There’s an old adage that you should never meet your heroes, because you’ll always be disappointed by them. Humans are capable of creating incredible works of art across a diverse range of mediums, but they’re not exactly flawless paragons of virtue. They are flawed and imperfect individuals, who are capable of doing incredible harm to others.
Fame, fortune, and being placed on a pedestal also does strange things to a person, either corrupting them or amplifying inherent negativity within their personalities that is often swept under the rug. A more recent example of this is Marilyn Manson, who has been outed as being a rather craptacular person. This comes in the wake of Manson’s former partner Evan Rachel Wood alleging that the musician groomed and abused her during their relationship.
The question is, is it possible to still enjoy the work of artists, when their reputation has been tainted by such allegations? There’s no shortage of examples either, and even with the added context of there being a grey area of crappiness displayed by people, it can make viewing their material feel awkward in retrospect.
JK Rowling’s transphobic statements and overall pettiness has been incredibly harmful to the transgender community, Bill Cosby’s sitcoms were wiped from existence with a Thanos-level snap when he was accused of multiple rapes, and the alleged predatory pursuit of teenage girls by R Kelly is just incredibly gross if true. In terms of comic books, a recent read of The Batman’s Grave felt tinged with controversy thanks to allegations of writer Warren Ellis grooming multiple women went public, and even my love of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has been sullied by the knowledge of Raiden’s voice actor being accused of sexually harrassing fans.
It makes you think: Is it okay to enjoy their content? I think there’s a world of difference between controversial celebrities, and we’re not veering into “Hitler’s watercolour paintings were actually quite nice” territory, but there’s always going to be some level of discomfort to experience. What do you think? Is it okay to enjoy the content that a terrible person produces?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.
Last Updated: February 5, 2021