.

Actress Jessica Chastain wrote on Twitter that she felt “sick” over the revelation that “the director planned her attack.”

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay called it “inexcusable.”

“As a director, I can barely fathom this. As a woman, I am horrified, disgusted and enraged by it,” DuVernay wrote.

Chris Evans also expressed his rage and said it was “beyond disgusting,” while Anna Kendrick weighed in that she “used to get eye-rolls” when she brought the incident up to people previously and that she was “glad at least it will be taken seriously now.”

Some, like actress Jenna Fischer, took a more extreme stance, writing that “all copies of this film should be destroyed immediately.”

Schneider, a relative unknown when she was cast in the film, said that the “whole circus” of suddenly being famous made her turn to drugs and she even attempted suicide a few times.

She stayed friends with Brando until his death in 2004, but she said that “for a while we couldn’t talk about the movie.”

Bertolucci, however, did not maintain a relationship with Schneider. He said he knew she hated him for life in that interview two years after her death.

And while he doesn’t regret the scene, he said he does feel guilty about it.

New judge sought in lesbian teen sex case in Florida

The attorney for an 18-year-old Floridian charged with a felony for having sexual contact with her teenage girlfriend wants a new judge to hear the case.

Attorney Julia Graves has raised concerns that Circuit Court Judge Robert Pegg in Indian River County, Fla., is biased against the defendant, Kaitlyn Hunt, because she is a lesbian.

So Graves wants Pegg to turn the case over to someone else.

Pegg set a trial date for September, prompting Graves to file a motion arguing that she was not notified of the date and raising concerns that the judge moved the case ahead of 200 other pending criminal cases.

Kaitlyn Hunt of Palm Bay, Fla., was charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a child in February.

She and her girlfriend began dating before Hunt turned 18, and LGBT civil rights advocates claim the 18-year-old has been targeted because of her sexual orientation.

Hunt’s father, who launched a Change.org petition, also makes that claim. In his petition, Steven Hunt says, “The two girls began dating while Kaitlyn was 17 but her girlfriend’s parents blamed Kaitlyn for their daughter’s homosexuality. They waited until after Kaitlyn turned 18 and went to the police to have charges brought against her.”

He also says his daughter is a “highly respected student” at Sebastian River High School, with :good grades and participation in cheerleading, basketball and chorus. She was even voted ‘most school spirit.’ Now she’s been expelled from school and is facing serious felonies– all because she is in love.”

Montana governor signs bill decriminalizing gay sex

An obsolete law deeming gay sex as deviant – akin to bestiality – was stricken from Montana code on April 18, prompting gay rights activists to say they hope that full legal equality may be close at hand.

When Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 107 decriminalizing gay sex, cheers erupted in the Capitol’s Rotunda. It had been 16 years after the state Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional and 24 years after gay rights activists began their fight to take government out of the bedroom.

“I am not going to speak too long because, frankly, the longer I talk, the longer this embarrassing and unconstitutional law stays on the books,” Bullock said.

The victory, though a powerful one for the gay community in Montana, is highly symbolic with no tangible benefits aside from striking the obsolete law condemning gay sex from Montana code. The outdated code has not been used to prosecute individuals for years. And previous efforts to offer gays and lesbians protection under the law, including a push to prohibit civil discrimination, have been thwarted by a GOP-controlled Legislature.

Rep. Jerry Bennett, R-Libby, said he holds no ill will toward gay people, but he and other Republicans opposed the legislation and similar efforts along religious lines. He added that there is a bi-partisan movement to “protect the family,” defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and gay rights efforts could have “long-term ramifications.”

“This isn’t over,” he said. “We will see a continual push for recognition of unions … for health insurance. All kinds of things will come out of this.”

The decriminalization bill passed the House on a 64-35 vote, and it cleared the Senate 38-11. In both cases, Republicans joined minority Democrats to advance the legislation, as gay rights activists hailed their success as a sea change within the GOP.

“In the past we’ve seen members of the Republican caucus say, I can’t stand with you because it will cost me my re-election,” said activist Jamee Greer, a lobbyist with the Montana Human Rights Network.

Gay rights activists are hopeful the bi-partisan effort is a catalyst for further change. They say that gay equality aligns itself with the fundamental libertarian values of privacy and a live-and-let live attitude pervasive in Montana – especially among Republicans who subscribe to a strong Libertarian undercurrent.

This year an effort to prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing and employment was tabled by a conservative House committee. That plan and another to legalize gay marriage remain priorities in future sessions, Greer said.

“As more and more LGBT people come out to their friends and their neighbors,” Greer said, “it’s going to be harder to discriminate against them.”

HIV-positive man appeals conviction for having sex

An HIV-positive man sentenced to lifetime registration as a sex offender is petitioning the Iowa Supreme Court for post-conviction relief.

Nick Rhoades was sentenced to 25 years in prison and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life for a one-time sexual encounter with another man during which they used a condom, according to Lambda Legal, which is representing him in the appeal.

“This conviction cannot stand because someone who engages in safe sex is not guilty of criminal transmission of HIV,” said Christopher Clark, a senior attorney for Lambda. “Nick’s use of a condom clearly indicates that he was protecting his sexual partner from exposure.”

In June 2008, Rhoades engaged in sexual activity with Adam Plendl during which they used a condom. Several days later, Plendl learned that Rhoades might be HIV-positive and he contacted the police.

The police arrested Rhoades and, on the advice of his lawyer, Rhoades pleaded guilty.

Lambda says that despite the use of a condom and the fact that Plendl did not contract HIV, Rhoades was convicted of intentionally exposing Plendl to the virus and received a maximum sentence: 25 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Several months later, the court suspended the prison sentence and placed Rhoades on probation.

Rhoades, with the help of Lambda, is arguing to the Iowa Supreme Court that he had ineffective assistance from his initial attorney.

“To think that for the rest of my life I’ll be branded as a felon and sex-offender, all because of a one-time safe sex encounter where no HIV was transmitted, is unimaginable,” Rhoades said in a news release.

According to Lambda, 39 states have HIV-specific criminal statutes. In the last two years, there have been more than 80 prosecutions of HIV-related criminal charges.

“Criminal laws, like the one in Iowa, unjustly target people living with HIV and subject them to unwarranted prosecution and punishment,” said Scott Schoettes, HIV project director for Lambda Legal. “By representing people like Nick Rhoades, we are doing what we can to ensure these outdated and unnecessary laws are not abusively misused against people whose conduct is not actually prohibited under them.”

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