I guess the best way to start this article is to just address the elephant in the room. Kanye West. He is the latest in the long line of celebrities that don’t have a grasp (or don’t care) the amount of influence they carry in the general public. Ye’s recent antisemitic comments as well as his disparaging comments towards George Floyd’s memory have been nothing short of egregious. Now, I’ve long been a firm believer that a person can say whatever they want, AS LONG as what they are saying is not racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitic or oppresses anybody’s rights. That behavior has no place in this world. I guess somebody didn’t clue Ye into this. I said earlier it was a long list before him.
Donald Trump famously built his whole presidential campaign and presidency on racist, xenophobic, and homophobic rhetoric. Mel Gibson was caught spewing racist and antisemitic slurs in a drunken tirade. Kevin Spacey was outed as being a child predator. The list goes on and on. These celebrities do things in their personal lives that are scrutinized with microscopic precision, and they are so detached from reality that they don’t see that what they are doing is wrong.
Donald Trump’s racist behavior emboldened swarms of white nationalists to “proudly” speak their racist minds, and intentionally try to harm and oppress people of other races. Ye and Candace Owens, by wearing “White Lives Matters” shirts and spewing racist and antisemitic rhetoric have further emboldened those same types that were caping for Trump. I know people firsthand that LOVE the Lethal Weapon movies, and so they refuse to hear any unkind words when it comes to Mel Gibson. Same can be said for those that adore ‘Seven’ or ‘Usual Suspects’. People hold them up as masterpieces and refuse to hear any negativity when it comes to Kevin Spacey. Let’s not forget about “Usual Suspects’ director Bryan Singer, and what he’s been accused of.
What I’m getting at here is two things. Separating the art from the artist. Some people can do that while others can’t. I for one cannot. If I found out a musician or actor or filmmaker has done something horrendous then I can longer support their art. It’s that simple. Secondly is that celebrities hold a great amount of influence in this world. They should respect the duty that comes with that. Whether they are a star athlete, a Hollywood icon, or a generational musical talent they need to accept all that comes with that. They have the world’s ears. What they say can be either damning to their careers or devastating to their legions of fans. Or both. Racism and antisemitism are one of those subjects that once it’s said it can’t be unheard. People have long memories. Ye or Trump or whomever can attempt to walk back any hate speech that they spew, but it’s still there. There’s no magical ‘Men In Black’ flash that will wipe it from our memories. People can love the art that you’ve brought into this sometimes-ugly world as a way of beautifying it, but once you let the curtains down and give a glimpse of your ugly side, well then it can’t be unseen.