Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
This piece is going to go beyond fandom and discuss the entertainment industry as a whole.
The past few years, a lot of allegations, accusations, and admissions of guilt have come from Hollywood regarding sexual assault and abuse. The Nerdd hasn’t said anything about it, until now. We don’t like to bring up political topics, but we don’t see this issue as political as much as ethical.
The Nerdd believes victims, and supports the #MeToo movement. We support Cosplay is not Consent for Fan Conventions.
But when you find out that someone you look up to does terrible things, am I still allowed to enjoy their work?
One of the first big ones for me, was Louis C.K. I’ve seen all of his specials on Netflix, and watched his show Louie which I loved. But then it came out that he was part of this toxic sexual environment in Hollywood.
The thing is, I still think he’s funny. I still want to watch and laugh at his jokes. Am I not allowed to anymore, because he is an awful person? Maybe.
Then there was Kevin Spacey. Whether it’s as a serial killer in Se7en, a crime boss in Baby Driver, or the POTUS in House of Cards, I’ve never once been bored by his performance. Then it turns out he’s a pedophile, and he tries to say it’s because he’s actually secretly gay.
Without getting into the reasons why that is terrible, he’s still an amazing actor. And I’m still behind on House of Cards. Can I catch up? Or will that be putting my money into his pockets?
The last one has hit me the hardest. Chris Hardwick. He’s actually the reason that, not only I write this article, but I created this entire website, that I have two podcasts, that I was a radio DJ/talk show host in college, and do comedy on stage every month with my improv troupe.
Almost every professional decision I’ve made in my life, was influenced by Chris Hardwick and his Nerdist Empire.
So when the news came out that he sexually abused his ex-girlfriend, I was drained emotionally for days.
AMC recently said that he can come back after their investigation came back in Chris’ favor, but the ones investigating were lawyers that have previously worked for his in-laws, the Hearst family, of the William Randolph Hearst estate. Not exactly unbiased.
So you look at all of these situations, and you wonder if you aren’t allowed to enjoy these people’s works anymore. It’s the same as asking if you are allowed to eat at Chik-fil-A, even though they came out as very homophobic in years past.
Or, on a bigger playing field, Adolf Hitler, one of the worst humans in history, was also an artist. I’m not comparing what anyone above has done to Hitler, but the basic level is the same, bad people can create good art. Are we allowed to enjoy it?
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. I didn’t have one when I started writing this, and I still don’t. The reason I wrote this article wasn’t to find an answer, it was to point out that there isn’t an easy answer.
Some people look at these situations, and they say to themselves “Of course you don’t keep eating at Chik-fil-A/ watch Louis C.K./ Kevin Spacey/ etc.” To those people, I praise your willpower. Because that makes sense to me. Others might say “Of course you still let yourselves enjoy things. Who they are off-stage shouldn’t change your ability to enjoy a movie/ comedy special/ chicken sandwich.” To those people, I understand, because why should you get punished because other people do bad things?
Perhaps it is judged by their reaction to the situation. If you are accused of doing a terrible thing, do you spend your time defending yourself, denying that you did those things? Or do you spend your time trying to help those who have been hurt before. Do you try to ignore the accusations, acting as if they never happened, or do you apologize, and say how terrible these things are, and how you support victims?
I think for me, it comes down to how you handle it. Yes, people make mistakes, yes some mistakes can ruin other people’s lives. But if you show regret for your actions, and go forward trying to prevent other actions from occurring, I think you deserve my respect. Life is hard, and no one has lived it without doing things they regret. Just make sure that when you make mistakes, you do regret them. Otherwise, you are still part of the problem.
All I want you to take away from this is there isn’t an easy answer, and if someone’s answer is different from yours, you shouldn’t scold or mock them, because this isn’t obvious.
This is a sensitive subject, and I tried my best to handle it sensitively, and if you aren’t satisfied with my answer, that’s fine. But I tried my best.