Why do we give celebrities a pass for abuse?

We+as+a+society+deserve+better+celebrities.+Credit%3A+Cami+Schiappa
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Why do we give celebrities a pass for abuse?

We as a society deserve better celebrities. Credit: Cami Schiappa

We as a society deserve better celebrities. Credit: Cami Schiappa

We as a society deserve better celebrities. Credit: Cami Schiappa

We as a society deserve better celebrities. Credit: Cami Schiappa

Bridget Frame, Editor of News Page

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R. Kelly, Famous R & B singer, has come under intense scrutiny due to an investigation detailing large amounts of abusive behavior. Opinions from both sides have defended or detracted from Kelly’s character. Now, his abhorrent behavior is not sudden. The public has previously been aware of various accusations and actions since the early 90’s, including his illegal marriage to singer Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27.  He was later arrested for and indicted for child pornography in 2002. While these charges were dropped, they do hold a level of merit to his character.

However, even after these awful allegations, society has only recently decided to mute R. Kelly from their speakers. Nevertheless, some still refuse to turn him off, rather opting to “separate the art from the artist.”

This is not possible. When an artist commits or is alleged to have committed detestable acts of abuse, it is never possible to separate them from what they create. It is very apparent with R. Kelly it can never be separated. His songs bring up a sickening feeling, especially after listening to them with this new lens. He produced one of Aaliyah’s hit songs “Age ain’t nothing but a number.” Could we not have seen this before? How does one continue to enjoy music from an artist who takes advantage of a young girl?

The same can be said for Chris Brown. He enjoys fans and chart-topping hits only 10 years after it was revealed he brutally beat his then-girlfriend, popular musician Rihanna. With an added laundry list of violent crimes and allegations of assault, Brown still receives a pass for creating “good” music

This isn’t just a problem in the music industry. Hollywood has had a series of directors and actors accused of abuse, as well as having known abusive and predatory behavior.

Woody Allen is a famous director known for his dramatic films and has been critically lauded. He adopted Soon-Yi Previn when she was around seven years old in 1978 and later married her in 1997. Adding on to the general uneasiness and creepiness this man brings, he also has molestation allegations from his daughter Dylan Farrow. While being scrutinized for this, he received multiple awards as well as an Amazon Prime miniseries.

While many men are culpable, it isn’t just men who seem to be receiving a pass in their career. Emma Roberts, star of American Horror Story and Scream Queens, was arrested for domestic violence in 2013, after hitting her boyfriend and co-star Evan Peters, after an argument. Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO’s Girls, described sexually abusing her younger sister in her memoir. Dunham went on to create numerous other projects and another HBO show. 

Why do we give these celebrities a pass? Is it because they make music that you can dance to? Is it because they win Emmys? Is it because we consider them “good-looking”?  It could be because of the power they hold. Being in the spotlight denotes a certain charisma. We worship celebrities, if not just begrudgingly respect them.

As a society, we have devalued ourselves to a point where we almost expect this. The bar is so low for those who call themselves role models and creators that it has become routine. A new allegation every week or month is habitual and commonplace.

We run on the motto that if someone makes good things, they are – by extent – good. But just because someone can make you laugh doesn’t mean that they aren’t making someone cry behind closed doors. If we let things slide or abide by the motto, “forgive and forget,” we are left with sub par, washed up entertainers with a rap sheet. Take Louis C.K for example, who decided that waiting  few months would be all he needed to get back into the comedy scene after a number of appalling allegations in which he admitted to.  Why do we think we deserve this? I shouldn’t expect every singer to have been handsy or a comedian to be crude behind the scenes.

The world deserves better, respectful entertainers. A high standard needs to be upheld for those who get the privilege of being in the public eye.  Regardless of their art, an artist needs to be held responsible for the mess they make. Let them learn their lesson, and allow them to clean it up themselves.