1The silent film comedian who was falsely charged with the rape and murder of a Hollywood starlet
In 1921, silent film actor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was one of the biggest stars in the world. To celebrate his success, he and two friends drove to San Francisco for a three-day bacchanal at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on Labor Day weekend. By the end of the trip, Fatty was sitting in “felony row” at the San Francisco Hall of Justice, held without bail for the rape and murder of a 25-year-old actress named Virginia Rappe.
On September 5, Arbuckle awoke to find that he had many uninvited party guests, two of which were Rappe and friend Maude Delmont. Their reputations preceded them — Delmont was known as a madam and blackmailer, and Rappe had made a something of a name for herself as a model, aspiring actress and party girl. Fatty was initially worried their presence would alert police to the “gin party,” but quickly shed his concerns as the celebration raged.
By the end of the day, Rappe was found seriously ill in one of the rooms. She was examined by the hotel doctor, who concluded her symptoms were mostly caused by intoxication and gave her morphine to calm her. She stayed at the hotel for a few days before she was taken to a hospital—where she died, on September 9, of a ruptured bladder.
What exactly happened to Rappe is still a mystery, but Dumont had her own version of events for the police. She said Arbuckle and Rappe had had a few drinks together, after which he pulled the actress into an adjoining room, saying, “I've waited for you five years, and now I've got you.” Delmont claims to have heard Rappe screaming, so she knocked on and then kicked at the locked door. After a delay, Arbuckle came to the door in his pajamas, wearing Rappe's hat “cocked at an angle” and smiling his “foolish ‘screen smile.” Behind him, Rappe was sprawled on the bed, moaning.
“Arbuckle did it,” the actress said, according to Delmont.
Fatty denied any wrongdoing (there was no evidence that a rape ever occurred), and it appears he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite this, he surrendered to authorities a few days after Rappe passed away. He was in jail for three weeks, at which time his sentence was reduced from murder and manslaughter.
Hearst News Corporation had a field day with the story. While sexually assaulting Virginia Rappe, the papers surmised, the 266-pound star had ruptured her bladder. The newspapers, an overzealous DA, and dubious witnesses all conspired to bring Fatty down, but after three trials he was acquitted. Jury foreman Edward Brown later said, “Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle.”
Fatty never truly rebounded from the scandal — his once lucrative career was over. He changed his name to William B. Goodrich (Will B. Good) and worked behind the scenes, directing films for friends who remained loyal to him. He barely earned a living in the only business he knew. A little more than ten years later, on June 29, 1933, he had a heart attack and died in his hotel room. He was 46.
2The film director who fled the U.S. after being convicted of the rape of a 13-year-old girl
On March 10, 1977, director Roman Polanski, then aged 44, photographed a 13-year-old girl named Samantha Gailey (now Geimer), fed her drugs and alcohol, then raped her.
With the encouragement of her mother, the young girl agreed to model for Polanski for a French magazine spread. He set up two photo shoots near her home in Los Angeles. During one of the sessions, he gave the girl Quaaludes and champagne before sexually assaulting her.
Samatha's mother called the police, and the girl pressed charges against Polanski, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Faced with the possibility of prison time and deportation, he fled to his home in France, just hours before he was to be formally sentenced. To this day, he remains exiled overseas and has lived mostly in France, avoiding countries that might extradite him.
Samantha has since written a book about the rape, The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski, and says she feels more wounded by what she calls the "victim industry," the lawyers, judge and journalists who she feels sensationalized her case for their interests. She has also defended Polanski's right to move on with his life. When he was nominated for an Oscar for The Pianist, she wrote an op-ed piece for The Los Angeles Times arguing that the movie should be judged on its merits.
Polanski, for his part, has been apologetic. He wrote Geimer a letter, which appears in the book, saying, "I wanted you to know how sorry I am for having so affected your life."
3The once beloved comedian who is alleged to have drugged and raped over 40 women
Several women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them are saying newly unsealed testimony by the comedian in a 2005 case corroborates their claims.
