Fans’ continued support of dubious artists can lead to the normalization of abuse.
In a social climate where personal lives of celebrities are inevitably publicized, the question of whether artists should be separated from their art is more relevant than ever. As more and more artists are accused and convicted of crimes, especially sexual misconduct, the need to answer it grows more urgent.
Over the last few years, there have been an overwhelming number of allegations brought against artists. Victims have come forward with stories of abuse by celebrities like actor Bill Cosby and producer Harvey Weinstein. Some of the most notable of these have been reported against rappers like R. Kelly, Xxxtentacion and 6ix9ine. Cases like these force consumers to consider the ethics of continuing to support the art of these creators.
The accusations against Cosby and Weinstein demonstrate a recurring problem in the film industry. As over 60 women came forward with cases against Cosby, awareness of this issue has come to light with unprecedented strength and support.
Similarly, the #MeToo movement inspired women across the country to band together by sharing their experiences with movie mogul Weinstein. Starting with actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd, nearly 100 women have also accused Weinstein. These women outlined a history of Weinstein’s harassment, manipulation and assault through his abuse of power in the film industry.
The sentencing of 6ix9ine, aka Daniel Hernandez, is another horrifying case of sexual misconduct by a star in entertainment. In 2015, the rapper was found guilty in a sexual assault case. During a video recording, Hernandez, who was 18 at the time, and another man were shown engaging in sexual activities with a 13-year-old girl. Because Hernandez pled guilty, he was not put on the sex offenders list. Other artists like Nicki Minaj have continued to collaborate with 6ix9ine in spite of his morally disturbing actions and crimes.
Many have argued that, in light of these accusations, it is the responsibility of the audience to boycott the creations of these people. In many ways, this is a difficult principle to practically apply. Finding a place to draw this line in spite of questionable cases over several years is next to impossible. However, this is an important distinction to make, or at least try to make. If consumers deny the responsibility to hold artists accountable, abusers inevitably continue to hold disproportionate power. Beyond this, normalizing manipulative behavior makes it harder for victims to come forward, perpetuating the cycle of abuse in the entertainment industry.