When does it stop being cool and start being sexual predation?

In this thread WILLASS tells the tale of getting his bum grabbed at a party by Ian McKellen. The grabber makes this sound cool, though WILLASS is straight and might have reacted more negatively had it been any other 64-yr-old man groping him.

So, where is the line between a cool event and an attack? Do we give celebrities greater leeway than the dirty old man down the street? Why?

Depends on whether the recipient enjoyed it or not, I’d guess.


Because we’re stupid.

But how does the grabber KNOW the recipient will enjoy it? Are movie stars so egocentric as to be unable to conceive that somebody might not welcome their attentions? Okay, the answer to that is pretty obvious.

I have a friend who was an actor on a hit TV show as a kid, but he got so tired of being groped and squeezed by directors and casting directors in his teens that he finally withdrew from acting entirely. Now he designs computer games and is a kneejerk homophobe.

My friend Fil has a lifelong regret now that he passed up the opportunity to headbutt Michael Ondaatje, after Ondaatje made a very obvious pass at his wife. His wife was too flattered to allow it to happen.

[For the Canada-impaired: Ondaatje is a prominent Canadian author who treats book and lecture tours as a snarf-market.]

I have had my ass grabbed by at least 10 gay men in my lifetime only one of whom was famous and to be honest I didn’t mind any of the times (I found it quite flattering to be fair) but I think its the manner that something is done that depends on the response. I didn’t perceive it to be anything but playful in each case, but had any of them (including Sir Ian) say, stuck his hand down my pants I would have been outraged. On the other hand I think people are much more apt to allow celebrities greater liberties in almost all aspects of their lives, probabley because people feel like they know them due to how recognisable they are (obviousley depends how famous you are) so are more inclined to let them off the hook for acts whish would elicit a punch in the face if perpetrated by some random member of the public.

See? Ondaatje (I love cutting and pasting!) crossed the line with Fil but not his wife but had he been an unknown Canadian author who lives in a shack on Hudson’s Bay she might not have reacted the same way.

(The whole thing has me confused. Should I be offended as a “matter of principle,” as if I HAD any principles, or jealous of the famous who can get away with anything?)

More thoughts on all this, please. I realize that this isn’t turning out to be much of a debate and I have to justify not having put it in IMHO.

Very good point! on the one hand I’ve heard celebs complain that the public treats them like they know them already but on the other hand they are happy to take advantage of it.

BTW, that must be some butt you got there!

And he’s still friends with you? Does he not think that all the way through?

I dunno. I’ve been hit on several times by men, and I’ve had a variety of reactions.

In a London nightclub by a very very drunk boy: it was cute and flattering. When I apologetically told him I was straight, he pantomimed tragic grief, then grinned and wandered off.
On a downtown street by a guy in a suit: repulsive and infuriating. He spoke very little English, and just said, “How much? How much?” I snarled at him, flipped him off, and he left.
In an alley in Venice: terrifying. I was sixteen or so, and the guy was much older, and followed me down the alley right behind me (like, less than a foot behind me) making kissing noises. I went into the nearest hotel, and he didn’t follow. Had I not, I’m afraid he would’ve attacked me.
At a party: pathetic and icky. The guy making the pass was, again, much older than me, and I thought he was very ugly, and he was being all sleazy (offering me free massages and leering at me). I pretended I had no idea what was happening and extricated myself from the conversation as quickly as I could. At the same time, other than being sleazy, he wasn’t doing anything at all wrong, unlike the second and third examples.

Honestly, if the first guy had grabbed my ass when he made a pass at me, it would’ve been a little weird, but I don’t think I would’ve been bothered: we were in a public space, he was behaving lightheartedly, and he stopped as soon as I made it clear it wasn’t going any where. If Mr. Massage had grabbed my ass, I would’ve been more pissed off: he continued sleazing on me after I’d started blowing him off, and that’s not okay. And Mr. Alley and Mr. How Much would’ve utterly freaked me out if they’d grabbed at me.

Don’t know if that’s helpful at all; just my experiences and reactions.


Yep, but he’s cute and has connections, so I string him along.