The Kenblog: “How Do You Watch Films With Disgraced Stars?”
Howdy Folks! It’s The Kendog!
It seems like every since Harvey Weinstein was revealed to be a first class sexual assaulter that the floodgates have opened. Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Jeffrey Tambor, and even Sylvester Stallone have been placed solidly in the crosshairs of the social justice machine with an explosion of women (and men) coming forward to accuse these people of various degrees of sexual assault. And let’s not even get started with the politicians (Judge Moore and Al Franken, I’m looking at you.).
Now if all of these people are proven guilty of their various offences (Weinstein and Spacey are already under police scrutiny) then I’m all for the proper dispensation of justice. The Hollywood casting couch culture is due to get kicked to the curb and these women and men deserve to have their stories heard.
That said, it’s easy to get caught up in the tidal wave of allegations that have yet to be proven, yet those accused have been already tried, convicted, and sentenced in the court of not only public opinion, but in terms of their professions. I have hope that wave after wave of allegations are not being taken as fact without the proper exercise of due process. This environment proves ripe for jilted lovers or potential extortionists looking for a little monetary or social media revenge. That would only hurt the cause of those with legitimate stories to tell.
So with all of this going on, does this mean you should stop watching “House Of Cards” or “Transparent” because an actor as engaged (allegedly or otherwise) in questionable behavior? It’s a difficult question to answer because no matter who we admire as actors, directors, or producers, these recent weeks have proved that the only aspect we get to see of these people is their public face. As talented as they are these people are only human, with all-to-real human frailties and faults. I imagine that you could dig up dirt on any performer, either in front of or behind the camera if you dig deep enough.
That said, those individuals like Weinstein and anyone else who uses their power to sexually assault and intimidate women (and men) should face the full weight of the justice system. Weinstein especially deserves the crap he’s getting because there is no doubt of his guilt in using his power to force himself upon those he wanted.
Now Weinstein has been a powerful producer for decades. His Miramax label has produced some of the most well regarded films in modern cinema, including most of Quentin Tarantino’s excellent work. In the nineties, Miramax was the go-to studio for Oscar-worthy fare, including films like “Good Will Hunting” and “The English Patient.” Does Weinstein’s disgrace mean you should automatically stop watching everything Miramax put out under his watch?
My answer is “no.” Understand that Weinstein was a producer in charge of getting the money needed for the projects. An important cog in the wheel of the business of filmmaking, but a cog nonetheless. He had very little to do with the eventual project on the screen, and these projects were the result of a cast of thousands. Everyone from the director to the screenwriter to the cast to the damn caterer had a hand in making these pictures, and I believe it to be a disservice to them to avoid viewing the outstanding fruits of their labor because one of the money men turned out to be creepy, perverted criminal.
Now with celebrities in front of the camera the decision can be more difficult. I struggle with Kevin Spacey, for example. The man has admitted his problems and has been kicked to the curb by Hollywood for an indeterminate amount of time, and rightfully so as various law enforcement agencies are investigating him just as they are investigating Harvey Weinstein. Trouble is, Spacey’s been a part of so many iconic movies and his roles so varied it’s hard not to continue to recognize his talents as an actor. Let me put it to you this way: The Naked Gun movies feature O.J. Simpson in a supporting (and funny) role before he took a left turn into Crazytown. People still watch and love those movies despite O.J.’s despicable deeds and behavior. Maybe it’s a time thing: in ten to twenty years we might be able to look at Verbal Kint or John Doe or Doc from “Baby Driver” without as much disgust as we feel right now.
The question is this: can you separate the character from the actor playing him? If you can you are probably able to enjoy these films and television shows without any revulsion or disgust. If you can’t then you probably have the difficult task of separating yourself from these formerly favorite shows of yours until the time comes when you can come to terms with the faults of the individuals playing these characters, if that time ever comes. And you want to know something: either decision is acceptable. It’s a matter of personal preference and opinion and like the entertainment you like to watch, it’s subjective as hell. One thing is certain: the Hollywood landscape is changing and hopefully for the better. Hopefully a time will come when actors of both sexes will be able to vie for a role based on the quality of their respective talent rather than the desirability of their bodies. A bit idealistic of me, to be sure, but this seems to be a step in the right direction! So Sayeth The Kendog!