Opinion: Several questions surround separating the art from the artist

Julian Koonce, Sectional Editor

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This article contains mentions of some sensitive material.
In early 2018, my little sister who was 6 years old at the time asked me if I could take her to see the sequel to one of her favorite movies, “Paddington 2.” The first film and its sequel were brought to the world by the Weinstein Company.

I felt a sense of guilt and I couldn’t help but wonder If I would be supporting such an atrocious man who’s done monstrous things to many women. In 2017, producer Harvey Weinstein faced 93 allegations of sexual assault and 14 of rape. I took her to see it nonetheless and later discovered the Weinsteins made next to nothing off of the movie.

But the question still remained fresh in my head: Is it right to support or even enjoy a piece of art if its makers have severe allegations against them?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that sexual assault allegations against people in power will ever fade. As long as there are humans, yes, there will be bad ones. But does that mean that because a music artist, film producer, or an actor did disastrous things that we can’t enjoy the art they put out into the world?

It’s not limited to just film producers, unfortunately. While Bill Cosby was once “America’s Dad” and an instantly recognizable face that revolutionized the way African-Americans were viewed on TV, now nobody can look past his harmful actions, and rightfully so.

Cosby has had countless allegations against him with dates ranging from 1965-2008 in 10 U.S States and one Canadian province. Cosby was convicted in late 2018.

In some ways, Cosby was the reason that negative African-American stereotypes were starting to get filtered away for many TV shows. Cosby gained all this power in show business and has been abusing it since he started in 1965. Throughout all those years he engaged in this abusive behavior, is it right to enjoy these shows and appreciate those milestones in television?

I feel it can be possible to bring up what Cosby did for inclusion on TV while still ensuring that the horrible actions he committed aren’t forgotten.

Another situation that’s quite complicated happens to involve two different singers. Both artists have been accused of sexual
misconduct with minors. One is Michael Jackson, who is deceased, and R. Kelly, who is currently paying for his crimes.

On one hand, Michael Jackson is beloved by people from all walks of life. He’s widely celebrated as the King of Pop, but people tend to forget the allegations against him. After his death in 2009, we seemingly heard nothing of it until an HBO Original series about the allegations of misconduct released in 2018.

Fans of Jackson were quick to jump to his defense to let it be known that some of the things in the documentary seemed a little
suspicious. But some facts are undeniable. Many of the circumstances around the allegations were later confirmed.

Then we have R. Kelly, also a singer who has been accused of sexual misconduct many times since the 1990s and was arrested in July. In his case, there’s an overwhelming number of people actively voicing their discomfort and hatred for the R&B singer.

Why is this?

Why is it that both Jackson and Kelly have been accused of these horrible actions, but Jackson is looked at and remembered as
one of the greatest musical performers of all time, while Kelly is hated and reviled for his crimes?

Why the double-standard?

Why can’t we be more consistent?

I am merely asking the question to conjure thought. Ask yourself or others around you: Is the art worth the terrible things the artist has done?

Can you separate the art from the artist?

Voice your opinion with a poll on The
Guardian website at www.eghsguardian.com

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