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The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:07 am
by Simon
I recently saw an interview where Jerry Seinfeld stated that he can still enjoy the old shows of Bill Cosby despite his history with sexual harassment. The interviewer disagreed and probably also convinced Seinfeld of the opposite (hard to tell whether Seinfeld was being honest, because he said it in a joking way).
Anyway, that question comes up again and again, especially when people from the creative industries are misbehaving. I remember having this conversation years ago when Michael Jackson was accused of molesting children.
Now people demand to throw away film dvds starring Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman because they are accused of harassing people sexually because they were in a position of power, on the other end of the food chain etc.
What are your thoughts?
I really like House of Cards, and in a perverse way I am not quite sure if rewatching the episodes again now would maybe even enhance the despicable character of Underwood. There is this quote in the first season where Underwood says to a journalist "Everything in life is about sex... except sex; sex is about power!" How odd the guys present at that filming must have felt who had been harassed by Spacey at that time (if that had been the case obviously).

Anyway, can you still enjoy the work/art of a person when you find out that they were assholes?

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:14 pm
by Pingu
A very good and apposite question.

Personally I think no is the answer.. but it does depend on the nature of the offence. We're not clear (yet) on exactly what Spacey or Hoffman are guilty of. Even if it's relatively low level harassment it'll be hard to see them in a film or whatever without it feeling tainted.

It depends also on the medium. Actors playing parts are interesting because you have to suspend your disbelief, even with big names who always deliver similar performances. As soon as you know something unwholesome about an actor, this inevitably impacts on any role they play and therefore ruins the overall illusion/effect of the film/tv show. Try watching OJ Simpson in the Naked Gun movies.

With other things, say music or writing, I think it's the same effect but more so. There can't be many people still listening to Gary Glitter, however much they loved his music in the 70s. And in some art forms, say writing, the whole artistic effect is based on the world view of the artist, which again if shown to be distasteful, bismirches the whole artwork.

The grey area comes with more 'distanced' artworks, like painting or composition. The BBC showed something recently where a significant artist from I think the early 1900s had been shown to have abused his children. There was a debate as to whether his art could be displayed or not. Then there's the music of Wagner. The films of Leni Riefenstahl. Or the poetry of Anne Sexton (who had mental health issues which may qualify her behaviour).

Perhaps the bottom line is that certain significant artworks can still be studied or examined, regardless of the transgressions/politics of the artist, or used/displayed in a situation which does not ignore the controversy.

Enjoyed is a different question. For me, enjoying a work of art is not more important than the life or wellbeing of a single human being. If I discovered tomorrow that my favourite singer or musician was a child molester or white supremacist, I'd stop enjoying their work immediately. Not by choice, but by instinct.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:55 pm
by Innuendoes
I think it depends on the person and what they actually did. From what I have heard, which hasn't been a lot, Dustin Hoffman didn't actually do anything other than to make some suggestions and ask questions whether 2 women would consider sex with him. That's basically it.

I have to say I have nothing against Dustin Hoffman at all. I don't think what he did was THAT *bad* and I have loved his acting abilities and parts ever since the very first movie I saw him in. Nobody could have done it like he did.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/n ... ment-claim

In Bill Cosby's case, he did quite a bit more. What he did was really bad, in fact. He drugged women or that is what he is going to trial for, and he fondled them and had them fondle him while they were drugged and couldn't fight back. Apparently somewhere in the vicinity of 100 women have come forward with just about the same story.

I am about the same regarding him only that I am shocked and sickened by it But the thing is, for me, I grew up loving Bill Cosby, as an actor, a comedian and also a singer. What a great performer he has always been, in those respects. And after I had my son, they were playing his songs on the kid's radio station that was played in school and my son loved him to bits. He's almost like an uncle in an odd way. I can't hate him for what he did, even though it's really bad. I would say, I might be detached from what he did in some way because I am not feeling the outrage that I should. So, I would still watch him but I would also never be able to get that out of my mind, every time I saw him that he probably abused any half way decent looking woman in the movie or TV show I am watching at the same time and that will or would feel pretty strange.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/new ... ow-w485797

