Opinion: We Can’t Afford to Separate the Artwork From the Artist


CONTENT WARNING: I encourage you to follow self-care when selecting to learn this text. The next piece contains mentions of sexual abuse, victim-blaming, grooming, rape and torture. If this text causes something to return up for you about your individual expertise, please know sources can be found. You may go to the Nationwide Home Violence Hotline web site at https://www.thehotline.org/.

The query of whether or not or not we must always “separate the artwork from the artist” has been floating across the music scene for ages. Anytime a brand new problematic soundbite or video clip of a performer surfaces, remark sections are flooded with calls to “cancel” them, or quite the opposite, to excuse the habits merely primarily based on the character of their occupation.

However, give it some thought. No matter how nice their lesson plans have been, would you belief your child’s faculty instructor in the event that they have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors? No, you would not need to put them ready of energy with entry to impressionable younger folks.

There are lots of the reason why an artist may get “canceled.” However I’m not speaking about somebody merely spouting a silly remark by way of their social media on this article: I’m speaking about individuals who have finished actual, tangible hurt to others. Whereas I imagine many individuals have the flexibility to study from their errors and redeem themselves, I additionally imagine not everybody deserves fame or a platform — particularly if they’re doubtlessly harmful to society. Thus, I imagine it’s excessive time all of us cease separating the artwork from the artist.

A Dialogue of Accusations In opposition to Artists Via the Years

The checklist of musicians who’ve finished legitimately dangerous issues or have legitimately unhealthy views is, sadly, countless. You could have folks akin to Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer, who participated in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, in addition to folks akin to Ted Nugent, who has made extra headlines for his excessive right-wing views over time than for his precise music profession. There’s additionally Marilyn Manson, who has been accused of grooming, abuse, rape and torture.

As well as, there appears to be a plethora of musicians who’ve been accused of inappropriate habits towards minors, particularly younger followers. Model New’s Jesse Lacey and former Pierce The Veil drummer Mike Fuentes have each been accused of sexual misconduct in opposition to minors.

This isn’t a brand new phenomenon, both. Did all of us overlook that Elvis Presley was 24 when he met and began a relationship with the 14-year-old Pricilla Ann Beaulieu (she reportedly wasn’t the one teen Elvis was concerned with)? Or that Chuck Berry was a convicted intercourse offender, having spent two years in jail after taking a 14-year-old lady over state strains for “immoral functions” when he was about 33? What about Jimmy Web page, who additionally began an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old lady, and Jerry Lee Lewis who married his 13-year-old cousin? I may go on, however I feel you get the thought.

Folks discuss with Presley as “The King,” when actually they need to discuss with him as what he really was: a sexual predator. College students study Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Web page in “Historical past Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” lessons all through the nation with out ever listening to about their sexual misconduct. At most, their transgressions are minor footnotes. These musicians are idolized, whereas their victims are vilified, or worse — erased from historical past all collectively.


I’m not excellent. I was obsessive about some problematic rockers, together with Elvis. However now, I hear their music and may’t assist however take into consideration the ache and trauma they’ve inflicted on others. I may also add that these views are my very own, and don’t replicate the views of Loudwire as a complete.

If They Make Good Music, Who Cares?

This can be a lazy argument, at finest. By not holding abusers accountable, it perpetuates the concept that any abusive artist, actor or musician can do no matter they need of their free time with none main penalties to their profession. It permits performers to really feel snug being abusive, discovering solace within the truth they know rattling effectively folks will nonetheless purchase tickets to their live shows or obtain their newest album if it’s ok. This present system of separating the artwork from the artist permits abusers to each maintain and abuse their energy at will.

Even for those who don’t agree with the best way an artist conducts themselves of their non-public lives, however nonetheless assist their skilled profession, you’re a part of the issue. Nonetheless inadvertently it could be, you’re serving to fund this individual’s life — and probably, their abusive actions — by buying these live performance tickets and streaming their music.

It isn’t sufficient to say that you simply solely assist their music, not their actions. By nature of their chosen careers, these musicians’ lives are deeply intertwined with their private lives. Their fame offers them privilege and the cash you give them grants them energy in our society.

The “15 Minutes of Fame” False impression

Some might argue that survivors “cry rape” in an effort to get their “quarter-hour of fame.” However let’s take an actual have a look at the mountains survivors must climb after they report or share an occasion of interpersonal violence — primarily sufferer blaming.

The Middle for Relationship Abuse Consciousness supplies this definition of the phenomenon: “Sufferer-blaming attitudes marginalize the sufferer/survivor and make it tougher to return ahead and report the abuse. If the survivor is aware of that you simply or society blames [them] for the abuse, [They] won’t really feel secure or snug coming ahead and speaking to you.”

Sufferer blaming locations the blame on the survivor, relatively than the abuser. Examples sound like, “You shouldn’t shouldn’t have worn, mentioned, or finished that for those who didn’t need to be abused.”

Rape and sexual assault are two of essentially the most underreported crimes in our society. Why?

Perhaps as a result of solely about six % of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. Add that to the truth that survivors usually must take care of emotions of disgrace, worry of retaliation, guilt and avoidance, it’s not onerous to know why somebody wouldn’t need to disclose an act of violence in opposition to them — and why it makes it so onerous for some to take action. As well as, the FBI estimates that round two % of reported rapes, at most, are false.

The one occasion I can provide you with of somebody legitimately being falsely accused of sexual misconduct is Vivid Eyes’ Conor Oberst. However even Oberst himself has mentioned his story shouldn’t be used for example of girls “crying rape.”

In an interview with Noisey, he says, “I don’t ever need to reduce how a lot that occurs to ladies all of the fucking time.They are saying one in 4 ladies will expertise some type of sexual assault of their life, which is fucking insane and heartbreaking. In order painful and surreal and fucked up as my scenario was, I don’t ever need to use this for example to justify something.”

In Conclusion

One query that I don’t imagine has a simple reply is that this: what concerning the bandmates? On one facet, it’s onerous to discern how liable an individual is for his or her bandmate’s actions. Alternatively: how may they not know what was happening? These folks have a piece relationship not like somebody who goes into an workplace on a regular basis and works in a cubicle. They spend nearly each second collectively whereas touring and recording, so how may they not concentrate on what’s going on in eachother’s “private” lives. However nonetheless, we will’t show that they did know, and monetization impacts everybody within the band — not simply the person transgressor.

Whereas there isn’t a simple reply, it’s one thing I implore everybody to look into. I imagine that holding artists accountable for his or her actions will encourage all musicians to do higher. If somebody realizes their profession, their mansion and their fancy automobile might be at stake in the event that they take part in dangerous habits, they could simply get the inducement to not be an asshole. It shouldn’t be like that, however sadly years of separating the artwork from the artists has conditioned musicians to see themselves as gods unrestrained by morality. We will all do higher, together with myself.

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