LIFESTYLE
22/12/2017 02:33 SAST | Updated 22/12/2017 02:33 SAST

Rotten Apples Will Tell You If An Alleged Abuser Worked On Your Favourite Movie

It's a database of movies and shows linked with sexual assault reports.

While the list of people involved in Hollywood's sexual misconduct scandal grows every day, some wonder if there's any media left that's been untouched by the large shadow these allegations cast.

Well, now there's a website for people who want to find out.

Rotten Apples is a database of movies and television shows that lists whether any cast member, screenwriter, executive producer or director involved in the project has been accused of sexual assault by a credible source.

Rotten Apples

The website, which went live on Dec. 11, lets users type in the name of a movie or show and will tell them whether that piece of media is "fresh apples" or "rotten apples." If something is rotten, the names of the accused will appear with a link to a source for the misconduct allegation.

HuffPost Canada talked to one of the website's co-creators, Torontonian Tal Wagman, about what inspired him and three of his colleagues at Zambezi, the California advertising agency he works at, to come up with Rotten Apples.

The four of them were discussing the Weinstein scandal and the slew of subsequent allegations when someone suggested the idea.

Tal Wagman
The team behind Rotten Apples: Bekah Nutt, Tal Wagman, Annie Johnston and Justice Erolin.

"One of us was like, 'It would be pretty cool if there was a simple tool like IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes that made it easy for people to see if a film or television show that they're into has a person implicated in ... one of the many scandals of sexual misconduct,'" Wagman said.

They decided that making the website was plausible and committed to it, working for two months around their full-time jobs to get the database online.

Individuals are only added if the allegations against them can be linked to a reputable source. For example: while allegations against actors Ben Affleck and Jared Leto have circulated on social media, only Affleck is listed as a "rotten apple" because none of the accusations about Leto have been investigated or corroborated by a third party.

In October, Affleck apologized to former MTV host Hilarie Burton, who said Affleck groped her in 2003 while filming an episode of "Total Request Live."

Rotten Apples

"The allegation has to be linked to a third party reputable source, just something that is considered mainstream media and not 'fake news' or a blog. If they're reporting ... it has to have an actual allegation coming from an accuser so somebody has been brave enough to come forward and say this happened," Wagman explained.

Rotten Apples does include allegations by anonymous sources as long as they are also linked to a third party, he added.

"These aren't our opinions on these things ... We're just helping people connect the dots."

The website also includes a form so people can write to the team if they think someone is missing from the database or was listed by mistake.

Rotten Apples is constantly being updated as new allegations emerge. Comedian T.J. Miller was only accused of assault on Tuesday, but his projects, like "Silicon Valley" and the "How To Train Your Dragon," were listed as rotten the same day.

Rotten Apples

Wagman says he doesn't want people to think he and the other Rotten Apples creators want people to boycott films or shows over accusations. He just wants people to know what allegations are out there so they can make informed decisions and consume media that is associated with accused abusers with a new lens.

"There's a lot of people who work on these things and their livelihoods depend on it so trying to tell people what to do with their eyeballs and money is not something that we're interested in doing and we definitely don't want to affect people who aren't the 'rotten apples.'"

Wagman said feedback for the website has been mostly positive, but people in Hollywood still seem reluctant to have an opinion on it because they're still tied to so many accused people.

"We're pretty happy because a lot of conversation has been sparked from it so I think that's a very good thing," he said.

We definitely don't want to affect people who aren't the 'rotten apples.'

His own response to all the allegations is constantly evolving, Wagman said. He added that he picks what he still wants to watch on a case-by-case basis depending on the content. With something like Louis C.K.'s dropped film "I Love You, Daddy," he said he felt apprehensive about it because the content was so similar to many of the allegations against him.

"I think that would be pretty difficult to watch especially given ... the content. Definitely, I would have trepidation watching that."

When asked if he was worried about stepping on any toes as a man dealing with the sexual misconduct scandal, Wagman said creating the website fell in line with his own values about the situation.

"It clearly is time for men to start behaving better and if we can nudge it ever so slightly in the right direction, I think we're doing a good thing."

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