Picking your problematic celebrity favourites


Graphic by Alan Li

Stars have been categorized as “bad people” since we as a population could understand and eventually worship the concept of fame. 

Celebrities nowadays seem to be ousted every other week for some form of awful behaviour or discretion which – up to now – they’ve kept hidden from the public and from you, the fan. And as their fan, what exactly do you do now?

With the the fact you’ve been supporting a reprehensible human being – for who knows how long – weighing on your conscience, where do you go from here?

Well, I have some suggestions for you that may help ease the pain of realization.

First of all, it is imperative that you do not – under any circumstance – blame yourself for being a fan. It might seem like this goes without saying but a toll is taken once you come to realize the person you’ve supported for however long was not what who they presented themselves to you through their work. 

Your – and by extension, the greater world’s – ignorance of the darker character traits that cameras and recording booths can’t pick up cannot be helped, so it is pointless to drag yourself through the dirt along with them.

Find what makes you feel comfortable with your decision – whether that is never watching one of his films again, or simply not using your capital to support it.

No matter the level of your fandom, you were always a fan.

Secondly, it’s a good idea to hold off on immediate fervent defence of their character once the bad press breaks – it’s possible for fan worship to cloud judgment in these situations. Even if the “claims” made against them are alleged as they so often are, your championing of their innocence leads so easily into a state of hefty, exhausting denial which helps no one and inevitably hurts you.

Even if you are 100 per cent certain, never exert yourself for a famous stranger’s name.

Then comes the question of continued support and there is no convenient remedy for this.

Say it’s an actor who is morally reprehensible in your eyes after a scandal: do you never see one of their films? Do you, in turn, boycott the directors and actors who collaborate with them?

This is all dependent on what you are comfortable with when dealing with their work as – it needs to be said – you are allowed to fall somewhere in-between 100 per cent support and total protest.

Separating the artist from their art on principle seems fine, but no one should dispute if you judge them by your personal level of offence. While I can – and will – begrudgingly sit through a film featuring a Casey Affleck performance, it is not my place to tell you that your objection based on the allegations is somehow not also acceptable.

Find what makes you feel comfortable with your decision – whether that is never watching one of his films again, or simply not using your capital to support it.

Finally – and perhaps most importantly – you should never allow that which fell your favourite celebrity from the public’s grace to ever be forgotten. Our tabloid media culture has rendered a scandal’s lifespan so shockingly short to the point it’s almost guaranteed a comeback is always imminent no matter how heinous the charge might be.

Even if it seems pointless to re-litigate, those shady details must stay in the conversation because that is a part of who that person is and it’s your job to make a point of it.

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