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Celebrties should not get a free pass for harrasment

Posted on 11.21.2017

An ongoing stream of  harassment and sexual misconduct allegations against big-name celebrities has recently come to light. Whether victims and accusers stepping forward is because they are more comfortable identifying those they accuse, or because society has been taking harassment and sexual misconduct allegations more seriously in recent years is unclear. If it is not already obvious, we should not support celebrities who participate in this disgusting behavior.

“Jeepers Creepers 3” was released Sept. 26 in select theaters, however, many chose to boycott the film because director Victor Salva was convicted in 1988 of molesting a 12-year-old boy who acted in two of his films, according to the Los Angeles Times website. The premiere/early screening event of the film hosted by TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, was shut down due to threats of protests because of the director’s ugly past, according to movieweb.com.

To make matters worse, the assault occurred on the set of a previous movie Salva was filming. Salva was convicted, according to the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry, with production of obscene material. This behavior is repulsive, and Salva’s film career should have ended after his conviction. But still, the “Jeepers Creepers”  franchise has made more than $100 million in box offices, according to IMDb, and the victim, Nathan Winters, has not acted since the incident.

Threats of protests against a convicted child molester’s new movie is exactly what fans should do. We would not support any other regular citizen who is a convicted child molester. So, we should not support any celebrity who has been convicted, or even accused, of such crimes, either.

No one should excuse such behaviors, and we should hold celebrities to a higher standard in our society. In fact, because they are a celebrity, their conduct should be exemplary. It is probably hard for any accuser to come forward with their experience, but it may be even harder for them to come forward when the person they are accusing is rich and powerful.

Kevin Spacey, known for his roles in “American Beauty” and “House of Cards,” was accused of making a sexual advance toward actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was 14, according to Buzzfeed News. After allegations, Spacey tweeted, “I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes as having carried with him all these years.”

Spacey can be sorry and maybe even forgiven, but he must face the consequences of losing fans and their support because of these allegations. Being drunk does not excuse his actions, if what he has been accused of is true.

Gay Talese, an author and journalist told Vanity Fair his opinion on recent accusations about Spacey. He said, “I feel so sad, and I hate that actor [Spacey’s first accuser] that ruined that guy’s [Spacey’s] career.” According to the Washington Post, the Old Vic theater in London uncovered 20 more allegations against  Spacey. It is extremely sad and disheartening that Talese seems to care more about Spacey’s career than the possible trauma that his accusers may have gone through.

That being said, it is often easy to dismiss a person’s feelings when you have not been through a similar situation. I’m sure it takes extreme courage to speak publicly, not only about such experiences, but about someone powerful.

To continue to support celebrities with such allegations made about them only feeds into the ideology that it is OK to behave inappropriately and get away with it.

One of my favorite music artists was accused of sexual harassment at a  musical festival two years ago. When he released an apology statement and admitted that the accusations were true, I stopped listening to him. I encouraged friends to do the same. Sure, I can’t enjoy his music anymore, but at least I’m not supporting someone who thinks it’s okay to sexually harass people. I believe his others fans should do the same, as should all fans of  celebrities accused of sexual harassment or assault. They do not deserve fans continued support or defense,

Netflix has cancelled Kevin Spacey’s “House of Cards” series after allegations against him. They also cancelled Louis C.K.’s stand-up special after C.K was accused of sexual misconduct. Since then, C.K. has admitted the allegations are true. All companies should follow suit with Netflix and stop supporting celebrities accused or convicted of sexual misconduct and harassment and we, as fans, should do the same.

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