Should we consume the art or products of people accused of sexual abuse?

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, more and more victims of sexual assault have come forward accusing prominent figures. From Harvey Weinstein to Michael Jackson to R. Kelly, consumers of art are now faced with an important moral question: should we continue to consume the art of immoral people?

Yes, because the art is separate from the artist

We consume art because we appreciate the value of the art or the product itself, not because we like the artist. Most of the time, when people consume arts or products, they don't even know the people who have produced them.

Art is a product; the artist doesn't matter

Art is simply a commodity that the artist creates to meet the market's demands. Michael Jackson's songs were made to satisfy his audience and sell albums, and any other person could have sung it and put it in their album. Thus, the artist has nothing to do with it.

Sexual abuse accusations are often unconfirmed

Many of the artists currently being boycotted were simply accused of sexual assault but haven't yet gone through the court system and been found guilty of sexual assault. People are innocent until proven guilty, so it is too early to start boycotting them.

Yes, because we can't change anything anyways

An individual consumer's choices don't actually matter in the marketplace of ideas insofar as the fans and supporters of the artist will continue purchasing their products. So, they might as well continue watching movies and listening to music that they like, given that the status quo won't change anyways.

Fans of the artist will consume the art anyways

Many of the artists accused are very famous and important figures in the art industry with large fanbases. Even if normal consumers boycotted the artist, it wouldn't make a difference because the fans would still be there anyways

It is better to not focus on the artist and create a cult of personality

No, because it is morally disingenuous

Sexual assault is an incredibly traumatic experience that will scar the victims for life, and not something to be lightly dismissed simply because the art is good. Someone who used their position of prominence and power to commit such atrocious actions should never be respected.

The consumer funds the artists' actions

When a consumer makes a purchase, they are making an active decision to support a person. The money with which they purchase an album, the statistics that their streams add influence to, all of these things ultimately go to help the artist who committed atrocious actions.

We must boycott sexual assaulters

No, because it might be dangerous

Given that art is an expression of one's inner thoughts and feelings, an artist who has pedophilic tendencies probably reflects those emotions in their art as well. A consumer who is really into the artist could be influenced by their twisted minds.

Art created by a twisted mind cannot be trusted

Artists accused of things like "sexual addiction" (Kevin Spacey) and pedophilia (Jeffrey Epstein) clearly suffer from mental illnesses. When people consume their art, they might also be affected.
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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 at 13:27 UTC