The Andy Signore Situation – Abuse Of Power And A Wake Up Call For Men And Our Attitudes

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It’s been just over 24 hours now since the whole world (at least our little movie loving online corner of it) blew up over the Andy Signore of Screen Junkies situation. I initially decided to not say anything about it since A) I don’t know enough, B) I’m horrendously unqualified and this stuff is WAY outside my wheelhouse C) I’m friends with and have been in communication with one of the victims and D) The person at the center of this is a former “competitor” of mine so anything I say (considering C and D) would be considered incredibly biased anyway.

Besides, I’m just a film pundit. A relatively unknown one at that. Who the fuck cares what I think about this? We all basically think the same thing about it so why just repeat what everyone else is saying?

However, today I heard some very disturbing conversations about this subject that prompted me to want to say something. And maybe it isn’t my place to say anything. I wouldn’t blame you a single bit if you think that. I freely, with no offense taken, invite you to stop reading this if that’s the case because I don’t blame you at all.

 

THIS IS NOT SIMPLY ABOUT A GUY’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS WOMEN. IT’S ABOUT A HEINOUS ABUSE OF POWER.

The long and short of the conversations I heard and read today involved some people (all guys by the way) who were making the argument that while what Andy allegedly did was inappropriate, it was hardly a fireable offense. The thinking these guys had was that it shouldn’t be a crime to tell a woman she’s “hot”. They argued that simply expressing interest in a woman shouldn’t be considered “evil”. Sure, “some flirting” may not be a smart thing to do with someone who works for you, but it’s not the end of the world they said. To be fair, these guys also acknowledged that what he did was “stupid” and not “right”, but that he shouldn’t be vilified “just because he has certain attitudes about girls”.

Let me say that I don’t think these guys are completely wrong (generally wrong, but not totally). I’ll agree to the point that the things they’re talking about are not deserving of destroying a person’s career and life over. It IS certainly deserving of HR getting involved, some mandatory sensitivity training and perhaps work probation.

But the problem is that this isn’t a situation of a person having an inappropriate attitude. People are not in a complete uproar because he called a girl “hot”. Andy didn’t get suspended because he “expressed interest” in a woman. This situation is as big as it is because he flagrantly, unequivocally and viciously abused his power.

Telling a girl that she needs to obey your instructions OR ELSE you’ll fire her boyfriend from his job is not on the same level as simply telling her she’s hot. Bringing a sex toy to a woman’s hotel room and instructing her to penetrate herself with it, trying to leverage your power over her and her situation is not on the same level as “expressing interest”. Telling an intern, someone you have power over their person and their situation, that you want to “jack off” in front of them is not on the same level as “some flirting”.

Is this about men’s attitudes towards women? An argument can legitimately be made that it certainly starts there. If I’m going to be honest, I don’t think men, including myself, have the slightest clue what women face in the workplace and how our attitudes affect them. Bad and outdated attitudes are tricky because we don’t even recognize they’re there most of the times and we become oblivious to how our attitudes may be affecting those around us. I think we, myself included, have failed in the sense that we’ve become complacent in trying to recognize, identify and rectify these attitudes. We’ve become content in being blissfully ignorant of our own attitudes. This acceptance of the willful ignorance of our disrespect is an act of disrespect in and of itself. Disrespect both to the women around us and to ourselves as well.

The problem is, unchecked attitudes can eventually lead to unchecked actions… the kind we’re seeing in the Andy Signore situation.

The horrifying part is that since I believe many of us men foster some unhealthy/unproductive/unfair attitudes and just ignore them or pretend they aren’t there… we’re not many steps away from having those unchecked attitudes lead us to unchecked actions. As I heard one guy say today: “yeah, but I’d NEVER threaten to fire someone, or their boyfriend/husband just because they wouldn’t suck my dick”. Don’t believe yourself.

