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“I See Your Gaslight & Now Will Raise You a Scorched Earth”: Read Amber Tamblyn’s Open Letter to “Predatory” James Woods

Last week, actor James Woods once again took to Twitter to be a horrible piece of garbage. This time, it started with a tweet about the movie (based on the novel) Call Me By Your Name, about an affair between a 24-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, both Americans living in Italy. Despite the fact that the age of consent in Italy is 14, this is still uncomfortable for a lot of American audiences, and there is a valid, worthwhile conversation that could be had about power dynamics and moral gray areas. But James Woods’ tweet wasn’t about that. It was about him being homophobic garbage.

That reference to “they,” along with the North American Man/Boy Love Association hashtag makes it clear James Woods doesn’t give a crap about protecting anyone. He just wants to push his homophobic hate.

In an A+ response tweet, Armie Hammer (who plays the 24-year-old in question) pointed out that Woods maybe shouldn’t throw stones, what with living in a fragile house made of hypocrisy.

Yes, yes he did. He also began dating a 20-year-old when he was 66. But those are still legal relationships. Amber Tamblyn, though, popped in to add her story.

James Woods responded that the story was a lie, so Tamblyn turned to the aforementioned friend.

And she wasn’t the only woman to share this kind of story about James Woods.

Now Amber Tamblyn has published an open letter to Woods on Teen Vogue, in the hopes that he can recognize this for the “teachable moment” it is.

The hope being that through this experience, you can change. You can redefine the man who will come after this moment and this man who came before.

Since you’ve now called me a liar, I will now call you a silencer. I see your gaslight and now will raise you a scorched earth.

Tamblyn recalls the night she and her friend met Woods and his friend outside a Mel’s Diner in Los Angeles. At that point, she was a 16-year-old, little-known actress.

At one point you suggested we should all go to Las Vegas together. “It’s such a great place, have you ever been?” You tried to make it sound innocent. This is something predatory men like to do, I’ve noticed. Make it sound innocent. Just a dollop of insinuation. Just a hair of persuasion. Just a pinch of suggestion.

Again, Tamblyn wasn’t any sort of known name then. She’d done a few seasons of General Hospital and that was about it. He probably didn’t think he was risking much by hitting on her. And she says she’s “going to wager that there have been many girls who were just girls or women who were just women who you’ve done this to because you can get away with it.”

The saddest part of this story doesn’t even concern me but concerns the universal woman’s story. The nation’s harmful narrative of disbelieving women first, above all else. Asking them to first corroborate or first give proof or first make sure we’re not misremembering or first consider the consequences of speaking out or first let men give their side or first just let your sanity come last.

This isn’t the first time Tamblyn has shared an intimate story to boost a larger conversation about all the ways we devalue and prey on women. Back in October of 2016, right after Trump’s disgusting “grab ’em by the pussy” comments were leaked, she posted a painfully personal story of her own assault on Instagram. Our society has a problem with the way it views women. It’s a problem Tamblyn has proven she’s not afraid to confront head-on, and one to which James Woods is contributing in a big and public way.

Only you and your darkness know who you are. Only you and your actions know what you’ve done. That means you and only you have the power to change your behavior.

Are you and your history with women and girls a part of the problem, Mr. Woods?

Go now and look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is true. Go on, I’ll wait. But I won’t hold my breath.

No, none of us should probably hold our breath waiting for James Woods to come to terms with his homophobia or misogyny. But that doesn’t mean Tamblyn’s letter isn’t important. There will always be men like James Woods, unafraid to yell their aggressive mediocrity from every platform available to them. But there will also always be voices yelling back, refusing to let the predators and the aggressors go unchallenged, while letting other women know that they’re seen, and they’re valued.

You can read Tamblyn’s full letter at Teen Vogue.

(image: Shutterstock)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.