With the scandals of Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey revealing some incredibly disheartening details about the lives of artists the public once adored, the question of how to treat a piece of art is being trifled with once again.
Deeper than that question comes the hypocrisy that the public engages in by continuing to allow certain unethical companies to thrive by purchasing their products, but that’s for later.
It’s not an uncommon phrase nowadays, complaining about not being able to watch any of C.K.’s past shows or stand up anymore because of his misconduct or not enjoying “The Usual Suspects” because of Spacey’s scandals.
This isn’t the first time the public has been pressed with choosing to either continue championing the past work of guilty artists or condemn anything and everything they touch.
Roman Polanski and Woody Allen have been steeped in this dilemma for a long time now. While C.K.’s upcoming film, “I Love You Daddy” has been cancelled, Allen’s newest film, “Wonder Wheel” is still on path to be shown in theaters. So does the passage of time make Allen’s transgressions forgiven and forgotten?
The truth is, his previous works shouldn’t have been sullied in the first place.
The biggest problem with the way people deal with incidents like these is the tarnishing of any past work the artist has been involved with.
New revelations shouldn’t be all it takes to completely destroy the work of someone who has been so incredibly influential in the world of comedy, like C.K., or the film industry, like Spacey.
Once the work has been made and celebrated, it’s done. It won’t do anyone any good to completely throw out all the work because of some perceived moral fight.
Everyone knows what these men did was horrendous and reprehensible, but laughing along with C.K., or fearing Spacey’s character in “Se7en” won’t help prevent these actions from happening in the future in any way.
The only real way to combat this type of behavior is to be aware of who participates in allowing it to continue without saying anything and stop enforcing the acceptance of it by blocking these types of artists from continuing to work.
Watching Allen’s new movies and allowing him to produce and create whatever he wants is not the way to handle this.
Showing these men that their actions were unconscionable and exiling them from the privilege of continuing their craft is the best way to beat this type of thing, otherwise it will keep happening.
Refusing to watch one of the old works of C.K. or Spacey won’t be helpful to anyone, it’ll just be some sad cry for justice that accomplishes nothing.
However, voicing opposition by not allowing these artists to continue creating their work and profit from any revenue from future ventures will get to them.
Another problem with the way the public handles these issues is in its mentality. It seems hypocritical that people will spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on the products of companies like Nestle or Apple, yet throw away the work of these people because of what they did.
No, these companies didn’t sexually harass women or minors, but Nestle is responsible for a large amount of the deforestation in Southeast Asia and Africa, and Apple’s supplier factory in China was found to have major health and safety, environmental and human rights violations.
An actor’s art is separate from them, and it’s likely that most of the people producing or working around these men weren’t aware of what was going on, so ditching all that work is irresponsible and childish.
People are quick to judge these actors, but rarely think twice about companies that are continuously profiting from an abundance of unethical business.
Consistency is the only way to be taken seriously and to make a good point stick.
At the end of the day, sit back, watch that old C.K. bit or the classic, “American Beauty,” and know that these men’s careers have been tarnished.