Not Safe For Work: Author of the viral essay 'My boyfriend, a writer, broke up with me because I am a writer'

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Not Safe For Work: Author of the viral essay 'My boyfriend, a writer, broke up with me because I am a writer'

Not Safe For Work: Author of the viral essay 'My boyfriend, a writer, broke up with me because I am a writer'

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Maybe that’s the fun of it – sitting on the couch, internally/externally willing someone to spot the creep(s). We urgently need to develop avenues for conversations about all the behaviour that lives in this grey space.

He ended up leaving that production company shortly thereafter, so I didn’t feel compelled to engage in further communication. When someone senior tells you how pretty you look, you smile and thank him - and make a mental note never to wear that dress alone with him again. You know, the kind of uncle who spends a little too much time with the young women and gives goodbye kisses that land too close to the mouth.I remember being 23, anxiously navigating halls where executives didn’t look me in the eye, holding the muted phone to my ear, thinking: if I have the opportunity to speak, I hope I make the most of it. I thought the project had a lot of promise and wanted to see if there was anything I could do to push it forward. If I thank him for his congratulations and leave it at that, am I demonstrating complicity, failing to practice what I preach? Will I try to convince myself that if they are interested in supporting a critique of Hollywood, the ends will justify the means? I left my job at the TV network to go to graduate school, during which time I wrote a novel about a Hollywood assistant and the slippery slope of complicity.

Despite (or, more accurately, because of) its gritty, often raw depiction of a shocking reality for so many women, Not Safe for Work pulled me in. I also knew he had passed on projects I advocated for because of their “narrow” focus on mostly women. When I started the job, one of the projects represented by my agency was under option with a production company where I knew a senior executive.I wanted to know what the characters were feeling and what their next move was going to be and I think that was done really well. I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed with the open ending but hopefully it means that there may be more to come as I would love to read more about these characters and their lives. So when you land a job in television, you're ready for anything: pulling all-nighters, leaning on your powerful mother's contacts, keeping your boss happy whatever - and whoever - the cost. Isabel Kaplan’s forthcoming debut novel, Not Safe For Work, follows an ambitious young woman trying to succeed in the entertainment industry without selling her soul.

I thought it was important that even characters that were very in touch what what was acceptable or not fell into that trap. Quickly becoming embroiled in the day to day discussions, power struggles and gossip in her office, she meets a pretty astonishing array of dreadful people, classic LA/Hollywood characters. I’m not sure if asking them out loud is useful, but it’s a start, and it feels more productive than silence. To climb the ranks, you do whatever it takes:- Pull all-nighters – Lean on your powerful mother’s contacts – Stay in shape at cult-like fitness classes – Secretly wear your boss’s fitbit to improve his stepcount – and his temper. Rumours start to circulate around the office that there are sexual predators working amongst them and the realisation sets in that there is a lot to lose by speaking out and plenty to gain by staying quiet.I hadn’t spoken to him in years; he knew me when I was an assistant, and he was a very important executive. Here, the former Hollywood assistant and current director of book-to-film development at a literary agency reflects on the horrifying behaviour she witnessed as a twentysomething – and how little has actually changed in the five years since the Harvey Weinstein scandal. behind the glitter and the justice, everyone is tarnished and compromised - including even our narrator. It is now, perversely, easier to handle and respond to a boss who grabs your ass than one who has never laid a hand on you or done anything That Bad but just continuously undervalues you and forces you to pretzel yourself into a very specific socially acceptable shape and gradually over time you find yourself full of self-loathing and despair and the most confusing part about it is you don’t think you have the right to feel this bad or complain because no single thing that happened to you was So Terrible and haven’t you heard, there are starving kids in Africa and actresses whose lives were destroyed by Harvey Weinstein? My plan was to work my way into the halls of power and then fling the doors open wide for those who had been excluded.



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