Research Magazine
May 2001
Broker Benefactors

A look at those...who contribute as much or more to civic and community causes as to helping their clients...these broker-heroes are as successful on the business side as they are in making a difference in the lives of others less fortunate.

... HBO last month broadcast "Just, Melvin: Just Evil," the award-winning documentary written and produced by Tucker Anthony financial advisor James Ronald Whitney about generations of sexual abuse in his own family. Whitney will be honored May 22 with a humanitarian award for the film, which has been championed by child-abuse advocates and lauded by film critics in several countries.

...With the disturbing documentary, "Just, Melvin: Just Evil," James Ronald Whitney...engages in the rarest kind of disclosure--that his maternal grandfather, a convicted child molester, sexually abused all 10 of his children and stepchildren, some from the age of 2 and 3. A few of the children grew up to become child abusers themselves. Whitney himself was molested by an uncle when he was 4. In their own voices, Whitney's mother and aunts talk about their demons--suicide attempts, drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution in some cases. And Whitney reveals a few demons of his own. When he was younger, for instance, he pretended his mother was dead so that if she did kill herself it wouldn't hurt so much.

But as he says in the film that Roger Ebert called "one of the best docs" of 2000: "We can't just sit back and act like victims, or we become the losers. It's all about finding a way to survive."

Whitney, a star broker in Tucker Anthony's Wall Street office, began making the movie, his first, in 1997--writing, directing, editing and producing, all in the hours after the stock market closed.

"This is a wake-up call to society to say, "Hey, [children] do remember. [Children] who are abused do remember. In the case of my family, they never had childhoods, adolescences, or adult lives that were clean and sober. They choose to live in a world of fog," he says. "If they lived with perfect clarity, they'd have to face what happened."

In the film, Whitney even interviews his grandfather, a chilling confrontation that is as uncomfortable as it is unforgettable.

"He was obviously very courageous to make this film because it's not only about the subject of incest, but about his own family," according to Karel Amaranth, executive director of Victim's Assistance Services of Westchester County N.Y., a non-profit that will honor Whitney with its Art of Vision award this month.

...A former TV-quiz-show sensation and professional dancer...Whitney's second documentary, "," due out [soon], is about a friend in the cyberporn industry. His third film will revisit his own family, this time, his Hell's Angel father.

Whitney says his dual roles as stockbroker and documentary filmmaker keep him grounded. "our brain has two hemispheres. One side is artistic and creative, the other empirical. They are inextricably interwoven to me. It completes the balance."
                                                                  -- By Ellen Uzelac

DIRECTOR'S FILMS: GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: New York, GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: Hollywood, Telling Nicholas, Just, Melvin,
Find out more about James Ronald Whitney's Productions at the Fire Island Films website
Comments or questions about the Web site contact the Web Master at

© 2003 James Ronald Whitney