Art is a reflection of our society. It takes on many forms such as film, television, novels, poetry, painting, sculpture, comic books, poetry and even video games. It is art that will outlive everyone. It is what people preserve.
Art is not just a reflection of the world, it is also the reflection of those who create it. But in these divisive times, a question has come up about how one should view art, especially art that was either made or allowed to be made by someone who has committed sexual assault. How should we judge these people and the art they created, especially when that particular art has been so influential on our culture? Can we separate art from the artist?
With the rise of the MeToo Movement, many people have been called out for their past history of sexual harassment and assault Known people accused of sexual assault in just the film industry alone include
Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, John Lasseter, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and recently Bryan Singer, just to name a few.
As a lifelong film fan and as someone who loves films from all generations, I have been struggling with this question since the exposure of Weinstein. With so many people in the industry being accused of sexual assault, it has been difficult revisiting films from these individual people.
When it comes to an artist dealing with personal issues such as drugs, alcohol or divorce, it is easier to separate the art from the artist because those are usually personal issues that do not necessarily bring harm to others. Sexual assault is a whole other thing, and it must be addressed.
Woody Allen has continuously denied the accusations made against by his adopted daughter, all while marrying his other adopted daughter in the process. Roman Polanski ended up fleeing the country after he drugged, sodomized and raped a thirteen-year-old girl.
Some of these men have committed heinous sexual assault crimes and need to be punished for them. Just because they have made great films does not mean they are free of the consequences of their actions.
On the other hand, we are living in a world where there is no longer any forgiveness or second chances. In the judicial system, if a person is accused of something, that person is innocent, until proven guilty. But that logic has been fading away in a cultural sense.In most cases, one can easily separate art from the artist. But with sexual assault it is different.
As a society, people cannot just throw away the films that these men have been a part of and pretend that they never happened, but at the same time, we cannot let their behavior go unpunished no matter how great the films are. But people must also be willing to listen and to allow other to grow and seek a second chance.
When it comes to art, artists create their work for an audience. While the artist still has creative control of the art itself, but when it is made, it belongs to the audience. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choice.
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