I’ve been thinking about this recently after conversing with some bloggers on WordPress. Without going into too much detail, I had some dialogue where I mentioned how some creators have done bad things that have been documented. Two different bloggers in separate conversations told me that they separate the art from the artist like how the creation is independent of the actions of the creator(s). They were both civil in their discussions even when we talked about heavy things.
For me, I can’t separate the two.
Whenever I hear something true about a creator or company doing bad things, I distance myself from the creation. The biggest one for me in recent memory was Rurouni Kenshin. That is an anime series that I enjoyed when I was in middle school and high school. I thought the action was great, had strong dramatic elements, and the Trust & Betrayal OVA was one of the best prequels ever. Just a couple of years ago, it call came crashing down when creator Nobuhiro Watsuki was caught with child porn in his house. Not only that, but all he had to do was pay a 200k Yen fine (roughly $1848 USD in current currency terms), got no jail time, and his Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc got to continue after being on hiatus with the news about this crime. When I heard about Watsuki being found dead to rights for his unspeakable crimes, I washed my hands of anything involving that manga-ka monster. I could name other examples of things I stopped liking because of controversies proven true, and you know what some of them are.
On the flipside, I wonder how selective people are when they talk about separating art from the artists. If someone wants to stop listening to Chris Brown because of him beating Rihanna, would they have to stop listening to anything from Phil Spector who straight up MURDERED his girlfriend? Trust me, you won’t be looking at “Let It Be” by The Beatles the same again (he engineered that song). If people don’t want anything to do with Bill Cosby, then would they have to stop watching anything from Roman Polanski who was found guilty (yet fled the country) of drugging and raping a minor? Also, you know he’s still making movies and won awards long after the fact? That’s what I can’t stand about so many people in their hypocrisy.
For me, I can’t stand it when people give others a free pass when they do horrible things that others wouldn’t get away with it. Not going to lie, it does hurt when I have to stop liking something because of their actions or if there are unfortunate implications that I don’t want to subject myself to. Someone’s creation whether it’s music, art, film, TV, etc. is connected to the creators in my humble opinion.
Now let’s talk. Do you separate the art from the artists? Why or why not?