If you have an infection on your foot, you can do 1 of 2 things. 1) Pretend it isn’t there. Yeah you don’t like the infection, and you’re not happy it’s there, but maybe if you just ignore it and pay it no attention it won’t really bother you or anyone else around you. Obviously it will eventually spread through your body and inevitably kill you. But at least you didn’t have to deal with it. Option 2) Deal with it. Identify the infection, recognize how it can affect you and possibly those around you and have it taken care of so you can enjoy many more years of healthy and happy existence.

So I guess to sum up I have 2 points:

1) The Andy situation is not simply about poor attitudes. It’s about horrible actions in the form of criminally abusive behavior through abuse of power.

2) It’s our attitudes that lead to crap like this. Most of us, including me, probably harbor some of these attitudes even if we don’t’ recognize them. As men, we owe it to ourselves and the women around us, to take a more active role in trying to identify those attitudes and work them out before they lead us to actions like the ones Andy is accused of. We shouldn’t fool ourselves that we could never possibly do something like what Andy is accused of. Everyone who has ever done what Andy is accused of has told themselves at one time or another it’s something they’d never do.

This Andy situation should be a very loud and very poignant wake up call for us.

Finally, and for complete transparency, I have always gotten along with Andy Signore. My personal experiences with him have always been positive. Even as a competitor we’ve always been on friendly terms. He reached out to me both when I left AMC and when I left Collider to check in on me and wish me well. He’s offered several times for me to be involved with Screen Junkies and a few of their shows. I have had Andy on my Masters Of The Web panel and had him guest on Collider shows several times when I was there and always thought his contributions were positive ones.

None of that makes up for or justifies what he is accused of. I just wanted to be open and honest with what my direct dealings with him have been like.

I’m not going to address the Andy situation on my YouTube channel at all. My YouTube channel is for talking about movies and the movie world. Not talking about other people who talk about the movie world.

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Where has the audio only version of my podcast gone?

Some of you may have noticed that the audio only version of The John Campea Podcast hasn’t been getting updated for the last number of weeks. There is a reason for that. It’s been discontinued. Well… sort of.

When I made the move to do my own YouTube channel full time (I upload about 70-90 videos per month. ON MY OWN. No 25 person staff to help me do it anymore) it meant that I would have to find ways to make my living off doing it. This put me in a difficult position with my audio only podcast since it not only takes up some of my time and energy to convert and upload, it was also costing me money as I had to pay a half decent podcast hosting service. It also took away potential revenue from me since anyone listening to the audio only podcast wasn’t watching the video version on Youtube… which is where I actually make my living. So having the audio only podcast was kicking me in the balls 3 different, yet equally painful ways.

I’ve done a lot of investigation into how to generate revenue with podcasts, and all of them seemed to be better suited for people who only needed $10/month, or had a REALLY large audience. My audio only podcast was getting around 5k-7k listeners per day, which really is a small amount compared to the numbers needed to actually do anything.

So a number of weeks ago I decided it was irresponsible of me to continue to put out the audio only version of the podcast. Therefore I was going to shut it down. UNTIL…

A bunch of my viewers had been telling me for months (some of them for years) that I should be using Patreon as a way for my viewers who appreciate my content to contribute to its production. I finally decided to try it and it’s been going great so far. I then thought that since my Patreon supporters were actually contributing finances to the cause, I could provide the audio only version to them as an option.

So yes, the audio only version of the daily The John Campea Podcast is still around. However, it’s only around for my Patreon supporters who actually make it financially possible for me to do it.

Please note, I didn’t kill the audio only version of the podcast so I could make it exclusive to my Patreon supporters. I was already going to kill it because it was costing me too much in terms of time, money and viewers. There was just no upside to me continuing it. It was great when I was doing it as a hobby, but now I have to earn a living from it so I had to be a lot more diligent about where my time, money and energy were going.

I hope you all understand the need I had to make that decision. For those of you who aren’t supporters on Patreon, you are still able to rip your own audio only version of the podcast using online Youtube download services with my complete blessing if you wish for your own personal use.

