The 78-year-old television personality sat down for an interview with Vulture and weighed in on the #MeToo movement that has been making headlines for the last 13 months. “You know, when the #MeToo movement started, I had discussions with the staff during production meetings. I said, ‘My gosh, this has got to be a scary time for men,'” he stated.
“I’m fortunate that I’ve never been in a position of power where I might be able to lord it over somebody sexually,” Trebek continued. “I said, ‘But there are guys out there — young guys are stupid in their teens.’ There’s nothing stupider than a teenage boy. They’re operating on testosterone.”
The interviewer replied that “youth is not always an acceptable excuse” and that “young men” aren’t necessarily the only problem.
“That’s true,” Trebek agreed, before mentioning Michael Douglas and Demi Moore’s 1994 film Disclosure. “Michael Douglas’s character is explaining to his wife about the situation between himself and Demi Moore’s character, who had been his lover a long time ago. He says, ‘This was not about sex. This was about power. She was my boss. She had the power.’ That’s a very important scene.”
“This conversation has taken a turn,” the journalist said.
“You took a turn,” Trebek replied.
When asked about Hollywood gender dynamics now compared with the ’80s, Trebek said that he “was not a player” back then. “I dated not that often. … I never felt like I belonged.”
Trebek noted an interesting critique he has received as the host of a popular game show for 35 years.
“I’ve been criticized for treating women more harshly than men. I’ve also been criticized for treating women better than men,” he explained. “In fact, I remember looking in a stack of letters once and finding two: One said, ‘Boy, you fawn over women [contestants] and try to help them out.’ And the other was, ‘Boy, you’re mean to women.'”
He continued, “A viewer’s reaction is dependent on their biases in everyday life. If they think that women are put upon unfairly, they’re going to watch the program and if they see anything that they believe satisfies their bias, it becomes their reality: ‘I always suspected you were nasty and now you’ve confirmed it!’ But one reason why a host can succeed for a long time is by not offending. You saw it with Johnny Carson. He was bright enough to cover almost any potentially offensive moment with his wit. That’s one of the things, unfortunately, that we lack in politics today. There isn’t enough humor.”
As for how Trebek thinks Trump would do on his game show? “He might not agree that any of the correct responses are correct,” he said.
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