Can you seperate a writer or actor from their art or performance?

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Thinking of people like Pollanski, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby or Kevin Spacey.


Don't think that I can offer a rock solid answer to this issue myself. It has to be on a case by case basis. Woody is by far my favorite of these four examples, and I think if Woody has done the things he is accused of (molestation or worse of a minor) he should have to serve whatever sentence he has been accused of. If he were able to avoid this because of his position in society, it would be a tragedy. The question of his guilt or innocence is certainly clouded because of Mia and Dylan Farrow's accusations; however, many (including myself) have doubts about Mia's accusations, and what she may have said to their step-children. In short (too late) Woody needs to have more than accusations against him to determine his guilt.

What if he is proven to be guilty? Take the case of Bill Cosby, who had a number of accusers along with a conviction that will probably see him stay in prison for a long time. Does that take away from the characters he created? Huxtable, Fat Albert and the Gang, etc... I don't think so. I despise what Cosby did, but despite what Cosby did, he still created some good art. I can see hating Cosby, but I don't see why that makes me hate The Cosby Show or Fat Albert.

I have not considered all the issues, so jump in and say if you agree or disagree. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anyone's guilt or innocence, I am just saying that is a person so intertwined with their art that you cannot view the two separately?



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



I can but apparently a lot of people can't...Bill Cosby seems to be unforgivable yet there are people out there who won't even entertain the thought that Michael Jackson was a pedophile.



I can but apparently a lot of people can't...Bill Cosby seems to be unforgivable yet there are people out there who won't even entertain the thought that Michael Jackson was a pedophile.

Can you enjoy Bill Cosby's comedy or Michael Jackson's art?



Can you separate a writer or actor from their art or performance? Thinking of people like Pollanski, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby or Kevin Spacey?
Yes I can. I love Woody Allen films and Kevin Spacey is a great actor. I've not seen much of Roman Pollanski's films. And I never liked Bill Cosby.

...Bill Cosby seems to be unforgivable yet there are people out there who won't even entertain the thought that Michael Jackson was a pedophile.
Bill Cosby is unforgivable. Michael Jackson, was innocent until proven guilty. As far as I know he was never proven to be a pedophile.



Now that the truth has come out about Kevni Spacey, should his two Oscars be revoked?
Hell no. He might have shown some bad judgement but he doesn't deserve to be burnt alive.



Unless the crime was involved in the production of said work I tend to go by its content, especially given that many other people will be involved in creating it. I mean films like Repulsion and Chinatown actually take child sexual abuse and its potential for long term harm very seriously. You could say the same with Mizoguchi who's personal life with women was supposedly far from spotless yet made some of the best feminist films of his era.



I kind of liked The Birth of a Nation (2016), but the movie seems so badly received because of the rape allegations against the filmmaker.



I like Woody's films, and I would love to see his new movie. If he abused his wife when she was younger or Dylan Farrow he should be prosecuted; however, when some of Mia's other children come forward and say they think Mia has tried to coach Dylan in what to say, or to turn all of them against Woody I have to wonder. Either way though, I don't see why any of this should release Amazon from it's contract to release the film that is in the can. If they want to buy out Woody's contract after that, or return the film and the rights for Woody to have someone else to release it, so be it. I don't believe Woody is a saint, and his relationship Mia's adopted daughter is strange to say the least; but there needs to be proof or more support of molestation or rape before he is convicted.



I've always depended on the kindness of strangers
All I require is talent.... These "elite heads" are always hypocrites.. One minute they applaud one person, and then they'll flip after seeing a tweet. They don't have principles, they just wanna make money and know the formulas. Just make a good (not great) movie, and I'll be satisfied. Art to me is more important than food (movies, music, comedy) and once it runs out, I'm better off dead.



I mirror the views presented by @MoreOrLess. Also to add to that, if one of these individuals has broken the law, then I am more interested in seeing them getting punished for their actions rather than taking my anger out on the movie/series.



There is an article written by Charles McGrath for The New York Times, published June 21, 2012, entitled "Good Art, Bad People" that discusses this topic. Though McGrath references the likes of Dickens, Picasso, and Byron rather than modern actors, musicians, or athletes, the points remain valid; good art is created by bad people all the time.


I would argue that once art is released to the world, it belongs to all of us regardless of copyright law. We may not have publishing rights and we all know that "Pirating is not a victimless crime" yet the art itself, or rather the joy we get from the art is ours and can never be taken away. No, awards should not be taken away because someone did a bad thing, the art itself has not been diminished. Nor has the impact of the art at the time it was created.


The issue of whether or not we can separate the art from the artist comes down to parasocial interaction (PSI) which is when a member of an audience begins to feel as though they actually know the performers they are watching and develop a one-sided bond. I am paraphrasing the Oxford Reference page on PSI, an interesting read. For example, I grew up watching The Cosby Show. I looked up to Cliff Huxtable; he reminded me of my grandfather. It was difficult for me to accept that he could have done the things he was accused of. Cliff Huxtable would never have done those things but would Bill Cosby? I had to accept that I didn't know Cosby and that perhaps he did do those things. However, Bill Cosby being convicted and going to prison can never change the fact that Cliff Huxtable was a man to be admired and a father figure to many. Or that JELL-O is friggin' delicious.



Ami-Scythe's Avatar
A bucket of anxiety
It's hard to. I would like to just enjoy the person's art but knowing about who they are and what they've done makes it awkward. It's like a chef giving you their best prepared dessert and then admitting to have raped 80 or so women while you're eating.
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Ami-Scythe



Good points.

There is an article written by Charles McGrath for The New York Times, published June 21, 2012, entitled "Good Art, Bad People" that discusses this topic. Though McGrath references the likes of Dickens, Picasso, and Byron rather than modern actors, musicians, or athletes, the points remain valid; good art is created by bad people all the time.


I would argue that once art is released to the world, it belongs to all of us regardless of copyright law. We may not have publishing rights and we all know that "Pirating is not a victimless crime" yet the art itself, or rather the joy we get from the art is ours and can never be taken away. No, awards should not be taken away because someone did a bad thing, the art itself has not been diminished. Nor has the impact of the art at the time it was created.


The issue of whether or not we can separate the art from the artist comes down to parasocial interaction (PSI) which is when a member of an audience begins to feel as though they actually know the performers they are watching and develop a one-sided bond. I am paraphrasing the Oxford Reference page on PSI, an interesting read. For example, I grew up watching The Cosby Show. I looked up to Cliff Huxtable; he reminded me of my grandfather. It was difficult for me to accept that he could have done the things he was accused of. Cliff Huxtable would never have done those things but would Bill Cosby? I had to accept that I didn't know Cosby and that perhaps he did do those things. However, Bill Cosby being convicted and going to prison can never change the fact that Cliff Huxtable was a man to be admired and a father figure to many. Or that JELL-O is friggin' delicious.