IF your favourite pop star, actor or comic is accused of serious crimes, should you reject their work?
It’s the ethical question that has gripped Britain amid the new sex scandal hitting US singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, as well as fresh allegations about Michael Jackson’s lust for young boys.
Michael Jackson’s incredible music legacy has been seriously tarnished by allegations of sexual abuse against young boys[/caption]
R&B icon R Kelly is just the latest star affected.
So should radio stations keep playing their tracks? Should we still enjoy their music?
By paying for their art we make them richer.
Aggravated sexual abuse charges have now been lodged against R Kelly[/caption]
Yet if we ignore them, we deny ourselves access to great works. Here, two Sun writers debate opposing sides of the argument.
says Sam Carlisle
I HAVE had to change my will this week because I had requested that my favourite Ryan Adams song is played at my funeral.
Chances are you hadn’t heard of Adams until now.
Musician Ryan Adams stands accused of harassing young female musicians for sex[/caption]
He’d never had a top ten single. But last week several women accused him of extorting them for sex in return for making them stars, claims he writes off as “mistakes” or completely denies.
How cruel for fans, who believed he should have been famous for tender, confessional break-up songs, that his name has quickly become synonymous with music industry sexual harassment.
Let’s put him in context. Adams is a darling among songwriters and music snobs.
Paedophile Gary Glitter is currently serving time in a prison in Dorset, specifically for sexual offenders[/caption]
Elton John credited the country singer with “making me do better” after hearing his debut solo album, Heartbreaker.
Noel Gallagher was “blown away” by Adams’ cover of Wonderwall, saying: “He brought out the blues, the sadness. He owned the f*** out of it.”
Adams is my most-played artist on Spotify. I’ve travelled the country to see him perform. On stage he appears as mentally messed up as his unkempt hair, openly discussing a harsh childhood that led to adult addictions.
I even had an album cover on my wall which Adams had signed, “To Sam, I love you, kiss me, Ryan xxxx”.
Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey was charged with indecent assault over the alleged groping of a young man in a bar[/caption]
That’s gone up in the loft. Beautifully crafted ballads don’t offset being a possible sex pest.
With all the post-Weinstein #MeToo allegations, I usually believe the accused are innocent until proven guilty. But when so many “victims” have similar sinister details in their stories, that becomes harder for me. In Adams’ case the accusers describe classic vengeful, mentally coercive behaviour. The youngest was 14.
Ex-wife Mandy Moore had a fine singing career before their marriage and became an award-winning actress after. But she disappeared while they were together.
She said this week: “I was living my life for him. It was an entirely unhealthy dynamic. I had no sense of self.”
John Lennon preached peace and love to the world, yet he hit his wife Cynthia[/caption]
As a young woman I experienced coercive control from a long-term boyfriend.
I shivered when I read these women’s familiar testimonies. I can’t listen to Adams’ tracks now without flashing back to that toxic relationship.
Nor can I advise my 12-year-old son to be considerate with future girlfriends, while playing Heartbreaker at home.
Of course, many of our most worshipped artists have been total gits.
The great author Ernest Hemingway was certainly homophobic and has been accused of hating women too[/caption]
John Lennon battered his wife Cynthia at home but preached peace and love in public. Do I ban The Beatles?
Do I stop listening to Michael Jackson? Or banish the works of authors like Ernest Hemingway because they were anti-women? Liam Neeson film anyone?
It comes down to whether you believe enjoying someone’s art means you endorse their “crimes”. I don’t feel you increase the incidence of domestic violence because you listen to Love Me Do.
We can’t align our tastes only with creative minds who are morally and politically spotless. We would have no one left.
What we can do is make individual choices to turn the sound down on alleged perpetrators. For me that means no more Ryan Adams.
says Rod Liddle
HAS your favourite pop star been outed yet for having done something he or she shouldn’t have done?
Don’t worry if not. It will happen soon.
Beloved children’s author Roald Dahl died in 1990, was strongly and vocally anti-Semitic[/caption]
Or your favourite film star or TV personality or writer.
Or indecently propositioned the Archbishop of Canterbury, or something.
And once that’s discovered, the shrieking will start. Largely from the lefties, from the #MeToo monkeys.
Actor and director Woody Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan alleges he sexually assaulted her when she was just seven[/caption]
It’s not enough to say that this person maybe once did something bad. That’s fair enough. I guess we have a right to know.
But they go further — he has to be BANNED. Should never be allowed to be seen again on our TV screens, in the cinema.
Not only should he not be allowed to be a public figure NOW, but everything he has done in the past will be erased. It will be as if he never existed.
And this will happen regardless of whether the star in question is actually convicted of any offence.
Veteran sitcom star Bill Cosby, once dubbed ‘America’s Dad’ was jailed last year for indecent assault[/caption]
All that matters is that someone said he was once horrible, or did a horrible thing — and that’s that.
The grey legions of People Who Have Never Done Anything Wrong will have their way.
Their denunciation is a fabulously childish and stupid way to behave. Facile, bone-headed, inhumane and frankly fascistic.
It is also unchristian. Every man is better than his worst act. Every man is to be valued even if he has maybe slipped from the pedestal once or twice.
Aussie entertainer Rolf Harris was jailed in 2014 on 12 counts of indecent assault, one against a girl of just eight[/caption]
Can you still like a musician, say, who has been accused of mistreating women, such as Ryan Adams?
Of course you can.
The whole issue was dealt with 70 years ago in a brilliant essay by George Orwell called Some Notes on Salvador Dali.
Dali was a brilliant surrealist painter — and an unspeakably foul individual who maltreated almost everyone with whom he came into contact.
The artist Caravaggio may have revolutionised painting, but he also killed a love rival over a tennis match and made erotic images of boys[/caption]
Orwell accepted that it was perfectly reasonable to admire Dali’s draughtsmanship while at the same time accepting that he was, as an individual, beyond the pale.
Only when Dali’s perverted obsessions — necrophilia and, er, poo, to give two examples — found their way into his artwork did Orwell become a little squeamish.
This seems to me about right. All of us have flawed lives. None of us is perfect.
Rock music would not exist if we were to banish from it everyone who had once made some sort of transgression against our modern sensibilities.
Action film star Liam Neeson’s career is in the balance, following his revelations about walking the streets looking for a black man to kill[/caption]
We wouldn’t be allowed to read Orwell, either — he was frequently homophobic and even anti-Semitic.
But those crimes do not detract from the brilliance of Coming Up For Air and 1984.
And nor should they be allowed to.
The people calling the shots these days think they themselves are pristine and have never done wrong.
They are self-righteous, deluded and usually not very bright.
It should be possible for all of us to enjoy someone’s music, or art or literature, while at the same time knowing that they may not be the nicest person on this Earth of ours.