Problematic Artists

Okay, so I’m going to skip out on conspiracy theory Monday this week to talk about a topic that has been rife in the news lately- famous people being accused of horrible things aka your fave is problematic. With everything going on with Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein I thought it would be relevant to talk about separating the art from the artist- and if someone has been proved to be a bad person should we count out their art and disregard it completely.

Let’s start with some of the most famous, current cases.

Chris Brown-  Chris Brown has been very famous for his problems. Popular 21st Century pop singer Brown, has had many cases of violence against women. There is a large belief online that people should boycott Brown’s music and no longer buy it. But, does what he sing affect what he does outside of it? People are listening to the songs, not listening to him you could argue.

Harvey Weinstein- Hollywood producer Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of assault spanning across a wide range of time. He’s had his BFI fellowship removed and has been removed from a few academies. Should we stop watching films he has produced just because of his acts? Watching the films isn’t supporting Weinstein, what about the many actors, directors, producers and everyone else involved in the movie? Movie’s are a form of art, and can we separate the art from the artist?

So, with these two big highly publicised and relevant examples I am now going to point out a few not as highly publicised and known cases. I’ve attached links to the names below as sources and for people to look into themselves.

Dr Seuss– RACIST. RACIST. RACIIIISSSTTTT. All you’ve got to do is google his old comics he wrote to see this. It’s horrible to read.

Salvador Dali yes, I get his whole thing was being surreal and different to the rest, but Dali took it too far and was a homophobe. He was also quoted as saying “Hitler turned (him) on”… If anyone made a comment like that now, they would become boycotted.

Roald Dahl- Even the author of those books that have taught many children valuable lessons was problematic. He said there’s always a reason why anti-anything comes up. And even goes as far as to say “Hitler didn’t pick on (the Jews) for no reason”…

Lewis Carroll– When you read Alice in wonderland and through the looking glass it’s very obvious Carroll wasn’t 100% normal, but when you look into him as a person he had a very strong fascination towards children. Even the BBC looked into his suspected perversion and paedophilic nature.

I’m not saying any of these people should be supported. And there are a lot more artists if you look into it, but I didn’t want to turn this into a witch hunt of a post.

But it raises the question, when can art be separated from artist and when is it okay to still listen to/read or look at art from a problematic artist. If people are going to shame me for dancing to Chris Brown in the club, I think the same people doing it should look at their own favourites and check they’re squeaky clean before passing judgment.

When does it become wrong to support a problematic artist? Is it okay when they’re dead, or considered classical literature or art but not if it’s recent? Or should we just bin every piece of art be it books or painting or video or anything, and start again only allowing people who have no past history or current thoughts or future thoughts of anything degrading or violent or anything?

I don’t want a fight, it’s just an interesting topic and I want to know what other people’s opinions are.


3 thoughts on “Problematic Artists

  1. Hmmm. You have a really good point. For me personally, any likeness that I had towards that celebrity would be truly affected. As far as boycotting a movie they were once in or a song I like that they wrote 10 years ago… I doubt it.

    Anything new moving forward might be a slightly different situation but if let’s say Kevin Spacey directed a movie but my favorite actress was starring in it… I’d probably still watch it.

    The owner of Jimmy Johns. He slaughters innocent and endangered animals for sport, I won’t eat at any of his establishments. But that’s my choice.


      1. True. I am sure people will judge you or say something, ((GASP)) “You’re going to see a Kevin Spacey movie?!!”
        It is what it is and without being there or knowing the WHOLE situation you hate to take sides. However these celebrities are confessing to such acts. Ugh. I just hope none of my faves turn out to be pervs.


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