The dramatic cultural shift in the attitudes towards sexual harassment, with people on a large scale believing women and powerful men suffering consequences for their actions, is about to reach yet another milestone — it’s getting made into an episode of Law and Order: SVU.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Law and Order: SVU executive producer Michael Chernuchin revealed that an upcoming episode of the show will tackle rape culture in the airline industry, though it will serve as a metaphor for Hollywood.
“We are hitting Harvey Weinstein head-on, but it’s not in the realm of the entertainment business,” Chernuchin said. “It’s a real important episode about the rape culture in an industry, and we wanted to try stretch the law to criminalize that sort of environment.”
Chernuchin said that the show didn’t set out to deal with Weinstein or Hollywood sexual harassment and assault, but when they started work on a similar story in a different industry, it struck them that the same problem was at the heart of it. “We were actually working on a story about airline pilots and what a boys club that is. We were beating the story out and said, ‘Wow, this is exactly what the actresses go through in Hollywood. It’s the same environment.’ So we got all of our Harvey stuff out with airline pilots.”
The fact that a TV show needs to “stretch the law” in order to “criminalize” sexual assault and harassment says a lot about why the problem was allowed to continue for so long, and how important it is that we continue to make progress on it.
The new episode is set to air in 2018.