As you’re probably aware, Hollywood has been rocked by a number of scandals in recent weeks, to the point where it almost feels like we can’t go a day without seeing an acclaimed actor or popular music artist being accused of sexual harassment or misconduct on set.
In many cases, the public has shifted their views on stars like Kevin Spacey and George Takei without any charges even being laid.
A recent opinion piece on the ABC questioned whether viewers should be ashamed for watching Kevin Spacey movies or TV shows. Some of his films have been extremely popular, and he’s probably rightly regarded as a very good actor, but should audiences suddenly switch off because of his alleged behaviour?
While Netflix has banished him from any future involvement in his hit TV show House of Cards, does that mean that fans of the star should avoid watching any of his film or TV projects ever again because of the crimes he’s been accused of? Should you avoid streaming the critically acclaimed Baby Driver simply because he’s in it?
While Spacey might not be your cuppa tea anyway, there’s an array of other examples that could apply to you and your entertainment habits.
Remember when Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes was convicted with child sexual abuse? His show was one of Australia’s most-loved sitcoms, but not a single network has aired it since.
What about Bill Cosby? He’s been accused of a number of dreadful crimes including rape, sexual abuse and misconduct. While he’s yet to be formally charged for any of them, his hit ’80s sitcom The Cosby Show has been pulled from syndication.
Another example is Rolf Harris. He was arguably one of Australia’s most successful entertainment exports, but his reputation and career are basically non-existent after being found guilty of 12 indecent assaults. Even after one was overturned just last week, you will likely never hear one of his songs on the radio or see one of his shows without mention of his crimes.
On the other hand, there are celebrities who have been to jail or accused of crimes but still have flourishing careers. Woody Allen has been accused of sexual abuse, and remains married to his own adopted daughter, but is still one of Hollywood’s busiest directors.
Tim Allen, who went on to star in an array of movies and front his own sitcom in the ’90s, actually served over two years behind bars. He was found guilty of drug trafficking back in the 70s.
Let’s not forget that Paul McCartney also spent a small amount of time behind bars after he was found with drugs in 1980! Actor Sean Penn was sent to jail for assault but still continues to star in blockbuster movies.
Even TV chef Martha Stewart who spent time in jail over fraud but continues to have a thriving careers selling homewares.
Is there something about sex crimes, or even allegations of them, that make the celebrity ‘untouchable’, while other crimes do not? Should we snub a performer who has never been convicted of a crime, no matter what is rumoured or written?