If you’re interested in becoming one of my Patreon supporters (yay!) and get my audio only version of the podcast (among other perks) please visit www.patreon.com/johncampea to find out more. Thank you for your understanding and support! Cheers!

~John

Next Chapter

Ok, I’m not going to talk about this on video or make any sort of grand announcement because I did that once already. But I did want to give those of you who follow me on social media the heads up that I have given my 2 weeks notice to Complex and that I’m leaving Collider Video. Since I took 2 weeks vacation time when my friend died on Friday, that means you won’t be seeing me back on Collider (except for some stuff I pre-recorded and any guest or freelance stuff I do with them in the future).

Here’s the thing, the death of my buddy this week affected me far more profoundly than I anticipated. His passing made me realize 2 things:

1) Life is far too short to allow yourself to be unhappy

2) I have been unhappy at Collider for a while

Now, before anyone reads too much into that last statement, I love the people at Complex and Collider. As a matter of fact, I was just texting back and forth with my (former) boss last night about how bad Transformers 5 is. We get along great. He’s moving to Los Angeles and we’re probably going to hang out a lot. The SVP of Complex was on the phone with me yesterday asking if there was any way I’d reconsider. They, and the team I’ve built over the years, are all amazing and I hold them all in high regard and respect them greatly. I’ll probably still do some random things with them in the future.

However, the direction the operation was heading in, as well as some key decisions that were being made, I’ve disagreed with strongly and have made me very uncomfortable. Not to say that I’m right to disagree nor that they’re wrong. Not at all. Right or wrong doesn’t come into it. But as I told my (former) boss, if I stayed I was just going to continue being frustrated and unhappy and maybe become an obstruction to what he wants to do with Collider. Neither of those are good scenarios for anyone. I want to be happy, and I want my boss to succeed because he and all the folks at Collider are awesome.

Life is too short to allow yourself to be unhappy.

It’s also important to know that I’m not leaving for something else. I don’t have anything lined up yet. I have some standing offers from places and I’m sure I’ll get others.

One thing I’m absolutely going to do regardless of any other jobs I take in the future is to get my own YouTube channel properly back up and running. I realized a long time ago that I’ve never been happier than when I was just running my old site The Movie Blog. My own site. My own property. My own thing. I love doing stuff on my own channel and I’m absolutely going to be doing a lot more there moving forward. I hope you’ll join me.

Life is too short to allow yourself to be unhappy.

So please, let’s not make a big deal out of this. I specifically asked Collider NOT to make any sort of announcement. I want the focus at Collider Video to be on the people who are still there doing great stuff every day. Not on me leaving.

So you might be asking yourself “why tell us this then?”. Well, because I couldn’t think of a way to ask you guys to start tuning into my YouTube channel more without telling you what was going on. Trust me, I wish I could have just disappeared and never mentioned it, but I didn’t see any realistic way of doing that.

Lastly, please do 2 things:

1) Continue to watch and support the team at Collider Video. You’ll never have any idea how much they bust their asses over there to give you the best content they can.

2) Please consider watching and supporting me too! Subscribe to my YouTube channel, youtube.com/johncampea and make sure you’re following me on facebook and twitter @johncampea. I’ll update you immediately if and when I decide to take another gig.

Thank you.

My Old Transformers 2 Review

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Eight years ago I made a video review of Transformers 2. In the video I expressed how outraged and offended I was over the blatant racism and use of overtly negative black racial stereotypes. I was beside myself. Granted, I may have been especially sensitive to the subject matter since my girlfriend of almost a year at the time just happened to be black. The twin autobots in the film were the embodiment of every negative and poisonous black youth stereotype you could muster including them being illiterate (no seriously, robots that couldn’t read) and a lack of intelligence. In the video I juxtaposed the positive portrayal of Jazz in the first film to highlight how offensive these characters were. instead of making these characters strong positive characters like Jazz, I said in the video they opted to portray them as “hood niggas” to highlight just how offensive those characters are. I refused to sugarcoat what I felt the movie did. I was angry. I used extremely ugly language to properly call out and label an extremely ugly situation the movie created with those characters.

