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We can still enjoy entertainment, even as we condemn the creators

Can we still appreciate the work of artists accused of sexual harassment?

Louis C.K., stand up comedian and star of the show ’Louie’ admitted to sexual harassment allegations in November of 2017 after years of rumors.

Louis C.K., stand up comedian and star of the show ’Louie’ admitted to sexual harassment allegations in November of 2017 after years of rumors.

Louis C.K., stand up comedian and star of the show ’Louie’ admitted to sexual harassment allegations in November of 2017 after years of rumors.

Grant Hermanns, Staff Writer

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The entertainment  world has been rocked for the past couple of years as revelations of sexual misconduct and harassment have come out regarding some of the most popular celebrities in popular media.

From film to television to music, the response to these revelations from the public has been to denounce the performers and banish them from the public eye, as the world is already filled with disgusting people.

Unfortunately, the subsequent reaction has also been to remove their work from public availability, including deleting their work from digital streaming platforms, distancing media companies from everything the artists have ever done.

While the question of whether these subjects should have a future career is easier to answer, the one that’s becoming a bigger subject of debate is whether we should separate their work as a performer from their controversy or ostracize them completely.

The answer is the former; despite their misdeeds showing they don’t deserve their fame anymore, we should not demolish the memory of their careers up to this point. Just because the person doesn’t deserve respect doesn’t mean the artist doesn’t either.

For starters, let’s take a look at Kanye West — and no, he wasn’t the subject of sexual harassment allegations, he has still been controversial.

Whether it be his abrasive behavior toward both fans and paparazzi or his self-centered nature, West has never been seen as role model material.

However, in his 22 years of performing, he remains one of the most highly-acclaimed rappers of the 21st century. His last album, “The Life of Pablo” became the first streaming exclusive album to go platinum, earning him his eighth platinum record.

If people hate West so much and love making fun of him and his wife, why is he so successful? Because despite who he is as a person, there’s the undeniable fact that as an artist, Kanye West is a talent whose legacy will live on long past himself and the generation that watched him grow from a small-time producer to a full-fledged superstar.

One prime example of a performer who has a sliver of hope for their career is comedian Louis C.K. Amidst all of the denials, attempts at sweeping under the rug and sexuality reveals, C.K. was the only one to admit fault and accept responsibility for his actions.

He apologized to the women for what he has done and said he would take a step back to listen to what the public and the accusers have to say.

His longtime comedian friends, including Marc Maron and Sarah Silverman, have both noted their disappointment in their friend. Silverman opened her show with a discussion on her heartbreak upon learning of C.K.’s transgressions while also noting the only people whose feelings matter right now are the victims.

While some might see C.K.’s response and think, “Of course he’s taking a step back, everybody is dropping him from his contracts,” it is still worth offering a modicum of respect to him for this honest and direct response.

But even with his transgressions coming to light, should we look back at his acclaimed FX comedy series, film roles and comedy specials in a negative light? No we shouldn’t, because while the show was a semi-autobiographical portrayal of the comedian complete with hints of his poor behavior, it was still a work of art.

It opened the door for many of the hit shows we see today with its vignette formula and the early instance of a network handing complete control to a showrunner. This would later lead to the inception of the acclaimed series “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Atlanta” and “American Crime Story.”

While cutting ties with C.K. for the foreseeable future is understandable, some of the actions taken against him are unfair. The redubbing of his voice on the Disney Channel series “Gravity Falls,” was an overreaction by executives to eliminate his involvement. Disney Channel is a family network that would definitely want to distance itself from any kind of scandal. But to completely re-voice the character and take away from C.K.’s work is disrespectful. No matter their behind-the-scenes problems, they’ve still put the time and effort into their work and deserve to keep it as is.

C.K. is certainly not the only performer whose work we should separate from their real-world decisions, because while many of those accused may not deserve the public’s respect as a person, their hard work and creativity as an artist should still be respected.

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