Hollywood is a vastly different place than it was five years ago, before the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement. This week alone, Weinstein, Danny Masterson, Kevin Spacey, and Paul Haggis are all on trial facing various allegations of sexual misconduct. Next month, Universal Pictures is releasing She Said, a major film starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, the New York Times journalists who first exposed Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse. But the conversation surrounding bad behavior in the movie business—still defined by big egos and power imbalances, lewd humor and boundary-crossing—remains unfinished, particularly when it comes to #MeToo offenses that fall short of Weinstein-level sins.
That brings us to the complicated case of Bill Murray. A few years ago, the 72-year-old star was being hailed as a “secular saint,” a cross-generational icon as admired for his off-screen joie de vivre as for his unexpectedly satisfying career arc. Then came the April shoot for Being Mortal, the directorial debut of Aziz Ansari (himself an early controversially borderline #MeToo figure). On the set, Murray was said to have engaged in “inappropriate behavior” that caused Disney’s Searchlight unit to abruptly shut down production.
What happened, exactly? Well, nobody revealed that, not even to the crew on the film. Without going into details, Murray told a CNBC interviewer, “I did something I thought was funny, and it wasn’t taken that way… The world’s different than it was when I was a little kid.”