Stop Separating the Art from the Abusers

Megan Smith, Sports Editor

In the immediate wake of the #MeToo movement, celebrities accused of sexual harassment or assault finally faced backlash for their actions. However, people forgot soon after and continued to support those with problematic pasts of assault, abuse and manipulation. This is not ok. Celebrities, or anyone for that matter, who sexually abuse others should never be supported.

The art that these people create is not separate from them. When you listen to Chris Brown’s music or watch Johnny Depp’s films, you are supporting them. You are giving these people money, fame and power, which further enables them to commit more horrific and repulsive acts of abuse. Producers or networks that work with these artists and give them platforms should be ashamed. Since June 2017, 218 other celebrities in film, politics, business and media have been accused of sexual misconduct. Very few of these men have faced any repercussions for their actions, namely now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Despite his demeanor in his Senate hearings and the multiple accusations made against him, Kavanaugh was still confirmed to the highest court in the United States. This not only shows victims of sexual assault that even if they come forward, they may not be taken seriously, but it shows abusers that they can get away with sexual assault. Publicly condemning the things that these abusers have done does not allow you to continue privately supporting them.

Someone’s past should not be overlooked when evaluating them in the present, and it too often is. People in positions of power who have been accused of assault should not be given a platform to elevate themselves and push their agendas. Celebrities like Louis C.K., James Franco, R. Kelly and Melanie Martinez, all of whom have been accused of sexual assault, should not have the continued success that they do.

In addition, allegations made against celebrities must not be dismissed as false. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), only two- ten percent of rape cases are false. However, there are existing gaps in law enforcement that can inadvertently encourage a case to be labeled as “false”, such as delayed reporting and vagueness in victim testimony. This is not to say that false allegations are not horrible; they ruin people’s lives and those who falsely accuse others of sexual assault should face serious repercussions for their actions.

People with pasts of abuse, such as the late artists XXXTentacionborn Jahseh Dwayne Onfroyand John Lennon, should not be viewed as heroes or inspirations. They should be looked at as what they are: abusers. Both Lennon and Onfroy abused their significant others; in Onfroy’s case, his ex-girlfriend nearly lost her eyesight as a result of his abuse. While neither Lennon nor Onfroy was convicted, their actions are still inexcusable and should not be minimized because of their deaths. Lennon mocked disabled people in a televised performance and Onfroy spoke of and boasted about “stomping on the head of his gay cellmate” while in prison according to The Independent. The actions of these celebrities should not be overlooked just because they have died. Speaking ill of the dead and stating facts are two different things. Saying that Lennon abused his son is not slander; it is a true statement. Yes, he also promoted peace and love in public, but his private actions are not excused because of that.

People who are accused of sexual assault should not have prosperous careers or fame after the allegations against them become public. We should not, as a society, feel that it is okay to support someone despite the terrible mistakes that they have made in their lives. Sexual assault is such a prominent issue in today’s social climate and the people committing these heinous crimes are not going to stop if they face little to no consequences for their actions.