Separating Art from the Artist: Accused TV Stars

With more actors and artists being accused of sexual crimes, Callum Costello discusses whether its possible to still enjoy their work.

Callum Costello
27th November 2017
Image: Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia Commons) [Under the following licence 'Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)']

It seems like a day cannot pass without accusations and damning truths being revealed about once beloved and prestigious actors. Off the top of my head; Louis C.K, Jeffrey Tambor, Kevin Spacey, Sylvester Stallone, David Cross, Dustin Hoffman, George Takei and Ben Affleck have all been accused of inappropriate or disgusting behaviour in one way or another in the past few weeks. This has prompted dismissals, cancellations and discussions as to whether the bodies of work of the aforementioned should be viewed at all. I don’t want to talk about the allegations, but I do want to talk about the content - because entertainment is the sum of its parts, not a reflection on its stains.

Entertainment is the sum of its parts, not a reflection on its stains. 

If you've ever sat through the entirety of a film’s credits you’ll be able to appreciate just how many people are involved in the process. Making film and television takes an army - it’s all good and well hiring Jennifer Lawrence but without a design team to make her look like a star, a tech crew to get the best shot of her and a creative team to bring out her best performance, its money wasted. Beyond set talent, there’s an army of figures behind the scenes, away from set, who are integral to the process; without the honeywagon driver there’s no toilets at location. Without the caterers nobody gets fed. If the power cuts out on the Big Bang Stage at Warner Bros Burbank and the facilities technician isn’t present filming cannot take place. Like I said - it takes an army, and most people involved behind the scenes on the making of your favourite shows are never acknowledged.

Making film and television takes an army. 

Whilst it’s nice to consider the big picture, it doesn't hide the ugly truth that when you watch an episode of House of Cards there's the elephant of Kevin Spacey’s rape of a child accusation is present in your mind. It depends on where your moral compass points - I personally think it varies person to person. I can watch Arrested Development - but, comparatively, I haven’t been able to watch a Roman Polanski film for a long time. I’ll still watch and enjoy the original Star Trek series - but the accusations directed towards George Takei don’t endear me to his portrayal of the Sulu character. It’s tricky and without a doubt the legacy and work of these actors is irreparably tainted. What I would implore first and foremost is not to feel guilty for liking a programme that a disgraced actor is involved with - if for no reason other than they’re playing a character likely created by someone else, and that character and performer are separate entities. Also I would encourage you to take solace in the fact that the works these actors belong to were made through the efforts of hundreds of hidden figures. I have no sympathy for Louis C.K. - but I am devastated on behalf of all the innocent talent who lost on the non-release of and cancellation of Louis’ work - they did nothing wrong, and their efforts have been wasted.

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