Can You Separate Art From the Artist?
It has been a rough few years for those in the public eye. The 'Me Too' movement has brought to light some not so flattering stories about many celebrities, respected leaders and others. There, of course, are varying degrees to this ranging from someone making lewd comments to absolutely repulsive acts and criminal abuse. You have the internet, radio and tv...I'm sure you've heard some if not all these stories by now. The debate now has turned to whether or not it is ok to separate the art from the artist.
And this is a really complicated question. Should we turn a blind eye to everything in a person's life just because we enjoy their music or tv show or whatever? Should their actions really take away from their brilliant work? Is there some sort of middle ground that we should find as a community of people and, if so, where should that line be? I know I surely don't have the answers to any of these questions and I doubt anyone else does either.
What I do know is, that at least for me, its kind of hard to just completely dismiss someone's work because they are a horrible human being. The example that immediately comes to mind is Phil Spector. He's a convicted killer and has a long history of abusing women among other glaring issues. But, for me, I just can't completely dismiss his work.
While Spector may be a human dumpster fire, he's also responsible for the Capitol Records' Wrecking Crew, the Beatles "Let It Be" and hundreds if not thousands of my favorite songs and albums. Yes, by all accounts he's a piece of trash, but should I ignore one of the greatest Beatles albums of all times because he helped make it? I would think not.
But on the other side of that argument, if you go see (for instance) a Harvey Weinstein or Woody Allen movie, are you in a way endorsing and rewarding them for their (alleged) damaging and atrocious behavior? Should I not watch 'Glengarry Glen Ross' anymore because of Kevin Spacey's alleged abuse or because Alec Baldwin drunkenly called his daughter a pig?
Like I said, I don't know. Personally, I won't judge a person for how they approach the subject because I can see both sides of the argument. I don't even know if I can define my stance on the subject. I guess its one of those "I'll know it when I see it" type situations.
What I do know is that in a lot of cases, to me, the punishment doesn't fit the crimes...some people are getting hit too hard and others are getting off too lightly. But at the end of the day, the choice of whether not you continue to support someone is up to you and you alone. You shouldn't let anyone else's opinion on the matter influence you one way or the other.