Lady Problems: Bush And Trump Banished To The Magma-Filled Pussy Of Mother Earth

All women — but especially Taraji P. Henson — will now be compensated for every moment they spend on this trash can called Earth

Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week's most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.

The Lady Problem: This isn't a politics-focused column, but rest assured that if it were, we'd be grabbing Donald Trump by the metaphorical pussy on an hourly basis (for more on the women coming forward this week accusing Trump of sexual assault, please listen to the podcast, then join me as I scream into the abyss for the rest of eternity). Billy Bush, however, is directly in our wheelhouse, a wheelhouse full of wheels forged from the flesh of trifling men.

By now, we’re all more than uncomfortably familiar with the Donald Trump/Billy Bush conversation reported on by the Washington Post, in which both men discussed placing their hands on and inside women’s bodies as if said women were used car parts. Trump and his supporters have since excused this behavior as “locker-room talk,” implying outright (and, for the most part, accurately) that this is just how men behave, and it’s totally fine and natural, and the only mistake made was on the part of the women of the world, who overheard the innocent chatter and had the gall to take offense to it.

Taken as an isolated event, this is enough to shoot both Bush and Trump directly into the magma-filled pussy of Mother Earth. But of course, this conversation, this particular moment of horrifying behavior, was not an isolated event. These things are never isolated events. When a man yells, “Show me your tits!” out a car window at you as you walk out of Starbucks on a Tuesday morning, it is never the first time he has yelled, “Show me your tits!” at an innocent woman just trying to drown herself in her goddamn gingerbread latte. When a dude grabs your ass at a crowded bar and walks away, and you can’t figure out who it was, and you’re drunk, and you feel disgusting for the rest of the night and now you hate these fucking tight-ass jeans, it’s not the first or last time he’s gonna grab the body part of a drunk girl in a club who came there to meet men anyway, right? When a man date-rapes your best friend and gets away with it because she doesn’t want to report it because she blames herself, this is not the first time he’s gotten away with date rape. We live in a society where the onus is exclusively on women to protect themselves; any sexual harassment or assault is a failure on her part to be “careful” enough. The world is every man’s locker room, and if we happen to see or hear or be a victim to their locker-room shenanigans, it’s our fault for trespassing in the first place.

Anyway, Billy Fucking Bush. According to TMZ, which should be getting that Pulitzer any day now, Bush has been behaving like a dangerously malfunctioning sexbot for the duration of his career. Writes TMZ, “Sources connected to Access Hollywood tell us, Billy and others would talk openly in the newsroom about women ... and some of it’s even on tape. We’re told some of the comments — ‘Man, you look hot today,’ ‘Look at her legs,’ and ‘Man, she looks hot today!’ Billy was particularly impressed with Gigi Hadid and Taylor Swift’s legs. He also, somewhat infamously, asked J.Lo point-blank about her butt ... although that comment was at least on camera. The point is ... we’re told no one complained, and Billy wasn’t the only one making those kinds of remarks.”

Actually, the point is … Billy Bush is a rapey motherfucker in an office full of rapey motherfuckers in a building full of offices full of rapey motherfuckers in a world full of buildings of rapey motherfuckers. These “Man, she looks hot!” (why does Billy Bush say “man” so much?) remarks, taken on their own, may seem relatively benign, but they aren’t, because they are part and parcel of rape culture, which both retroactively and preemptively permits all manner of bad behavior on the part of men and demands women interact with the entire world at their own risk. Sure, come on Access Hollywood and talk about your squad, Taylor Swift, but know that by doing so, you’re giving Billy Bush permission to loudly ogle your body parts. Sure, take a jog outside in the middle of the day in your spandex, Every American Woman, but know that by doing so, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of being brutally raped and murdered. Billy Bush is just Billy Bush, i.e., a useless pile of weird hair, but he’s also representative of, you know, every bro-y dude you know and everything that’s insidiously wrong with contemporary culture. So, yeah. Fuck Billy Bush.

The Solution: First, we must begin to repair rape culture by admitting that it exists and that we are all part of the problem and that Billy Bush and Donald Trump are reflections and creations of that culture and we need to teach the fledgling men who have not yet been ruined by said culture to do much, much better. Then we will shoot Billy and Donald into the Earth’s molten puss. We’ll check up on them every few years. Snap some photos, do some light interviews. “Hey, Billy,” we’ll say, dressed in fireproof, air-conditioned space suits, “Tell us about your latest project.” Billy, who is now just a tiny square of of burnt carpet fiber, will begin to tell us about how he’s been working on learning to love his new life. “I’m starting to come around to the idea that I am a burnt piece of carpet living inside the Earth’s core, and — ” We will interrupt him. “Man,” we’ll say, “You’re looking hot today!”