The former television star and humanitarian admitted to acquiring Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with, during testimony for a sexual-abuse case filed by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.
Attorneys for some of the women suing Cosby seized on the testimony as powerful evidence that what they have been saying all along is true — the comedian drugged and raped women throughout his career.
Cosby, 78, has been accused by more than 40 women of sexual misconduct in episodes dating back to the 1960s. He has never been charged with a crime, and the statute of limitations on most of the accusations has expired. His wife, Camille Cosby, has stated she knows her husband is a serial philanderer but believes his scores of accusers consented to drugs and sex with him.
The release of Cosby's 2005 testimony has resulted in his famed sitcom, The Cosby Show, being removed from all networks. In addition, corporate, educational and celebrity supporters have denounced their support of this once beloved icon.
4The iconic actor who "date raped" and impreganted his co-star
In a July 2015, during an interview with BuzzFeed, Oscar Award-winning actress' Loretta Young's daughter-in-law, Linda Lewis, said it was while watching Larry King Live in 1998 that Young first heard the words "date rape" and inquired about its meaning.
"I said, 'It doesn't have to be violent; it doesn't have to be rip-your-clothes-off. It's when your no isn't no,'" Lewis recalled her words and Young's eye-opening reaction.
"That's what happened between me and Clark," she allegedly told Lewis.
The Clark she was referring to was legendary screen actor Clark Gable, who famously starred alongside Young in the 1935 movie Call of the Wild.
Less than a year later after the movie's release, Young gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Judy. But it wouldn't be until 2000 — years after enduring rumors and criticisms of her so-called affair and resulting "love child" — that she'd posthumously confess in her memoirs that it was indeed Gable who fathered her baby.
It was while the film crew was traveling back to Hollywood by train that she said Gable snuck into her personal, overnight compartment and took advantage of her.
"She was so humiliated," Linda Lewis said, "and what she would do when she was humiliated was just 'on with the show.' Because she had been trained since the age of 3, you put a good face on it, and you go forward. She knew she'd have to continue working with him."
Young went through excruciating measures to keep it a secret from not just the public but her film studio. After giving birth, she resorted to giving the baby, who had a false name listed as her mother on her birth certificate, to an orphanage. Little Judy was then formally adopted by her biological mother. It wasn't until shortly before her wedding day that Judy learned the truth about her parentage.
5The teen musician who was raped by her former manager
In July 2015, Runaways bassist Jackie Fuchs claimed the band's manager and founder, Kim Fowley, raped her while other band members and acquaintances watched.
Fuchs, whose stage name was Jackie Fox, described a party that took place after The Runaways' New Year's Eve show in Orange County, California in 1975 when she was 16 years old. According to several witnesses, she was given Quaaludes during the celebration, before Fowley allegedly asked a roadie in attendance if he would like to have sex with Fuchs.
Fuchs said the attack was witnessed by several people, among which were the guitarist Joan Jett and lead singer, Cherie Currie. Kari Krome, songwriter for the Runaways, corroborated Fuchs' story and said she was also sexually assaulted by Fowley. She was 16 at the time.
Of the assault Fuchs said, “You don't know what terror is until you realize something bad is about to happen to you and you can't move a muscle,” Fuchs said. “I can't move. I can't speak. All I can do is look him in the eye and do the best I can do to communicate: please say no… I don't know what it looked like from the outside. But I know what was going on inside and it was horror.”
Fowley, who had a reputation for despicable behavior, died in January 2015 and is obviously unable to address the allegation. But Fuchs' recollection did prompt responses from former bandmates Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, who said they did not witness the alleged assault, as Fuchs claimed.
She said of her bandmates (and the media), “If I am disappointed in one thing, it is that the story has become about who knew what when and who did or didn't do what. That isn't the story at all. It would be nice if everyone who was there the night I was raped could talk about how it has affected them over the years. But if they don't want to talk it about, I respect that. It's taken me years to talk about it without shame. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have watched it happen."
