There is No Separating the Art from the Artist

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Published October 11, 2021
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The Montclarion
Ian Long | The Montclarion

Problematic celebrities are not a new concept. We have always dealt with the famous being involved in scandals, gossip and outright ignorant and severe actions, even crimes. But can we still support their craft without supporting the person themselves? Absolutely not.

Every time you engage with a song, film, show or any sort of entertainment, someone is making money. Each stream, play and buy will make the creator a pretty penny to go spend on a new yacht or whatever else the insanely rich are into these days. How can anyone throw money at someone and then tell the world they don’t condone their actions?

This may not come as a shock, but money and power are huge enablers for horrible people to do horrible things. Wealth lets the rich treat major crimes like parking tickets, and power means they can do whatever they please. This is why we hear about so many male celebrities being rapists and guilty of sexually based crimes.

This unstoppable mindset the wealthy have, which makes them think they can do more than the lower classes just because they have money and connections, is extremely dangerous.

The power imbalance of a production assistant and a star of a movie is so vast that in a situation where the actor preys on the assistant, they may feel too scared to speak out for fear of losing their job. We need to put our collective foot down and make it clear to the entertainment industry that we will not be consumers of products that were built on abuse.

Take Louis C.K. for example. His career was demolished when he was accused of sexual harassment, which he admitted he was guilty of. Now, he’s back to performing in Madison Square Garden with a set described as “gross” and “unapologetic.” Clearly, with his cult-like following still supporting every move he makes, he didn’t suffer that much from his initial “canceling.”

How are we to feel content with this man being back in the industry and possibly being a repeat offender?

The only way to truly prevent these people from causing pain to those who are less protected is to completely shut them out of the spotlight. When an abuser loses their fan base, jobs, sponsorships and multi-million dollar income, they are less able to commit more heinous actions against those who aren’t as protected as them.

Don’t stream their songs, go to their movies, see them in concert or buy their merchandise. There are enough albums and movies to be enjoyed that don’t enable rapists.

Everyone has an artist they once loved but were ultimately revealed to be horrible human beings. If we as a society can’t stand up for victims of the top 1% by simply not throwing our hard-earned money at them, we have failed.

For me, cutting off my support for the artist I once enjoyed by not giving him any more money and attention was one of the easiest things I could do in support of those who he hurt. I’ll never understand why it’s difficult to support victims, even if it means we can’t listen to a certain song.

Please consider the effects of what and who you support, and what it means for the victims and for their lives. Rest assured, there are still good people out there to support and enjoy that haven’t made someone else’s life a living nightmare. If you don’t know where to look for some happy and safe entertainment, you can always watch a compilation of Paul Rudd repeatedly pranking Conan O’Brien with the same clip from the 1988 movie, “Mac and Me.”

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