The term “casting couch” refers to the demand of sexual favors by an employer or person in a position of power and authority from an employee or subordinate, in return for career advancement.
The popular assumption is that the term originated in Hollywood where aspiring actresses had to trade sexual favors in order to win roles.
But the casting-couch tradition actually originated in theatrical productions on Broadway well before the Hollywood film industry. It was the Shubert brothers who helped establish Broadway’s theater district in the first two decades of the 20th century, who “invented” the casting couch. Lee Shubert, the eldest of the three, kept “an elegantly furnished boudoir, reserved for leading ladies and promising ingenues, and a shabby, spartanly furnished room with a single couch where he met chorus girls and soubrettes.” Dancer Agnes de Mille recalled, “If you didn’t sleep with them you didn’t get the part. The Shuberts ran a brothel: Let them sue me.” (The Atlantic)
Not just actresses, but actors, too, are given the casting couch treatment.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Ian McKellen, 78, an openly “gay” actor best known for playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, went against the #MeToo crowd who portray actresses as innocent victims of Weinstein and other sexual predators.
On December 6, 2017, during his Oxford Union Address, responding to a question from an audience member who asked him to speak on recent allegations of sexual assault and misconduct that have brought down many prominent Hollywood stars, McKellen said:
“People taking advantage of their power is absolutely reprehensible, wherever it happens. People must be called out and it’s sometimes very difficult for victims to do that. I hope we’re going through a period that will help to eradicate it altogether.
But from my own experience, when I was starting acting in the early 1960s, the director of the theatre I was working at showed me some photographs he got from women who were wanting [acting] jobs. And some of them – I think these were the initials – some of them had at the bottom of their photograph ‘DRR’: directors’ rights respected. In other words, if you give me a job, you can have sex with me. That was commonplace from people who proposed that they should be a victim. Madness!
I assume nothing but good will come out of these revelations, even though some people get wrongly accused — there’s that side of it as well. Honesty, honesty, honesty.”
It turns out that McKellen is neither innocent nor honest.
On December 19, 2017, in a “blind item revealed,” the Hollywood gossip site Crazy Days and Nights identified Ian McKellen as casting couching “very young men” at homosexual pedophile director Bryan Singer’s infamous underage “twink” pool parties, described by an attendee as wild nights of no clothes and lots of alcohol:
Thought it was pretty interesting that this foreign born B+ list mostly movie actor who is an Academy Award winner/nominee, aging and openly gay was talking about the casting couch when he has personally casting couched lots of very young men at parties hosted by that A list director.
Ian McKellen/Bryan Singer
Among homosexuals, the word “twink” describes a uniquely disposable kind of young gay males in their teens: Hairless, guileless, witless. The term’s namesake is Twinkie, a junk food encased in shiny packaging which has a sweet taste but zero nutritional value. “Twinks” are bussed into parties, thrown into pools, put into a tiny Speedo—or no Speedo at all—and ornamentally placed around the water’s edge like living, breathing, giggling statuary. (The Daily Beast)
Crazy Days and Nights‘ blogger calls himself Ent Lawyer (Ent=Entertainment), described by The Daily Beast as having a track record of accuracy. Investigative journalist Mark Ebner said this about Ent Lawyer:
“In my opinion, that’s what makes him so impressive, is that no one knows who he is, and he’s being proven right again and again. That’s like legendary shit.”