The Book That Is Burning Down Hollywood

Burn It Down by Maureen Ryan is hitting Hollywood like an earthquake with real stories of exploitation, abuse, and a troubling culture.

By Chad Langen | Updated

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When it comes to unmasking the deeply embedded patterns of harassment and bias within Hollywood, few have done it as boldly and candidly as veteran critic and reporter Maureen Ryan. Her book, Burn It Down, serves as a daring exposé on the entertainment industry, revealing unsettling truths that lurk beneath the glitz and glamour. During a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Ryan described the central theme of her book as “exploitation.”

Ryan’s impressive body of work spans decades, with her journalistic integrity and knack for hard-hitting stories earning her a reputation as a formidable figure in reporting. Burn It Down is undoubtedly one of her most impactful contributions, critically examining Hollywood’s sordid underbelly. She believes harassment and exploitation are not sporadic anomalies but systemic issues deeply ingrained into the very foundations of the entertainment world.

Burn It Down underscores that attributing Hollywood’s problems to the “One Bad Man” narrative is a simplistic interpretation of a more complex issue. It advocates for a shift in perspective from viewing each scandal as a separate incident to understanding them as symptoms of a widespread culture of abuse and exploitation. The book posits that these incidents are not isolated but rather indicative of a larger, more troubling culture in the entertainment industry.

Burn It Down is loaded with high-profile interviews, including candid conversations with notable figures like Evan Rachel Wood, Harold Perrineau, Damon Lindelof, and Orlando Jones. These first-hand accounts provide a compelling and intimate perspective on the industry’s systemic issues. They paint a stark picture of the realities those working in Hollywood face.

In her conversation with The Daily Beast, Ryan outlined her selection criteria for the industry figures featured in Burn It Down, revolving around their relevance to present-day issues. She aimed to spotlight individuals who exemplify enduring dynamics firmly rooted within the industry. The focus of her book was not just to expose but also to connect these profiles to their ongoing influence in today’s entertainment world.

Ryan clarified that she intended Burn It Down to be more than just a collection of gossip or retelling painful experiences without proper context. Instead, she sought to use specific test cases to shed light on the systemic challenges those within the entertainment industry faced. Moreover, she ensured to engage with individuals actively striving to effect change in the industry.

Ryan initially feared a negative reaction from some of the people featured in her book, but she has yet to experience any angry responses. She doesn’t deny the possibility of upsetting some with her work, Burn It Down, but believes they’ve chosen to remain silent if that’s the case. She also emphasized that most of her sources have been exceptionally kind and receptive.

Burn It Down, released on June 6, is already making waves in the entertainment industry. Not only does it expose the flaws of Hollywood, but it offers solutions and optimism for a better future. Maureen Ryan’s work reflects her resolute determination to confront the industry’s systemic issues head-on, challenging the prevalent indifference that has persisted for far too long.