That was 8 years ago and it seems everyone who watched my ENTIRE review understood it perfectly. However, this weekend, 8 years later, someone took that video and selectively picked out the 3 SECONDS where I used the phrase “hood niggas” while editing out all of the context of the video. Clearly the person had an agenda. They made their own 3-second video, of a review I did 8 years ago, obviously in an attempt to make it appear like I was saying something I was clearly saying the opposite of. It sickens me that I even have to write this “explanation”, but that’s the nature of trolls online today. I encourage you to watch the full true context of this nonsense, please view my full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvYgzfhwEfI

My objective was not to offend anyone, but rather to share my outrage with others and communicate just how offended I was as an individual over the reckless and heinous use of negative black stereotypes. The reason my review is still online today is because everyone who saw it viewed it in context and understood it as such. In 8 years I never received any complaints from anyone misunderstanding my point. I never heard from any viewers expressing they were offended or hurt by my use of the phrase in context. If anyone had, I would have removed the video EIGHT YEARS AGO. But now, when a bunch of people see it for the first time out of context in a 3 second selectively edited video, it becomes a different beast (and to some degree that’s understandable). Obviously, I feel terrible and am deeply sorry if anyone took offense or felt hurt by my choice of words. I hope in context it at least is clear that my intent was to express outrage over what I considered to be an unacceptable portrayal of an entire people group.

I know the trolls that create these sorts of things are just trying to get a reaction, and it sucks that they’ve succeeded in getting me to respond. It especially bothers me that I have to deal with these trolls the day after my friend died, and instead of being on the phone with my friends back home grieving, I’m having to deal with this. Terrible day.

**UPDATE** Apparently the post with the 3 second video has been deleted by the person who put it up. Ummm… thank you???

Why You Shouldn’t Believe Ben Affleck’s Statement Re: Not Directing Batman

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To some it came as a complete shock and surprise. To others, who had been paying attention to the events, odd statements, mixed signals and contradictory positions not as much so. Either way it shook the entertainment world this past weekend when Ben Affleck announced that he was stepping down as the director for the upcoming Batman stand alone film. His statement was very diplomatic, professional… and complete fiction. Here’s his statement:

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”

Diplomatic. Professional. Complete fiction that isn’t to be believed.

Before I venture into why no self-respecting film fan should buy into this well meant, although completely deceptive statement, let me say that this was nonetheless absolutely the appropriate statement to make. Regardless of how messy, heated or conflict muddled the true situation between Ben Affleck and his vision for the Batman film and Warner Bros had become, it would serve no one’s best interests to air the grievances. No party here stood to gain anything by throwing the other under the proverbial bus or engaging in any sort of public “he said/she said” quarrel, especially since they are both stuck working together (more on that later). The professional thing to do here was to draft a statement singing the praises of each other and that’s what they did. That’s also what they should have done notwithstanding that it’s a complete lie.

So why am I and others completely convinced that this statement is nothing more than a PR charade masking a much deeper problem? Well there are several reasons:

1) A GROWING LIST OF DYSFUNCTION AT DC
One could look much more innocently at the directorial departure of Ben Affleck as nothing more than the face value of his statement had this been the first “break up” between WB/DC and one of its filmmakers in recent months. However, Affleck’s departure is just the latest in an ever increasing pattern. From FLASH recently discarding their script (yet again) for a full page 1 rewrite, to WONDER WOMAN director Michelle MacLaren leaving the project over “creative differences”, to FLASH going through 2 on record directors (and a third unofficially as it was strongly reported that LEGO MOVIE’s Lord and Miller were tapped to direct the project before departing the project) and still to this day is without a director after parting ways with Rick Famuyiwa. The list astoundingly does go on. A DC movie disruption of one sort or another has become a weekly headline and occurrence. To see the Affleck departure outside of that light would be neglectful at best.