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:24 pm
by JLP
Simon wrote:I recently saw an interview where Jerry Seinfeld stated that he can still enjoy the old shows of Bill Cosby despite his history with sexual harassment. The interviewer disagreed and probably also convinced Seinfeld of the opposite (hard to tell whether Seinfeld was being honest, because he said it in a joking way).
Anyway, that question comes up again and again, especially when people from the creative industries are misbehaving. I remember having this conversation years ago when Michael Jackson was accused of molesting children.
Now people demand to throw away film dvds starring Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman because they are accused of harassing people sexually because they were in a position of power, on the other end of the food chain etc.
What are your thoughts?
I really like House of Cards, and in a perverse way I am not quite sure if rewatching the episodes again now would maybe even enhance the despicable character of Underwood. There is this quote in the first season where Underwood says to a journalist "Everything in life is about sex... except sex; sex is about power!" How odd the guys present at that filming must have felt who had been harassed by Spacey at that time (if that had been the case obviously).

Anyway, can you still enjoy the work/art of a person when you find out that they were assholes?


Well 60 million or so people voted for a twat who advocates grabbing women by the pussy so I guess that answers the question. :shock:

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:07 pm
by Leigh Burne
If I refused to watch certain films based on the personal activities and/or views of the person who made it, then I'd never watch anything involving Mel Gibson. And that would be a huge shame because, whatever else he may be, he's an excellent actor and director who's been in and made some stellar movies.

As someone once said to me - it's about the art, not the artist.

That said, I will concede that gets a bit more difficult when the person involved has actually done something illegal (and of this nature) as opposed to just harbouring some... questionable life views.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:51 pm
by icy
Good question. For me, it depends but I already know I never could watch Bill Cosby again. Which is saying something, because he used to be one of my favorite TV actors.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:53 pm
by Roger
I certainly have no issues watching The Thick Of It, including the first two series with Christopher Langham. His case was slightly dodgy anyway.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:55 pm
by sacko
icy wrote:Good question. For me, it depends but I already know I never could watch Bill Cosby again. Which is saying something, because he used to be one of my favorite TV actors.


bill cosby is shite though

now imagine if similar stories are being told about freddie.

would we think the same?

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:55 am
by icy
sacko wrote:
icy wrote:Good question. For me, it depends but I already know I never could watch Bill Cosby again. Which is saying something, because he used to be one of my favorite TV actors.


bill cosby is shite though

now imagine if similar stories are being told about freddie.

would we think the same?

Oh, for sure I think he is shit now. At one point, I really admired the guy. Since the allegations, to be honest, I do think differently about him. I could not watch him at all now.
As for Freddie. I've never heard of any allegations towards him. Plenty to be said about Freddie, but God forbid if any sexual allegations of abuse came towards him...I would honestly be horrified. I couldn't say if I could ever listen or watch him again.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:05 pm
by Simon
Indeed... I guess almost nobody would have expected this from Spacey...

However: Please all bear in mind that nothing has been proven, nobody has been judged guilty... all we have is an apology by Spacey even though he allegedly does not recall anything.
Yes, lots of people now accuse him, but that's all... accusations... Even though these are horrible accusations, we should not forget that accused people should be deemed innocent until proven guilty.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:46 pm
by Roger
Simon wrote:Indeed... I guess almost nobody would have expected this from Spacey...

However: Please all bear in mind that nothing has been proven, nobody has been judged guilty... all we have is an apology by Spacey even though he allegedly does not recall anything.
Yes, lots of people now accuse him, but that's all... accusations... Even though these are horrible accusations, we should not forget that accused people should be deemed innocent until proven guilty.


He's also now 'seeking treatment'.

I agree that everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence. However, when someone goes down the "I'm seeking treatment for my behaviour" rather than the "I'm going to sue my accusers" route, it does seem to be an admission of liability. (Of course that's not to say that those who threaten their accusers are innocent! Speaking of which, when is Trump going to sue all his accusers as he said he would?|)

Incidentally I heard rumours about Spacey YEARS ago. The rumours aren't quite as prominent as rumours about others, but they've always been there. Of course, that also doesn't make them true, but it makes the allegations a bit less surprising.

There's also a danger of the 'gay rumours' being conflated with the abuse rumours. There are plenty of gay actors out there of course, but their sexuality is their own business as long as it's consensual. If they want it to stay secret, that's up to them, and no newspaper, journalist or recently established religion should challenge that.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:25 pm
by Capt. Den Ronson
Roger wrote:
Simon wrote:Indeed... I guess almost nobody would have expected this from Spacey...

