How much loyalty is too much when it comes to our celebrity idols?

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 at 5:46 PM

Actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K. and head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation John Lasseter are just a few of the big names with recent sexual assault allegations leveled against them,  and more are sure to come. Rest assured these aren’t the only people facing allegations, with many of the most recent coming in the wake of one person: Harvey Weinstein.

If you’ve opened a newspaper, watched national news, or even passively glanced at a news update on your iPhone in the last couple months, you’ve seen Weinstein’s name at one point or another. He has been accused of 57 cases of sexual misconduct, involving everyone from secretaries to high-end, A-list actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

If you’re not aware, Weinstein is one of the largest film producers in the United States, responsible for a slew of films every year since 1989, including Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love” and almost all of Quentin Tarantino’s films. He worked at Miramax for a number of years before starting The Weinstein Company with his brother, Bob Weinstein, in 2005, so needless to say, this man had a lot of power. 

The thing is though, he wasn’t a known face like one of the actors in his films. Sure, he was responsible for many of America’s favorite films of the last nearly 30 years, but the vast majority of people didn’t know him by name before the allegations came out. 

Now that the allegations have been made public, we are experiencing what is being called “the Weinstein effect,” named in part after the butterfly effect. Much like the butterfly effect, the idea behind the Weinstein effect is that one event, in this case Weinstein allegations surfaces, will lead to multiple other similar events coming to light directly because of it. 

The thing that truly baffles me is how old many of these cases are, ranging anywhere from a couple years ago to nearly 30 in the case of Weinstein and others. The fact that these men held so much power was all it took to keep multiple men and women quiet for decades. 

It honestly shouldn’t even surprise me, and it didn’t, until it was an actor from one of my favorite shows and one of my favorite comedians. I felt conflicted because while what they did in entertainment was excellent, what they did in their spare time over the years was far less venerable. 

The two that I’m talking about are Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. I’ve mentioned them in the first line of this article, but for a moment I’d like to separate them, because, while both did awful things, their responses were vastly different. 

Spacey, known for his role as Frank Underwood on “House of Cards” and work in films such as “The Usual Suspects” and “Se7en,” was the subject of some of the largest bombshells in recent allegations, not only for the fact that the victim was a 14-year-old boy, but because of how he handled it. Following the allegations, he was quick to label the incident as “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” and then added, “I choose now to live as a gay man,” all without accepting the fault and making an actual apology. 

Louis C.K.’s statement, which is seemingly the most apologetic of recent cases, was much different. He said simply, “these stories are true,” and ultimately brought up that these women, although they agreed initially to the activities, were merely doing so because they feared his power. “I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it,” said C.K. 

Sure, you might knock off these allegations as people merely trying to ruin someone’s reputation, or as an attempt to become relevant again, but think for a moment about the kind of power these people have. 

Think of the complete and utter fear that might overcome you if your favorite actor, or comedian, or talk show host made advances on you. Now think about if they are your contemporary and you’re in the same industry vying for better work that maybe they can offer. 

This is the kind of fear that these victims went through on a daily basis for years, so when they finally saw solidarity, they knew it was their chance to get something off their chest and hopefully be taken seriously for once. 

While these events didn’t directly affect me such as it did the victims, I still feel some responsibility as I am part of the fan base of the alleged abusers. I feel like there’s something I should be doing, but I find it so difficult to just say, “I’m going to boycott all their works,” when I know for a fact I won’t, because I enjoy the media they release. 

I am conflicted, as while I never would condone the actions of these men, I still in a way am showing support by consuming their media. Is this in some way a slap in the face to the victims, or would they understand? 

For now, I suppose I’ll continue watching “House of Cards,” but I know for a fact that the thought of what Spacey did will haunt my thoughts even if it’s supposed to be Frank Underwood on the screen. I just hope I’m doing the right thing and that the victims will find their peace. 

Roman Sabella is the Voices Editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: voices, opinion

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