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Can and Should We Separate the Artist From the Art?

I was scrolling through the suggested section on Netflix, and an old show I used to love popped up, House of Cards. The political drama about a congressman who manipulates his way into the Presidency. It was love at first watch. For someone who didn’t understand the roles of most government officials, I was learning while being educated at the same time. When the news surfaced regarding Kevin Spacey, who plays Frank Underwood, being accused of sexually assaulting twenty young men, I immediately stopped watching the show. House of Cards went on to release another season but without the involvement from Spacey. 

The civil suit for Anthony Rapp, the first man to accuse Kevin Spacey of sexual assault, took place in New York federal court two weeks ago. This coincides with the information that Kevin Spacey is set to appear in a new Italian film. His first project since the allegations in 2017 and formal lawsuit in 2018. It all begs the question, if possible, should we denounce an artist but still be allowed to enjoy the art they made? 

This topic often comes up when referring to musical artists. Kodak Black, Tory Lanez, and Shek West are just a few examples of artists who experienced a slight dip in their followers and music streams following their various charges but didn’t receive the backlash they deserved. Continued support for these artists is justified by the ability to like the music without condoning what the artists do in their personal lives. 

Does such separation exist? Can we continue to love Frank Underwood but dislike Kevin Spacey? The lines within television or films are blurrier than music because actors are not portraying themselves. At the same time, actors reap benefits when their TV show or movie is being streamed. Even if you do not socially support the artist, if you stream their art, you are supporting them one way or the other. When it comes down to it, “separating the art from the artist” seems nothing more than a ploy to make ourselves feel better for enjoying these guilty pleasures.

NYC, NYCTastemakers, TV, Television, KevinSpacey, HouseOfCards, 

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