Actors, or most Hollywood employees in general, depend on one thing above all else: the consumers. Their viewership determines not only the fate of a celebrity’s movie, but also the number of zeroes in their paycheck.
That’s why staying clean and scandal-free is a goal every celebrity should have. They wouldn’t want to turn viewers away by being problematic. Unfortunately, many have been questionable in the past and continue to be now.
From Chris Brown to Katy Perry, a number of well known celebrities have sticky personal lives. They can range from controversial political views, to cultural appropriation mishaps, to allegations of abuse. It can be hard for fans to decide whether or not to separate a star’s entertainment medium from their less than ideal personas.
Most fans have a breaking point when it comes to how devoted they can be to a celebrity. Once that celebrity has crossed the scandal threshold for a fan, distancing themselves from that celebrity’s work isn’t as difficult. And when it comes to scandal, it’s not just about the wrongdoing being entirely truthful.
For example, since Johnny Depp’s ex-wife’s allegations of being abused by her ex-husband, some viewers have become speculative of the movie star. Recently, Harry Potter fans in particular have been speaking out due to the recent release of a teaser clip from the Fantastic Beasts franchise for the newest film. In the upcoming movie, “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Depp plays Gellert Grindelwald, one of the film’s main characters. While the franchise is beloved by many, the actions of Depp put a sour taste in their mouths. Though the allegations imposed upon Depp have come into question, the fact that the allegations even exist were enough to change the appearance the actor created in fan’s eyes. Clearly, whether or not a claim as serious as abuse is true, it puts an actor’s morals up for debate.
That being said, until a fan’s breaking point is reached, there’s a lot of gray area to sort through.
It’s a difficult puzzle to solve. Balancing one’s interests with right and wrong isn’t as simple as it may seem. After following an artist that makes a listener happy for years, dropping them because of things they’ve said or done is by no means an easy thing to do.
But it also isn’t one that has to be followed. Having a problematic fave is something that everyone deals with at some point. Most well-known people deliver at least one apology statement at some point in their careers. The truth is, almost everyone has said or done something problematic in their lifetime, numerous times, whether they were called out on it or not, whether it gained media attention or not, and whether they apologized for it or not. If a person was to write off any star that had done something wrong, there wouldn’t be many left in Hollywood.
It’s important to note that actors, singers, and comedians are people, too. There are instances when they take it too far and say or do something they shouldn’t have. While sometimes they apologize because they think they’re in the wrong and there are times when they don’t apologize at all.
But even apologies can be called into question regarding their authenticity. Albeit at times a sincere redress and an effort to do better can help to mend the wound of a celebrity’s offense, the most egregious of indiscretions are often met with disbelief.
Stars can be incredibly talented while also lacking empathy or tact. Humans are complicated, and idols can be, too.
That said, some dubious acts by celebrities are worse than others, such as abuse or sexual misconduct, and the latter is something that has come up in discussion a lot when it comes to Hollywood lately. Sexual harassment is challenging to prove at best and impossible at worst, because in many cases it leads to one person’s word against the other.
This makes it even harder on fans to support a star, and for some, this is a breaking point. However, for fans that continue to support alleged sexual harassers or other problematic people, it is important to keep a few things in mind.
Firstly, when one buys an artist’s music or watches their movie in the theater, that viewer is contributing to the artist’s career success, even if the fan denounces them out loud. Intention does not cancel out impact.
Choosing which celebrity to support is subjective. It’s specific to the fan, the celebrity, and the situation, so making a sweeping statement about how one should deal with a problematic fave doesn’t really work because it won’t apply to everyone.
However, it is important to acknowledge that there is so much art in the world. It’s impossible to run out of things to fall in love with. When a fan has been attached to a certain band or late night host for a period of time, it can feel like their idol is all there is. But, unfortunately, sometimes it takes a problematic fave to open the eyes of viewers to the plethora of entertainment out there.
Ultimately, what and who fans choose to support is deeply personal. It’s almost impossible to draw a line between which mishaps can be forgiven and which can’t. Everyone will have a different opinion about it- whether they’re a fan or not.
A big part of the problem is that some super fans can grow very attached to celebrities. So much so that the knee-jerk reaction to any criticism can result in a fan defending unacceptable behavior, all in the name of loyalty. It’s important to remember, however, as rudimentary as it sounds, celebrities need to learn right from wrong.
Holding problematic faves accountable is important. Giving them a free pass isn’t something a person would do for a normal citizen, and it isn’t something that should be done for stars either. Even the most world-renowned figure isn’t infallible. It’s crucial to stay educated about the idols that viewers hold dear, and it is ultimately up to each person to decide which artists have to go.
Jordyn Dees // Co-Opinion Editor and Co-Business Manager
Graphic by: Julia Peralta