‘Friends’ star, now rape victim advocate, rips celeb culture: ‘everything they do is about sex’
NEW YORK, July 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - David Schwimmer would like you to get to know the real David a little better.
Schwimmer’s memorable face is usually recognized only as that of Ross Geller from the hit TV series ‘Friends,’ the role that made him one of the highest-paid sitcom actors in history. Now the 44-year-old actor and director is using his talent for much more: opposing the sexualizing of young girls in pop culture, something he laments has gotten “much worse” in recent decades.
Celia Walden of British newspaper The Telegraph sat down with Schwimmer to hear his reflections on how the sex-saturated Hollywood business atmosphere preys upon young girls and encourages the mindset of rapists.
“Sex sells and unfortunately there’s this inbuilt hypocrisy in our society: we’re always talking about how inappropriate it is to see an older man with a very young girl but at the same time all our advertising is based on that,” he said.
“Plus, both here and in the UK, we have this real emphasis on how important it is to look young and sexual, so that’s the message we’re sending our girls. Look at the biggest pop stars around at the moment: everything they do is about sex.”
The actor recalled times in his life - what he called “dark periods” - where he found himself “complicit in the whole celebrity thing – even though it was something I always resisted and still do resist.” “So I would go home with someone that I didn’t give a s—- about and, well, I took those moments pretty hard.”
Otherwise, Schwimmer’s relationship history is a rarity in Hollywood: his booming ‘Friends’ career made “meeting women of substance” increasingly difficult, he said, and so he remained a bachelor until he married British photographer Zoe Buckman in June 2010. His wife gave birth to their daughter Cleo about a month ago.
Now that he has shunned the Hollywood lifestyle, Schwimmer has dedicated himself to helping its forgotten victims. He says his relationship with two women, both child sexual abuse victims and one a later date-rape victim, “sensitised” him to the issue of rape. This led him to take a position as a director with the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Centre in Los Angeles.
But Schwimmer’s activism doesn’t end with volunteering his spare time.
Recently, Schwimmer finished directing a film, “Trust,” the plot of which takes a hard look at the price of a culture’s lost innocence: it portrays the gradual Internet seduction and rape of a 14-year-old girl whose unwitting father, in a bitter twist of irony, is working on a seductive advertising campaign at the time.
Obviously, filming the story of a young girl’s rape could have proven counterproductive - but the director said he went to great lengths to protect the young actress, filming “tastefully and respectfully with regards to her and her body,” and even leaving the set until the last day of a month-long shoot to guard the girl’s privacy.
Schwimmer says he was tempted to play the lead role himself to prove that rapists are “not always the greasy-haired guy living alone with mum.” “I thought it might work well because I wanted to show that these guys are often our neighbours, our religious leaders, our family and our friends,” he said. “But ultimately I decided that it might hurt the film.”
Trust is due to appear in theaters July 8.
Now a happy husband and father, Schwimmer also reflected on how his baby daughter managed to change his perspective even further, adding “a whole new dimension to my life.” “I was much more in touch with that innocence before celebrity and it’s wonderful to have it back,” he said.
But with his new love comes no small challenge.
“With what’s going on Internet-wise it’s going to be a different ball game when my daughter grows up,” he said, wincing. “Like every parent, I just want to protect her from what’s out there.”