That outburst is especially tough to sit through after scenes in which the one straight dancer Madonna has hired appears to hate gay men. "It's my first time working with fags," Oliver Crumes tells the camera. "Have you ever seen [dancer] Luis [Camacho] walk in his underwear in front of just a whole bunch of people? I don't have no kind of respect for these people. We know he's a fag, or gay, or whatever you wanna call it. But you don't have to show it to everybody."
Crumes recently admitted to Vulture: "Before the tour started, I was homophobic. I wasn’t all with it. Learning from all the guys what their lives were like when they were young was just mind-blowing. If it wasn’t for Madonna and that tour, I would never have got that experience."
In the same interview, backing vocalist Donna DeLory stands by the movie as one that empowers women. "My daughter is 18," she says, "and in this day and age, she watches that movie and sees nothing but strength. She sees a role model. To be around a woman like Madonna was just like, 'Yes!' We felt taken care of."
It's true that, for the most part, the Madonna we see in Truth or Dare is powerful, always in control, and astoundingly disciplined with her work ethic. She goes far above and beyond the 21st century idea of leaning in. But the way she handles a sexual assault, mid-tour, is jaw-dropping to witness in the post-#MeToo age. After one of her makeup artists, Sharon Gault, is attacked in New York City, the only member of the crew who seems appropriately concerned is dancer Carlton Wilborn.
"She was at the club dancing," Wilborn tells Madonna, backstage. "The next thing she knew was that she woke up in her room nude, and her stuff was stolen, and she went to the bathroom and her butt was bleeding." Madonna responds by covering her face, nervously laughing, then offering an explainer.
"I don't know how you wouldn't remember something like that," she says. "They drugged her ass. All I can think of is that she started talking about how she was on tour with me, she's staying at the Ritz Carlton and those guys, whoever they were, got it in their mind that they were going to fuck with her."
Juxtaposed with the scene between Madonna and Wilborn is one in which Gault relays her experience. "I never thought that something like that would ever happen to me," a visibly shellshocked Gault tells DeLory and fellow backing vocalist, Niki Haris. "It was a nice club. It was really nice. And there were nice people there, and I was dancing with these boys. I was totally sober ... And then next thing I know, I wake up this morning. I'm never going to go out by myself again."
At no point does anyone attempt to contact police, or the club at which Gault was drugged, or get medical or therapeutic assistance for her. The assault is treated as simply a hazard of being naive in New York City, and a particularly harsh life lesson. For anyone still wondering why so many of Harvey Weinstein's and Bill Cosby's accusers didn't come forward sooner, this moment in Truth or Dare stands as an efficient explainer.
The legacy of Truth or Dare is further complicated by the fact that three dancers—Crumes, Gabriel Trupin and Kevin Stea—sued Madonna in 1992 over the film, in part, for invasion of privacy. The three had not wanted certain scenes included in the film, and felt they had not been adequately compensated for their contributions. The case was settled out of court in 1994. This year, Stea told Vulture, "The choice I made to do the lawsuit was literally because I said, 'What would she do? She would fight for herself' ... She kept telling me, 'Don’t let people take advantage of you.'"