Andrew Goldman, for those of who who don’t read The New York Times Magazine, is the same interviewer who asked Whitney Cummings about jokes she slept her way to the top, whether Chelsea Handler’s ex-boyfriend is the reason she got Chelsea Lately, and snarky comments by Norm Macdonald that she’s just a pretty girl who swears a lot. So we should not be surprised that he brought the same boorishness masked as intrepid journalism to an interview with Tippi Hedren about the new HBO film The Girl, which details how The Birds director Alfred Hitchcock sexually harassed her and stunted her career.
Goldman start first described the harassment Hedren suffered under Hitchcock — unwanted physical advances, blackmail for sex — and asks her to explain why he behaved this way.
He was a misogynist. That man was physically so unattractive. I think to have a mind that thought of himself as an attractive, romantic man and then to wake up in the morning and look at that face and that body was tough. I think he had a whole lot of problems.
Now. This would have been a good point to ask more about the misogyny. Or the problems Hitchcock had. Or probe more deeply into sexual harassment of actresses in Hollywood.
But no. Instead Goldman remarks, "The film made me ponder the expression “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Is there any satisfaction in exacting revenge on a man who has been dead 32 years? " (Emphasis mine) Of course the only reason a woman go public with a story about one of the most famous filmmakers in the world ruined her career is "revenge." It’s just spitefulness!
Hedren’s response is kinder than mine would have been, both to Hitchcock and to her interviewer:
Well, I don’t know that I’ve gotten any revenge on him. Maybe this movie is a bit. But I’m not the first one this happened to. Other actresses never made any overt statements about it. What he did with his life is astounding. There is no one in this world that did films like he did. Nobody.
The interview continues and Tippi Hedren talks about a conversation she had with Hitchcock’s wife and attending his funeral. She gets testy with him at the end over, of all things, a comment about the jungle cats she had living at her home which attacked her daughter Melanie Griffith. (Don’t ask.) The whole Q&A felt tense.
To be clear, I don’t think Tippi Hedren is too precious that she can’t answer questions about Alfred Hitchcock’s abuse. She’s a grown woman and she’s speaking out publicly about it. But I do think any woman who comes forward about abuse — and Hedren has clearly suffered greatly by it, not the least of which in her career — deserves to be treated with more respect than the suggestion she’s seeking "revenge" by sharing her story. She’s not the one who did something wrong here; Hitchcock did. That’s sexism.
Of course, Andrew Goldman won’t be the first person to cover this in a sexist way; the peanut gallery will be filled with hisses and boos that Tippi Hedren shouldn’t tarnish the reputation of a dead man. I’ve seen plenty of anonymous blog comments that basically say that. I just don’t know why The New York Times Magazine would stoop to the level of anonymous blog commentors.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.