The day the news broke about Bill Cosby being a serial rapist I erased his comedy albums from my iTunes library and gave up on him. It was simple. He was an individual who I could let go of. Then as a shitstorm of news upon news about everyone and their father started surfacing my moral compass was tested.
What behavior am I capable of looking past?
Several months ago information was released about Joss Whedon being a lying liar who lies. Mainly in the area of being a feminist. Turns out he was pro-female alright. Pro having sexual encounters with females that were not his wife. This account came from said wife. I believed her. It made me sad. But there were no comedy albums to erase. There were decades of fandom. I met several of my best friends because of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Serenity…to this day we connect over it. Do I discount hundreds of people who worked on the show because one guy did something stupid?
Cheaters are gross. If you marry someone with the agreement that you do not have sex with anyone outside the marriage, and you do, you’re gross. I’ll never excuse it and I’ll never be okay with it. But there’s a big difference between engaging in consensual sex and rape. Joss Whedon didn’t rape the women he slept with. So I gave him a pass, with caution.
When Roseanne went on her racist Twitter rampage, it was easy for me to just not watch the show I already wasn’t watching, and continue to dislike the woman I already disliked. I felt bad for her colleagues. But that didn’t make me any less certain I’d never watch a episode of Roseanne in whatever era. Bottom line is, I wasn’t a fan anyway.
The Harvey Weinstein situation gets into even more grey areas. His actions were excused and overlooked by many in his organization including some of my favorite directors. Kill Bill & Pulp Fiction don’t become any less a part of my film collection because Tarantino failed to put an end to Weinstein’s bad behavior. Yes, Tarantino and the others who had awareness but chose the Blue Pill approach could have done something years ago. But Harvey Weinstein wasn’t just wielding his power over the women he raped. He was holding these men’s life’s work hostage. Excuses, for sure. How I handle the guilt I feel is up to me.
Today’s news broke about one of my favorite nerd icons, Chris Hardwick, sexually and mentally abusing an ex-girlfriend. She wrote an essay online about the behavior, in detail. I believe her. I deleted his podcast from iTunes. I stopped following him on social media. I’ll likely start erasing his comedy albums from my iTunes library next.
Chris has been open about being in therapy for years. He’s talked about anxiety and depression and I’m sure he’s had to come face to face with a lot of his insecurities that brought him to a place where he abused a girl so badly she stopped eating. She herself ended her essay noting that he’d become a different guy, now. Is that enough to excuse what he did, then? Not today. Will it ever be? We’ll have to see about that.
Christ Hardwick and Bill Cosby are the art. They are responsible for their behavior.
Kevin Spacey is an ugly piece of the painting. He is responsible for his behavior, the rest of the people in the painting aren’t.
Harvey Weinstein is the curator of the art. He is responsible for his behavior, the art isn’t.
Joss Whedon is the artist who paints the pictures. He’s responsible for his behavior, the pictures are their own entities.
There are many good guys out there. We rarely hear about them because it’s the batshit behavior people want to read about. It’s why TMZ exists. Selfishly I blame social media and the 24-hour news cycle for how much we know about celebrity behavior and I wish it were 1989 again. When I could be obliviously infatuated with an actor I can honestly say I’ll be devastated beyond help to discover isn’t who he appears to be.