I’ve spent the best part of the last fortnight urgently trying to track down a 98-year-old former actor to ask him if he molested Judy Garland.
Garland was 16 when she starred in 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. The claim she was molested by the actors who played the munchkins comes from the actress’s late husband, Sid Luft, in a re-released book (due out in September), Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland. He reportedly writes:
“They’d make Judy’s life miserable on set by putting their hands under her dress … The men were 40 or more years old. They thought they could get away with anything because they were so small.”
Even the staunchest #MeToo applauder would, surely, agree that anyone accused of such an act deserves, at the very least, a right of reply. Especially if trial by media is to be the justice they’re served. To either apologise and attempt to atone for their acts, or to refute the allegations.
The last living munchkin
Jerry Maren, 98, is the last remaining munchkin from the Wizard of Oz and now lives in a residential home in the US. As such, he’s the last living person who can respond to or refute these allegations.
But nobody seems to have tried very hard. Journalists got distracted when, the day after the revelations, Stephen Hawking died and everyone looked the other way.
Not me. This is one of the most iconic films of all time, with one of the most enduring icons as its star. It has widely been reported how terribly a 16-year-old Judy Garland was treated by Hollywood’s studio system.
If she, too, was a victim of male predators — no matter how cute they appeared — the public has a right to know the truth.
But the public also has a right to know if Maren wants to respond to these new allegations. If he wants to refute them, he ought to be given that chance. Otherwise, when future generations Google them, this story will forever tarnish their name.
And Maren — one of the “Lollipop Guild” who handed a lollipop to Dorothy — is personally implicated. Australian media outlets such as Sunrise in this tweet and on screen, reported the allegations using a picture of a young Garland next to Maren himself (in green).
Who decides what stories are told?
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