2) DID BEN LIE TWO WEEKS AGO OR NOW?
Amidst speculation and reports that the relationship between Affleck and WB was souring (I’ll go more into that in a moment), Affleck took to the stage on Jimmy Kimmel roughly 2 weeks ago to “set the record straight”. Kimmel directly asked Affleck: “Are you directing the next Batman”? To which Affleck firmly replied: “I’m gonna direct the next Batman we’re working on it now”. It was clearly set up intentionally. Affleck and WB wanted to dispel the reports and rumors that had started swirling that he may be looking to get out of directing Batman. It was a strategic move to quell the rumors and keep fans confident in the project. With such a calculated and definitive statement made just mere weeks ago, are we actually to believe that Affleck, who has already taken on the dual role of director and actor in 3 films, one of which winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards, now suddenly just days later had a complete reversal of philosophy or confidence? Why was he still firmly confident in his ability and desire to direct Batman just weeks ago, and then suddenly convinced he was incapable of competently doing it now? These are realizations that happen over the span of years, not days.

3) IT WAS CLEAR HE WAS BECOMING UNHAPPY
It wasn’t that long ago that Affleck was speaking enthusiastically about the status of his project. He seemed excited. So much so that he actually revealed to the world that he was so far along in the process that he had selected actor Joe Manganiello to play his villain Deathstroke and had even conducted some concept screen tests which he shared with the public. However, that projection of enthusiasm and excitement ended. Near the beginning of this new year Ben gave us our first look at things falling apart in paradise. When asked if he was still directing Batman, Affleck famously responded:

It’s not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it,”

Not a set thing? No script? Not coming together? Affleck was the writer. He had seemed highly motivated and at least gave the impression that the script was more than just “coming together”. It was clear that there was something bigger happening under the surface. Speculation began that certain WB execs had begun meddling, essentially derailing Affleck and stymying his creative process. The Jimmy Kimmel appearance and statement was in direct response to these rumors, and as I mentioned above, that statement now has to be drawn into serious question.

4) SINCE WHEN CAN AFFLECK NOT ACT AND DIRECT THE SAME MOVIE?
One of the most obvious fabrications of the Affleck/WB statement is the supposed claim that Ben had decided that he could not properly act in and direct a Batman film at the same time. In the 2012 film ARGO, Ben both acted and directed… and it could be argued that it was both Ben’s finest work as an actor AND his finest work as a director. The film went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Ben went on to receive the Best Director award from the Director’s Guild Of America, The Critic’s Choice Awards and the Golden Globes.

Some may want to say that the pressure of directing a Batman film would be different. I could accept that logic had it not been for the fact that Ben has already been dealing with that pressure for over 3 years now ever since it was announced he was playing Batman. He went through shooting 2 movies as Batman (Batman V Superman and the first Justice League which is long since wrapped). Ben Affleck did not just suddenly “realize” that there would be great pressure in doing a Batman movie. Not in just the last 2 weeks. He has been living it and dealing with it and acclimating himself to it for years already. If Ben Affleck was going to suddenly drop out of directing a Batman film because he realized it was going to be too much to handle, he would have done it while shooting Justice League, or BVS, or early in the stages of shooting LIVE BY NIGHT. Again, I have to go back to the statement he made just a few short weeks ago. Just WEEKS ago. “I’m gonna direct the next Batman”.

Are we to believe that he went through the hellish internet backlash upon the announcement that he was our new Batman, that he went through seeing the rigors firsthand shooting Batman V Superman and how much difficulty there would be in directing it, that he went through the entire production of JUSTICE LEAGUE and still felt completely confident that he could act in AND direct the Batman movie enough to say on national television “I’m gonna direct Batman” only to then have a total change of heart on the issue just 2 short weeks later? The thought is utterly absurd to anyone with an ounce of common sense.

