Is it even possible to consume media without supporting an abusive man?


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Is it even possible to consume media without supporting an abusive man?

Enough of the ‘separate the artist from the art’

Harvey Weinstein is unique both in the scope of his influence on popular culture and the scope of his abuse, which was by all accounts systematic and required the complicity of a large swath of the film industry.

But Weinstein, a powerful man with his fingerprints all over the entertainment world, is far from being the male celebrity who has been accused of violence towards women.

Take, for instance, R. Kelly or Floyd Mayweather or Johnny Depp or Woody Allen or Bill Cosby or Ben Affleck or Sean Penn or Chris Brown or Bill O'Reilly or Kodak Black or Terrence Howard or Ray Rice or Charlie Sheen or Roman Polanski or Mel Gibson or Nelly or Dr. Luke or Mike Tyson or Donald fucking Trump.

Haha! Wow! There is no way to engage with the entertainment world without inadvertently supporting men who hurt women. Men who have been accused or even convicted of harassing and assaulting women physically and sexually are so deeply embedded into American culture that extracting them would decimate the media landscape.

We all love watching movies. We all love listening to music and cheering for our favorite athletes.

You've gotta separate the art from the artist, right? Who cares what he does when he's off the court, off the field, off set. Good Will Hunting is a masterpiece. The Ignition Remix is a fucking bop. And of course I watched Mayweather vs. McGregor!

The list of modern classics that become off-limits if you want to boycott media produced, written, played or acted in by abusers is long and harrowing, from Annie Hall to "Hot in Herre" to the Cosby Show to Fox News to boxing to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Modern classics that we grew up loving.

When I was in eighth grade, Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street was my favorite movie! No accounting for taste, but still. As a woman who supports women, it is difficult to grapple with the fact that many of the cultural staples that have come to have real, deep meaning in my life came from the minds of men who don't care about women at all.

Because powerful, famous men who hurt women don't just get away with their crimes. They shape our culture in their image. They get everything, and the women that they use and abuse are routinely accused of lying for attention or profit or revenge.

And the immunity that success and celebrity grants abusers does not extend to their famous victims. Rihanna has won 8 Grammys, released 14 number-one hit singles, was named Harvard University's "Humanitarian of the Year" in 2017 and the music made by the man who beat her until she bled still climbs into the Billboard Hot 100 on a regular basis.

Does consuming the things that abusers produce make us, the audience complicit in these acts of violence? It certainly doesn't help. But without a mainstream alternative option, avoiding the movies, music and sporting events that abusers make is a difficult ask when they are everywhere.

But as tough as it might be, it's probably worth a shot. Combine an avoidance of known abusers with the elevation of women, queer individuals and men who aren't violent, and who knows: Maybe this shit will stop.

After all, in an industry as profit-driven as entertainment, if the demand for their work continues to exist, then the way that these men treat women will continue to be a secondary concern.


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