THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Separating the Art From the 'Ist'
With Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and numerous other influential figures in the industry being accused of sexual assault, how should one approach the motion picture and television productions that these individuals have been involved in?
Over twenty high-profile industry figures, such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Ben Affleck have recently been accused of sexual assault and harassment. Though the Harvey Weinstein scandal specifically catalyzed the start of an industry-wide investigation of other potential predators and harassers, this is not the first instance of major entertainment figures being accused, or even going to trial, over their behavior.
Victor Salva, Casey Affleck and Bill Cosby, along with numerous other figures, have already been accused or convicted on felony charges involving sexual harassment, molestation and other abhorrent behavior, and have walked free of all charges. Affleck and Salva have even gone on to continue their work in the industry.
Though the actions of these individuals are abhorrent, they have undoubtedly contributed artistically to some of the best pieces of horror and drama in motion pictures; Salva with his Jeepers Creepers franchise and Affleck with his major roles in Manchester by the Sea and A Ghost Story.
So how does one go about watching all of the upcoming movies, television and other work that these accused individuals have been involved in, without feeling some sense of guilt or shame for indulging in a production featuring their work?
For example, House of Cards is already set for cancellation by Netflix after its 6th season, but what about the remaining episodes and the entirety of the already released season? Should people boycott the series entirely because of Kevin Spacey’s misconduct?
Everyone has experienced a situation where one bad egg ends up ruining something for the rest of the nest: one person leaves food in class and gets classroom eating privileges taken away for everybody, or somebody speeds through a suburban intersection and speed bumps are installed around the entire neighborhood.
Is it fair though, for an entire production or series to become discredited and abandoned simply because one individual gets accused of sexual assault or harassment? While assault and harassment should be met with the full extent of lawful and social justice, one actor or producer does not define the quality of the production, and should therefore not have such a detrimental effect on the entirety of a production or organization.
Robin Wright performed just as well as Spacey - if not better - in scenes throughout the Emmy Award-winning series House of Cards, so is it right for the show’s essence to be completely tainted by Spacey’s horrendous past? Absolutely not! If anything, allowing these productions and companies to go down with these accused industry members due to their affiliation lets the abusers and harassers win.
It gives them the idea that they were so important to these productions and organizations that no future success will be achieved without them. However, that is not a message that should be relayed to these predators. Instead, people should still enjoy television shows like House of Cards, to give credit to the other artists who worked on them.
Seven protesters were arrested outside a venue on the California State Fullerton campus where controversial conservative...