Most of our favourite entertainers and media moguls are disgusting sexual deviants. In a wave of disturbing revelations it feels like we’re living a story arc on TV series Mr. Robot, where a hacker group has managed to expose a ton of celebrities as pervballs who abuse their power and names to get off. From Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and more, when is it OK to separate the disgraced actor/filmmaker from the movie or TV show?
I’ve had to deal with the fact that many of my favourite actors and filmmakers have a dark, disturbing history loaded with sexual deviancy. Louis CK is one of my favourite comedians of all time. Second to maybe George Carlin (who I consider the best ever). Kevin Spacey co-starred in my favourite movie of the year so far in Baby Driver, now he’s blacklisted from Hollywood and fired from House of Cards. Quentin Tarantino’s films were all released under the Weinstein Company, and the man running that show was a rapist psychopath. When will this end? I feel like every day, where it used to be another “What did Trump say now?” moment, it’s become a “Who do you like in the movies? Guess what – they are also a raging sexual harasser” news drop instead.
It’s sad. It’s gross. It’s frustrating, because I’m actively trying to remove myself from the person behind the art I adore. Movies like The Usual Suspects, shows like Louis on FX — half of my Blu-ray shelf having the Weinstein Company logo on the sleeves… I love the work, does that mean I have to stop that? I’d like to think I don’t. I’d also like to think that if you still enjoy playing American Beauty every year because it’s a masterpiece of cinema, that you shouldn’t feel ashamed to do just that, in spite of Spacey’s raging sexual deviancy. The damage has been done though. I doubt I’ll ever be able to watch Louis CK’s standup and ignore all of his masturbation jokes in light of news that he would jack off infront of unwilling participants. Are we even allowed to enjoy movies and television anymore with sexual deviants running the show?
Bill Cosby is one of the most notorious rapists of all time. I can’t watch The Cosby Show now (not that I probably would have anyway), but I still want to listen to George Takei on Howard Stern as he makes jokes about Jason Ellis’ musculature. But that would be a double standard wouldn’t it? I mean – Takei was just accused of groping some passed out model in the 80’s. If I laugh while he does something similar today, does that make me a bad person who is encouraging illicit behaviour from a person who imposes sexual dominance over someone else that definitely does NOT want to be there? This is the unexpected struggle of 2017. Odds are – there’s a movie, show, or actor that you like — and a person involved with that production, has used their position of power or fame to sexually harass someone else.
Mel Gibson just won the box office this past weekend with Daddy’s Home 2, a Christmas comedy, and this is the man who just a few years ago was openly saying anti-Semitic things and screaming the N-Word while also being accused of spousal abuse. The dude who used to scream, “You should just fucking smile, and BLOOOOOOOOOW MEEEE!” to his Ex-Wife, just co-starred in a holiday comedy with Will Ferrell. So is it just a matter of time then before we forgive these sexual deviants who run Hollywood? Apparently the general movie-going public has said a resounding YES. The proof is there with Daddy’s Home 2 and the box office haul.
Look — I’ve said that we should give Gibson another chance before (professionally not personally). I’ve mentioned it in a review I wrote for Blood Father on this very site and I grew up admiring him as an actor. He’s been in some of the best movies of all time… He’s done some heinous things though. I guess I’m picking and choosing my battles based on which actors/filmmakers I enjoy more. That’s not cool. I admit it. The question I have though, is whether or not we the general movie audience are able to separate the performer from the performance. Casey Affleck won an Academy Award months after being accused of numerous sexual harassment charges. Roman Polanksi, Woody Allen — these dudes have some dark as hell pasts as well and the Academy has been honouring their work for decades with no signs of stopping.
One can argue, well — what about the rest of the actors/production crew — won’t we hurt their film if we ban it due to one person’s actions? Yes — also true. Also, extremely fucked up. What about all those other professionals working on House of Cards? They just lost their damn jobs… Although it’s tough — I think that for now we have to separate the performer from their performance… But that doesn’t mean the performer who is being charged with numerous sexual assault offences, gets a free pass… I think they should be forced to walk away from Hollywood for at least 5 years or more depending on the severity of their sexual deviancy. Time heals and forgives to some degree, but it does not forget. I think Gibson deserved another shot even though he’s a racist piece of shit. But he paid his dues and he stepped away for a long time. Louis CK and Kevin Spacey and whoever else gets accused this week — needs to walk away from the spotlight because that’s the very light that has given them this sense of power to begin with and it’s a privilege they have abused.
So to answer my question – are we allowed to enjoy the films and shows that feature these sexual deviants? Yes. We most certainly are. I’m not suffering the art even though the artist behind it or actively a part of the project is a gross human being. Because — Art is relative and that’s the beauty behind it. Love the art but scold the artist if need be. If you’ve ever stayed through the credits, look at the hundreds of names of people who worked on that film or TV series…. Now explain to them why you’re banning their project because the star or director or producer was outed as a dirtbag…
Support film and television – but when the time comes – banish the deviants from the spotlight because that’s where they drew their power from in the first place in order to abuse others.
The crime: Masturbating in front of women, both strangers and unwilling participants to co-workers.
The crime: Making sexual advances against a minor quite long time ago (aka 14-year-old Anthony Rapp who is now on Star Trek: Discovery). Also – groping various young men on movie sets and exhibiting inappropriate behaviour.
The crime: Numerous counts of sexual harassment and rape, including victim Rose McGowan (who you should all follow on Twitter HERE, because she’s awesome and she isn’t taking anymore shit).
The crime: Sexual assault, rape and exposing himself and masturbating in front of women (victims include actresses Olivia Munn and Ellen Page).
The crime: Former model Scott Brunton accused Takei of taking advantage of him in 1981, after he had passed out only to awake with Takei groping and undressing him.