5) AFFLECK IS OBLIGATED TO CONTINUE TO PLAY BATMAN
Some try to lend credibility to the statement by saying “If Ben was unhappy or if there was trouble, why would he still stay on to play Batman”? The answer is a simple one. Affleck would actually have no choice in the matter. He is contractually obligated to play Batman for however many more films remain on his deal. It would be a crippling PR disaster for WB/DC to let Affleck walk. Affleck as Batman was one of the few elements of Batman V Sueprman that most people agreed was a strong point of the film. To allow Affleck to walk out of his deal would not only crush the already fragile public perception of the DC Cinematic Universe, but also hurt them creatively as Affleck’s Batman is needed to carry the franchise. This leaves Ben in the position that he would have no choice but to act professionally, continue to do his job as an actor, and help the company save face by co-signing the drafted statement. To fail to do so would not only put Affleck in a precarious position legally with WB, but also damage his reputation with other studios who may think twice about working with him again were he to throw another employer under that proverbial bus we talked about earlier.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

The statement Affleck and WB released makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and doesn’t stand up to the slightest tests of logic or critical thinking. So what really did happen? What is the real reason Ben Affleck is no longer the director of the upcoming Batman film? There are a lot of possibilities. Endless possibilities actually. Anything I list here would just be scratching the surface of what is possible. The only thing I feel very confident in is that the statement in question is not the truth. There are large systemic problems at WB/DC in terms of how they are handling their DC Cinematic Universe and I fear the enormity of Ben Affleck stepping down as the director of Batman is just the tip of the iceberg.

How To Get Your Question Or Topic On Mail Bag

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The amount of mail we get has always been insane, so getting a question asked on the Mail Bag segment of Movie Talk, or on the Mail Bag show itself, has been challenging to say the least. Is there any way to guarantee you’ll get your question/topic asked on one of the shows? No. However, there are some things you can do to give yourself a better chance. Here are some pointers:

  1. Keep your email SHORT. Nothing makes us close an email faster than when we open it up and see someone has written a short novel. Seriously, instant delete. Think of it this way, if you can fit your question into a tweet you’re on the right path. It doesn’t HAVE to be that short, but that should be your target.
  2. Don’t ask something Star Wars or Comic-Book movie related. We obviously take Star Wars and Comic-Book movie questions, but about 80% of the questions we get are about those which leaves us scrambling a bit to find other questions too. So if you submit a question about something else, you’re only competing with 20% of the other questions instead of competing against the 80%. Much better chances.
  3. Don’t ask something that would give away a spoiler either in the question itself or in the answer. We pass on those instantly.
  4. Don’t ask about something really obscure. If you ask a question about a movie or property most people haven’t heard of, it’s unlikely we’ll answer it since it would immediately leave out most of our audience.
  5. Never ask a question that includes us making a list. I.E. “What’s your top 7…”

Again, following these guidelines won’t guarantee you get your email read, but it does give you a fighting chance. Hope this was helpful! And remember, email us at collidervideo@gmail.com

Looking To Hire Line Producer For Collider Video

financeAs we continue to grow over here at Collider Video, more needs arise including the need for sharp, detailed oriented person to help us determine the costs and budgets for upcoming projects as well as track and manage the finances of our existing productions. Basically, we need a studio Line Producer. This vital role will be working alongside our senior management team to ensure all of our creative efforts can run smoothly and on budget.

LINE PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:

  • Developing budgets for upcoming and proposed projects
  • Keep track of expenses of existing and ongoing projects
  • Work with  Programming Coordinator and Production Manager to keep  track of  all  freelancer talent expenses
  • Work with  Programming Coordinator and Production Manager to track staff expenses and reimbursements
  • Work with  Complex Head Office personnel to ensure all  proper finance and expense procedures are followed correctly

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:

  • Fluent in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets
  • Experience in working with production budgets
  • Dedicated to the principles of teamwork
  • Able to take direction
  • Familiarity with Movie Magic budgeting software
  • Lives in the Los Angeles area. Office is in Burbank (not flexible on this)

The successful candidate will be a full-time staff member with a salary starting at $50k/year along with benefits.

If interested please send along a resume to john.campea@collider.com. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Thanks!