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Film Discussion: Should we support and watch movies with crime-committing stars?

It is no secret that Hollywood has always had its secret hidden amongst Tinsel Town, but now within the past two months, piece by piece, a huge array of stars have come out about their dark pasts on the shames of Hollywood – particularly with dealing with sexual assault from some of the biggest names in the business. Some of the names that have been mentioned in the scandal have left the public shocked, and we are all waiting to see who is next to be blamed and shamed to the public.

If you have been hiding under a rock for the past two months and have no idea what I am talking about, this started roughly two months ago when over 30 women, including the likes of Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong’o, and Cara Delevingne, have come forward with allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein. For someone who is so well known in Hollywood and has one of the biggest and most influential voices in the industry, this is major news. And that was just the start of the allegations.

Since then, more and more people have come out and voiced their own experiences with sexual assault, and everyone at Hollywood is waiting to see who is named next. Recent names have included Ben Affleck and Dustin Hoffman. There is one name in particular that has been circulated around a lot more than the others, and that name is Kevin Spacey.

An actor, screenwriter, singer, producer and director who has been in some of the biggest projects this year, and someone so well loved. How could he have done this? It all came out when the Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp came out about his sexual experience with Spacey when he was only 14 years old. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rapp publicly alleged that Spacey befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance.

What didn’t help Spacey was his supposed apology about the situation. In his apology, he decided to finally come out as a gay man. This was very insincere and seen as a cover to get out of his sexual assault conviction. Since then, there have been 14 people who have come out against Spacey, and he is deemed by Hollywood to not be suitable for work anymore. Since the allegations, he has lost his role in House of Cards (in which a lot of co-workers came out about him in the set), been edited out of an upcoming movie, and had another of his movies pulled from major film festivals.

However, whilst Hollywood can prevent people from seeing his face in the future, they can’t erase his past career and the array of shows and movies he has starred in and produced. American Beauty, Se7en, L.A. Confidential and Baby Driver just to name a few. He has been in some of the biggest and most critically approved films of all time, yet he is someone that shouldn’t be looked at for his actions and as a person. So, do we now stop watching those classics all together?

Whilst a few people might decide never to watch these movies again, there is no doubt that people will separate his older work from him as a person. Whilst this announcement that he is gay changes the perspective of his character in American Beauty, it shouldn’t change his past works. I know that I will still be buying Baby Driver on Blu-Ray when it comes out as it is in my top two favourite movies of this year.

It also comes to the point that one single person should not be a bad influence to a good movie. Sure, Kevin Spacey is in Baby Driver. But when a movie like that has an amazing soundtrack, beautiful cinematography, incredible writing and a stellar cast with the likes of Ansel Elgort, Lily James and Jamie Foxx starring in bigger roles than Spacey has, talent like that has to be credited. One person shouldn’t stop a masterpiece of a movie being made, especially when it happened before the allegations were made public.

In terms of Harvey Weinstein, it is more looking at the movies under the Weinstein Company and seeing what he had influence under. Now, if he ever makes another movie again I will not go and see it as I will be shocked that Hollywood would allow him to work again. However, one of my favourite movies is Silver Linings Playbook so even though it is under the Weinstein Company, I will still be watching it over and over again.

The same logic goes to any sector of the Creative Industries, not just movies. Take music for example, would you stop listening to David Bowie or Michael Jackson despite their convictions? In fact, because their music is personal and doesn’t reflect many other people, there’s more chance you would than with a movie or TV show. Will people bail out of seeing Justice League because Ben Affleck sexually assaulted a woman in public? Of course not. But then again, most people aren’t going to see Justice League purely for Ben Affleck and nobody else.

The subject of sexual assault is a serious matter, and despite what is happening in Hollywood and that it is a terrible thing, I am glad some light is getting shed onto the subject. It’s been no secret that stars abuse their name and power in the industry, but now the consequences are being faced by some who thought their matters were more important than others. And whilst these stars should never be allowed to work for the industry ever again, it doesn’t change their past roles and those movies shouldn’t have to change based on one cast member.

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