Gloria Allred is the ‘little dynamo that could,’ a little Napoleon to many of America’s ‘bad actors’ (ie Trump) , their nemesis, as it were. Most of her enemies and adversaries probably shudder at the mention of her name. A wonderful evening was had by all, at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, at Temple Israel of Hollywood, when a privileged audience got to view the premiere of “Seeing Allred,” produced by Marta Kaufmann (of “Friends”) and put together by the brilliant team of Roberta Grossman and Sofie Sartain. Gloria Allred’s life was much like a Horatio Alfred story of rags to riches. She grew up in Philly, struggled with poverty as the daughter of a door to door salesman, and through her sheer power of determination, perseverance, and willpower, has miraculously morphed into the powerhouse she has become. She also overcame adversity and violation, as she was raped by a prominent doctor she dated and trusted, an old story for many of her clients. The Bill Cosby case was one of her defining cases of her tremendous career, and it became a trial of public opinion, more than a true courtroom one. It became a true dilemma for Allred, as her master’s degree was in African American civil rights, and many of Cosby’s victims were black themselves. Another horrible thing that befell her along her extremely bumpy path on life was her first husband’s suicide. Her daughter Lisa Bloom was an integral part of the film, and she has taken on many of the causes her mother too passionately espouses. One of the many honors heaped upon Allred in her 40 year career is all of her humanitarian efforts and being granted the honor of being the first female member of the Friar’s Club, formerly an all boys club. The film also delineates her deep commitment in Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President. Wonderful songs accompany the portrait, most memorably the song “Gloria.” Pithy quotes from the film include “there is a war on women and they depend on me to be strong,” and “don’t agonize…organize.” She also quotes James Thurber: “the question is more important than the answer.” Her Malibu home is a central part of the film, revealing the ocean as a balancing yogic yin yang to the cacophany of her otherwise frantic life/work.
The Q&A following the film was extraordinary and revelatory. Gloria Allred took the stage amidst a standing ovation and deservedly so. She is an iconic woman who has tirelessly worked on behalf of women’s causes. She will forever be remembered as a true savior on college campuses, with the Connecticut fraternity rape case a prime example. The evening was a definite highlight of the 2018 LA Jewish film fest. As a harbinger of the ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up’ movements, ‘herstory’ is particularly timely and significant.