Fangirl Friday: On Separating Art from the Artist. Or Not.

Hi, peeps–

Here’s another one of my “I have no answers, and maybe there aren’t any, but let’s talk about this” blogs.

The question: If you find something out about an actor/writer/musician that goes against your moral code/politics/religious leanings/beliefs, does it cause you to re-think your support of that person’s movies/books/TV shows/whatever media they’re engaged in?

Via Urban Dictionary

This is an age of often boundary-less interaction via social media platforms of all kinds. Which can be really cool and really creepy. It allows us to make contact with people all over the world we wouldn’t be able to otherwise, and, in terms of fandom, it allows fans to interact directly with writers, actors, and showrunners, since so many of them are also on social media platforms.

I follow several actors and writers (TV, movie, comics, books) on social media, along with showrunners and producers. I interact with some and, in the case of some actors/showrunners, they interact extensively with fans. As an example of that extensive interaction, I’m thinking here of Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras, show writers, and cast (including actors Tim Rozon, Melanie Scrofano, Kat Barrell, and Dominique Provost-Chalkley). They do it not only on social media, but in real life, too, at fan conventions and other events.

Another actor who interacts with fans (and is also really funny and kind in his interactions) is Chris Evans, best-known for his portrayal of Captain America/Steve Rogers in the Avengers movies. Evans also expresses his views with regard to politics and social justice openly. He skews progressive.

Producer and showrunner Michelle Lovretta (Lost Girl; Killjoys) is another person who is really funny and interacts with fans on social media.

Some actors/celebrities might not interact extensively, but they post quite a bit on social media and they might provide amusing anecdotes and/or inspirational statements of encouragement directed at anybody and everybody. Lindsey Morgan of The 100 is really into wellness, for example, and she posts a lot about that and about self-care on her Instagram account.

Point being, in this age of social media, you’re able to get a sense of the person behind the celebrity, whether they interact with fans or make tons of posts with little interaction. Even if they don’t interact all that much with fans but they do a bunch of posts, you can still see what they’re up to and what they seem to be interested in and what kinds of good works they do, and even their politics if they post that kind of stuff.

So what happens when you find something out about an actor, for example, whose work you’ve admired, but what you find out kind of tarnishes the image you had of that actor?

Do you stop spending money on their movies/stop watching or streaming the TV show(s) they’re in to prevent that network from getting any ratings love from you? Or, in the case of a writer, do you stop buying their books?

If, for example, you find out an actor you really admired has a history of alleged/admitted sexual harassment against fellow actors and staffers on set and off, does that change something for you? Will you continue to support that actor’s movies/roles in the future?

Or how about if you find out a writer whose work you really enjoy has a long history of anti-LGBT statements, and/or misogynist, and/or racist statements? Or perhaps they have a history of saying things that denigrates religious beliefs.

What about if you find out that a musician whose work you’ve enjoyed for years is under investigation by the FBI for sexual misconduct with a minor? And, for the sake of argument, suppose it’s proven this happened.

Do you continue to enjoy watching that person on-screen? Buying their music? Can you separate the art from the artist?

And more importantly, I suppose, should you?

Thoughts to ponder, in this over-information age.

Happy Friday and stop reading this! GET OUTSIDE! 😀


  1. It might make me a bad person, but no I cannot separate the artist from the art and in fact, sometimes I choose to support artists that I might not have known about before, but I like their posts or messages and so I give them a try. Conversely, I have stopped purchasing books or supporting artists who go against things I fundamentally believe in….

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  2. When I learn that an actor/writer/artist/performer espouses and lends a voice in support of racism, misogyny, homophobia, child abuse, etc., I can no longer support that person. It is nigh to impossible for me to separate the artist from their art. On the other hand, when I learn about an artist/performer who speaks out against the aforementioned issues, I become keenly interested in that person’s artistic endeavors. Here’s a recent example. I don’t watch superhero films or TV shows. Please don’t hate me! I just learned that one of my former students, Nafessa Williams, plays the role of Anissa/Black Thunder in the series Black Lightening. She’s also an anti-bullying spokesperson and an ally of the LGBTQI community. So…I’m now watching Black Lightening.

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  3. For me it’s situational. I just follow my gut and typically my gut doesn’t like supporting folks that do/say things that I personally find to be problematic. Is it fair? I’m not sure 🤷‍♀️
    And yes, on the flip side I will actively seek to support those individuals who’s actions align with many of my own ideals/beliefs.


  4. Woody Allen – I adored Take the Money and Run & Love and Death & Radio Days – can’t bring myself to watch them. Just recently I found out Jack Nicklaus is a BBF of he who shall not be named – I was devastated because I really admired Nicklaus as a golfer and I thought a upstanding person.


  5. A big one for me is I can’t stand listening to Michael Jackson’s songs. He’s just an example. The whole sexual harassment, child abuse, etc. is a big deal to me and I can’t get past it to enjoy those people’s works of whatever type. I don’t think I’ve ever really followed someone’s work, per se, because of their beliefs, but I am aware of a few people such as Lady Gaga.


  6. Clearly, it’s a tough issue. I’ve stopped supporting some writers/actors because of icky things I found out. I didn’t want my money to go to their art, if you will. But I also stopped watching/reading their art, because every time I tried, I’d think about the icky thing and it would ruin it for me.

    But there are others who don’t have this issue at all. *shrug*


  7. This is tough. I find it easier to “cancel” actors from my brain. Perhaps it’s the visual medium. Johnny Depp, for example. I adored him and his films when I was younger. Once all of that stuff about him and Amber Heard surfaced I was pretty bummed. I’ve only seen one movie with him in it since, and that was because I didn’t realize he would be in Fantastical Beasts.

    My favorite music artist had her reputation tarnished ten or so years ago, but I still listen to her songs because I find her voice incredible. Do I think about the drama that pushed her out of the country music scene? Yes. Can I still enjoy her music? Yep. *shrug* indeed.


  8. I can’t even look at a book by Marian Zimmer Bradley anymore. That’s about as open-and-shut case for me of art, artist, and artist’s crimes being inseparable. I do find myself saying, sometimes, “I really like this and I hope that they don’t turn out to be asshats” because I think we know more intimately about artists than ever before. The days of hiding behind good publicity and reputation fixers are over.

    But like a lot of modern life, I find many situations are complicated, plus context matters. Is there remorse, acceptance of responsibility? Do the other members of the artistic effort hold the “bad guy” accountable? Is there enough valid information for me to make a sound judgement or is it gossip?

    It does get tiring, always vetting entertainment to avoid supporting all the many things that are wrong with the world. Like you, I have no easy answers but I’m not running from the questions. Our community remains under attack, so I can’t really afford to support the things that hurt us.

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  9. MZB. omg, Karin. The Darkover novels were pivotal to helping me come to terms with my lesbian identity and it wasn’t until years later that I found out all that horrible and I was physically sick about it. I can’t look at her books, either, and I no longer have any.

    And yes, context matters. Totally agree.

    Like you, I don’t want to support things that endanger marginalized communities, so I do pay attention. In this age of infotainment, though, it can be difficult to separate truth from fiction, as it were. Sigh.


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