Almost everyone has at least one artist that they have had to stop listening to because of controversy. Recently, music artist Alexander O’Connor, more commonly known as Rex Orange County, was charged with six counts of sexual assault against a woman in early June. O’Connor pleaded not guilty, and his trial is set for Jan. 3.
This has sparked posts from fans talking about their heartbreak and feelings of betrayal from O’Connor. This concept is familiar to many who have given up music artists or actors due to controversy, which is why we need to reconsider the pedestal that we put celebrities on as a community.
Celebrities are humans too and putting them on a pedestal takes away their humanity, forming them into an example of what we as people should be. This only leads to disaster when the celebrity is exposed for controversial behaviors or actions.
I will admit, I personally have gone through the sad process of quitting musical artists due to their controversies. I lost Panic! At The Disco and Marilyn Manson because of their histories of awful behavior. It is an endeavor to suddenly drop your favorite musical artist.
However, one needs to remember that there is a clear victim in these situations, and it is not you. It is the person who was harmed by the celebrity: the woman who was allegedly assaulted by O’Connor, the bandmates and fans treated disrespectfully by Brendan Urie, actress Evan Rachel Wood who was allegedly abused by Manson and so on.
This trend of musicians and actors being rebuked for their wrongdoings has been so common that people have started the argument that we need to separate the art from the artist. Unfortunately, that is impossible in this day and age.
With most people listening to music on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, there is no way to separate the art from the artist. Spotify records how many streams of a song there are and playing a song for at least 30 seconds counts as a stream. There is something called a per-stream royalty that is paid out, so listening to the songs is benefitting the artist because they make a profit.
On top of that, artists will be encouraged by the continuous growth of streams to create more music, and their wrongdoings will become overshadowed by their next move in the music industry. That is how DaBaby was able to release a new album a couple of weeks ago with the same label that signed him on around the same time he killed 19-year-old Jaylin Craig.
I have told myself I will never put on another Panic! At The Disco or Marilyn Manson song again so I am not supporting their careers. This loss is fueled by the societal need to idolize celebrities and we need to start breaking the pedestal apart. To those who have listened to or are still listening to Rex Orange County, just keep in mind that there is potentially a woman out there who is suffering from his decisions.
Photo courtesy of Wendy Wei, Pexels.