At least six Internet publishers so far have reportedly distanced themselves from actor George Takei, if not cut ties altogether, after sexual misconduct allegations emerged against the original Star Trek star, who was apparently getting well paid to post content on his popular Facebook page.
According to the Mic website, which is one of those outlets that dropped Takei from the social media distribution arrangement, the actor, who played Mr. Sulu on the TV series in the late 1960s and later in six feature films in the sci-fi franchise, is considered a “mega-influencer” with 9.5 million followers on Facebook.
In an article titled “George Takei’s Facebook empire strains under sexual harassment allegations,” Mic suggests that Takei was cashing in on his celebrity status and loyal following.
“In more recent years, Takei has used his fan base as a lucrative business opportunity, offering publishers access to his social media fan base for a fee. Publishers pay for their content to be shared by people like Takei, and in exchange have their articles and videos shared.”
In yet another sex-related scandal from the entertainment community, a former male model and actor, then 23, accused Takei last week of groping his crotch in 1981 at Takei’s Hollywood condo when the younger man says he passed out after having a few drinks. Takei, 80, has denied the sexual assault accusations, insisting that the incident never occurred. The former Star Trek lead said the accusations left him “shocked and bewildered.”
Wonder how many people would be surprised, and how many would care, to learn sites like Mic and Slate have been paying George Takei to post their stories https://t.co/GANqLpCAKv— Daniel Victor (@bydanielvictor) November 15, 2017
On Monday, Takei used his Facebook page to apologize for what he described as a “distasteful joke” about groping men discussed during an interview last month on the Howard Stern Sirius XM radio show, in which he claimed he was just playing the role of a “naughty gay grandpa.” Takei asserted in the apology that all his relationships have been consensual.
George Takei is or was regarded as one of the most influential persons on Facebook, Mic added.
“Takei made a name for himself on the platform by regularly posting jokes and puns on his page, advocating for LGBTQ issues and by sharing articles and videos with decidedly liberal sensibilities. His sense of humor and his political leanings have made him a darling of more liberal media sites and the scorn of conservative outlets for years.”
George Takei's Facebook empire is crumbling amid sexual harassment allegations https://t.co/vYZzbRd85g Mic, which published this story, paid Takei ~$10,000 each time he shared one of its articles pic.twitter.com/UaAms5JErf— David Uberti (@DavidUberti) November 15, 2017
Mic said that the above-referenced $10,000 figure was just hypothetical.
The Outline website claims that George Takei may have violated U.S. Federal Trade Commission guidelines, as well as Facebook rules, by not disclosing which posts on his social media platform consisted of sponsored content.
[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]