The Lady Problem: Taraji P. Henson’s memoir, Around the Way Girl, comes out this week; in it, according to Vulture, she discusses the salary negotiations she engaged in for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Naturally, because Henson is a woman of color in an industry that openly discriminates against women and people of color (for proof, look no further than the TV salaries Variety published last week; Gina Rodriguez, Tracee Ellis Ross, America Ferrera, and Mindy Kaling bottom out the list) the negotiations went Extremely Shittily for Henson. Though she ended up with an Oscar nom for her role in the film, and had already been in acclaimed projects like Hustle & Flow, Henson was paid “sofa change” compared to costars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Writes Henson,

“Both Brad and Cate got millions. Me? With bated breath, I sat by the phone for hours, waiting for Vince [her manager] to call and tell me the number that I thought would make me feel good: somewhere in the mid six figures — no doubt a mere percentage of what Brad was bringing home to Angelina and their beautiful babies, but something worthy of a solid up-and-coming actress with a decent amount of critical acclaim for her work. Alas, that request was dead on arrival. ‘I'm sorry, Taraji,’ Vince said quietly when we finally connected. ‘They came in at the lowest of six figures. I convinced them to add in a little more, but that’s as high as they’d go.’ There was one other thing: I’d have to agree to pay my own location fees while filming in New Orleans, meaning three months of hotel expenses would be coming directly out of my pocket. Insult, meet injury.”

According to Vulture, Henson then explains she felt pressured to take the role because, as a black woman, she was already offered so few juicy, multilayered parts: “The math really is pretty simple: there are way more talented black actresses than there are intelligent, meaningful roles for them, and we’re consistently charged with diving for the crumbs of the scraps, lest we starve. This is exactly how a studio can get away with paying the person whose name is third on the call sheet of a big-budget film less than 2 percent what it’s paying the person whose name is listed first. I knew the stakes: no matter how talented, no matter how many accolades my prior work had received, if I pushed for more money, I’d be replaced and no one would so much as a blink.”

Henson also writes that though Theodore Melfi initially wrote the role of Daka, a pregnant Russian prostitute, in St. Vincent for her (“he was able to see Taraji Henson outside the box”), the role ended up going to Naomi Watts “because someone with the ability to green-light a film couldn’t see black women beyond a very limited purview he or she thought ‘fit’ audience expectations.” “It was a meaty gig,” she adds. “I would have loved it. Alas, I couldn’t get served at that particular restaurant.”

The Solution: Taraji P. Henson is a holy goddess who should be paid hourly for agreeing to stay on Earth and walk among all of us flesh-lined demons. The fact that some Hollywood fucksforbrains paid her a low six figures and then turned around and paid millions to Brad “If I Change My Facial Hair It Counts As Acting” Pitt is a travesty and a grave injustice. It can only be righted by the following chain of events:

1. Taraji P. Henson will age backward à la Benjamin Button until she is a baby again.

2. We will press pause on this entire trash planet and allow her to have a beautiful, blemish-free childhood.

3. Actually, no, we will press rewind, because the logistics of pressing pause are too confusing for me to figure out right now.

4. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt will age and age until he is so old that he has to wear a diaper on his face to catch the saliva streaming endlessly from his toothless mouth.

5. Brad will never be allowed the sweet release of death.

6. Taraji will begin acting in 1997. She will be paid $1 million for her guest-starring role on Sister, Sister.

7. Years will go by. Taraji will be paid an additional $10 million for every project she does. By the time she is in Hustle & Flow she will be making so much money that she has to open her own cave–slash–bank vault, like Harry Potter at Gringotts. Is this how money works?

8. Taraji will also get every role that, in the first version of humanity, went to Naomi Watts. No shade, Naomi Watts, I like you girl, this just isn’t about you right now. Taraji will play the mom in The Ring, and the crazy B in Mulholland Drive, and yeah, the mom who fucks her best friend’s teenage son in that bonkers-ass movie with Robin Wright.

9. Ugh, sorry, Taraji.

10. But you’re rich as fuck, so.

11. Brad Pitt will be the last living creature on Earth; when the aliens finally make it here, they will find only Brad Pitt, huffing into a little face diaper.

12. I don’t care what happens after that, I just want that visual to make it to me in the afterlife somehow.