6The legendary comedian who married his teen girlfriend to avoid a statuatory rape charge
Comedian Charlie Chaplin was once the world's biggest star, but by the mid-1920s, it was clear that something was not entirely right about his daliances with women. His first wife, Mildred Harris, was 16 and pregnant with his child (he was 29 at the time) when they married in 1918. They divorced in 1920.
After the divorce, Chaplin met Lita MacMurray. His behavior toward her was abhorrent at best: he was openly obsessed with her and told friends that he would marry her if she ever became pregnant. He spent his days making her over into a starlet known as Lita Grey. To cover up her age, he told the press she was 19.
When the 16-year-old collapsed on the set of The Gold Rush, Chaplin learned she was pregnant. He responded by insisting she have an abortion and removed her from the film when she refused. Grey's family threatened to turn him in for statutory rape. Chaplin married the starlet under duress and in secret in 1924, telling friends that “marriage was a better option than prison.” The move led to a life of misery for his wife who gave birth to two sons during the three-year marriage.
An original copy of the 1927 divorce papers filed by Grey emerged in April 2015. In the documents, she describes his “revolting” and “inhumane” treatment of her.
The papers reveal she was forced to perform sexual acts that were illegal in California during the 1920s. Chaplin demanded she take part in a threesome with another woman. On one occasion, he screamed at her: “All married people do those kinds of things. You are my wife and you have to do what I want you to do.”
At the time of the divorce, details were leaked to the press of his “perverted sexual desires” which left Chaplin on the verge of a nervous breakdown as calls for his films to be banned grew.
The graphic details saw a judge award Grey the world's then-largest divorce settlement of £557,000 — worth £8 million today.
7The world heavyweight champion who served a six year sentence for rape
Boxer Mike Tyson's 1992 rape conviction came as little surprise to his former manager, Rory Holloway, who claims the former champion could have been the greatest of all time but for his "weakness for women." Holloway, who was a friend of Tyson's since the pair were teenagers, claims in his new book Taming the Beast: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson, that the 48-year-old's "sex addiction" stopped him from going down in history as the best ever.
Tyson was arrested in 1991 for the rape of 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room.
After attending a Johnny Gill concert on the night of the crime, Tyson found himself alone. He called Washington and convinced her to join him at his hotel so that they could talk and get to know one another. Once there, Washington agreed to accompany Tyson to his room so that he could pick up something he claimed to have left behind. Tyson instead pinned Washington to the bed, telling her to relax as he forced himself upon her. She left the room alone about 30 minutes after arriving. A hospital medical examination was conducted, and Washington's injuries were found to be consistent with her account. Tyson later claimed that the sexual encounter was purely consensual and that Washington had made the story up for money.
Tyson was charged and convicted the following year and sentenced to six years in prison. The only surprise to Holloway was that Tyson was not the subject of further complaints.
8The actor who was raped during his art exhibit
In a 2014 interview with Dazed
magazine, Shia LaBeouf said that a woman had raped him during a performance art piece at a Los Angeles art gallery earlier that year.
LaBeouf's show, "#IAMSORRY" involved the actor sitting silently behind a desk in a room in LA's Cohen gallery with a paper bag bearing the legend “I am not famous anymore” over his head. For five days, members of the public waited for the chance to be able to sit alone with him in the room with a prop of their choice.
For the most part, the public's interactions with the actor were uneventful, with the exception of a visit from one woman. Shia said, "(She) came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for 10 minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me.”
His collaborators in the performance art piece, British artist Luke Turner and Finnish artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö, said they had intervened as soon as they became aware of the incident and “put a stop to it."
Both artists posted the same statements on Twitter, which they described as “important clarifications” about the art project: “Nowhere did we state that people could do whatever they wanted to Shia during #IAMSORRY."
When asked if the incident was reported to police, Turner evaded the question and said the woman, "ran out, rather than simply walking away. Beyond that, it's not my place to comment.”
LaBeouf said that news of the incident “traveled through the line” of people waiting, and reached his girlfriend. He said: “When she came in she asked for an explanation. I couldn't speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently. It was painful.”