However: Please all bear in mind that nothing has been proven, nobody has been judged guilty... all we have is an apology by Spacey even though he allegedly does not recall anything.
Yes, lots of people now accuse him, but that's all... accusations... Even though these are horrible accusations, we should not forget that accused people should be deemed innocent until proven guilty.


He's also now 'seeking treatment'.

I agree that everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence. However, when someone goes down the "I'm seeking treatment for my behaviour" rather than the "I'm going to sue my accusers" route, it does seem to be an admission of liability. (Of course that's not to say that those who threaten their accusers are innocent! Speaking of which, when is Trump going to sue all his accusers as he said he would?|)

Incidentally I heard rumours about Spacey YEARS ago. The rumours aren't quite as prominent as rumours about others, but they've always been there. Of course, that also doesn't make them true, but it makes the allegations a bit less surprising.

There's also a danger of the 'gay rumours' being conflated with the abuse rumours. There are plenty of gay actors out there of course, but their sexuality is their own business as long as it's consensual. If they want it to stay secret, that's up to them, and no newspaper, journalist or recently established religion should challenge that.


I spoke to an employee at the Old Vic last year who informed me that Spacey was a proper bully during his stint there. She never mentioned anything linked to these other allegations.

Still, he was great in Usual Suspects and Seven so there's your counterbalance :shock:

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:53 pm
by Roger
Capt. Den Ronson wrote:
Roger wrote:
Simon wrote:Indeed... I guess almost nobody would have expected this from Spacey...

However: Please all bear in mind that nothing has been proven, nobody has been judged guilty... all we have is an apology by Spacey even though he allegedly does not recall anything.
Yes, lots of people now accuse him, but that's all... accusations... Even though these are horrible accusations, we should not forget that accused people should be deemed innocent until proven guilty.


He's also now 'seeking treatment'.

I agree that everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence. However, when someone goes down the "I'm seeking treatment for my behaviour" rather than the "I'm going to sue my accusers" route, it does seem to be an admission of liability. (Of course that's not to say that those who threaten their accusers are innocent! Speaking of which, when is Trump going to sue all his accusers as he said he would?|)

Incidentally I heard rumours about Spacey YEARS ago. The rumours aren't quite as prominent as rumours about others, but they've always been there. Of course, that also doesn't make them true, but it makes the allegations a bit less surprising.

There's also a danger of the 'gay rumours' being conflated with the abuse rumours. There are plenty of gay actors out there of course, but their sexuality is their own business as long as it's consensual. If they want it to stay secret, that's up to them, and no newspaper, journalist or recently established religion should challenge that.


I spoke to an employee at the Old Vic last year who informed me that Spacey was a proper bully during his stint there. She never mentioned anything linked to these other allegations.

Still, he was great in Usual Suspects and Seven so there's your counterbalance :shock:


Crap in Superman Returns though. I guess he and the director had other things on their mind.

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:10 pm
by Capt. Den Ronson
Roger wrote:
Crap in Superman Returns though. I guess he and the director had other things on their mind.


Maybe they'll get Joel Schumacher in to finish the Bohemian Rhapsody film?

Re: The person and the artist (sexual harassment et al)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:15 pm
by Simon
Roger wrote:
Simon wrote:Indeed... I guess almost nobody would have expected this from Spacey...

However: Please all bear in mind that nothing has been proven, nobody has been judged guilty... all we have is an apology by Spacey even though he allegedly does not recall anything.
Yes, lots of people now accuse him, but that's all... accusations... Even though these are horrible accusations, we should not forget that accused people should be deemed innocent until proven guilty.


He's also now 'seeking treatment'.

I agree that everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence. However, when someone goes down the "I'm seeking treatment for my behaviour" rather than the "I'm going to sue my accusers" route, it does seem to be an admission of liability. (Of course that's not to say that those who threaten their accusers are innocent! Speaking of which, when is Trump going to sue all his accusers as he said he would?|)

Incidentally I heard rumours about Spacey YEARS ago. The rumours aren't quite as prominent as rumours about others, but they've always been there. Of course, that also doesn't make them true, but it makes the allegations a bit less surprising.

There's also a danger of the 'gay rumours' being conflated with the abuse rumours. There are plenty of gay actors out there of course, but their sexuality is their own business as long as it's consensual. If they want it to stay secret, that's up to them, and no newspaper, journalist or recently established religion should challenge that.


Yeah, that statement was pretty odd... I wonder if he had help formulating that.