The Wizard of Oz has permeated American cinema as one of its most iconic films. It was the first movie to be produced in technicolor; its production riddled with urban legends. According to The Washington Post, Garland was repeatedly abused by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s head, Louis B. Mayer. However, she was not only subjected to unwanted sexual advances from the studio’s CEO, but was also molested by several Munchkins on set. At just sixteen-years-old, Judy Garland experienced incessant sexual harassment by the cast and crew, as well as was subjected to an extremely demanding schedule-oftentimes being given adrenaline shots to prevent exhaustion. She was additionally subjected to a diet regimen comprised of chicken soup, cigarettes, and coffee, as a result of being deemed “too fat” by the same executives who continuously harassed her. As a result of her traumatic experience, Garland became addicted to barbiturates and sadly passed away due to an overdose at the age of 47. However, Judy Garland’s legacy remains ensconced in American culture and her story evermore relevant.
A surge in the #MeToo movement last year has created shockwaves throughout Hollywood. Notorious Hollywood magnate and producer Harvey Weinstein’s victims spoke out about their horrific ordeals and propelled the movement into the centerfold. This is why Garland’s story remains crucial to the movement. It is a reminder that the horrors faced by actresses in the entertainment business have been present since its conception. Denouncing these attackers allows for victims to have their voices heard, and those whose voices have been silenced by time or passing, to be heard once again. The treatment she received at the hands of her abusers echoes that of other renowned actresses such as Angelina Jolie or Asia Argento, who have been vocal in the movement. Other Old Hollywood Actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Temple were also victims of abuse by Hollywood executives, only to be silenced by the rampant sexism of their time. Whether it was Weinstein or Mayer, these men abused their position of power for decades only to be protected by their position as part of the Hollywood elite. Judy Garland was one of the most remarkable actresses to have graced the silver screen. There is no doubt about the place she holds in Americans’ hearts as the beautiful Dorothy, as well as the magical land of Oz. Yet, it is imperative to her memory and legacy that one also acknowledges the turbulent times she went through while creating one of America’s most beloved movies.