Have you ever seen a falling star? Well, science says that it’s not actually a star, but meteoroids that fall into Earth’s atmosphere and burn. This is a great analogy for the many sexual harassment incidents and claims involving Hollywood stars such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Louis C.K. Just this morning, I read that George Takei has been alleged to have sexually harassed a person some 40 years ago.
For many of us who enjoy House of Cards, Star Trek, or Louis C.K.’s comedy acts, we may have been struck with questions of how we both condemn the person while also enjoying their art. It really is troubling, especially with so many of us being avid entertainment consumers.
Can we separate the character portrayed on Netflix, movie, or civil rights movement (in the case of Takei), from the actor or the person behind it?
Granted, with Kevin Spacey it is a little easier for me to not watch of his work because I have been aware of his… behavior involving young men and minors.
With Louis C.K. and George Takei it has been admittedly harder to figure out what to do.
These acts committed by men in positions of power are heinous and should be condemned. My stomach turns when I hear stories of powerful gay men taking advantage of younger gay men – not that an older gay man being with a younger gay man is wrong. But when a position of power is used to influence, pressure, seduce, or coerce someone in a position of less power, I get a sick feeling in my gut.
Which brings me back to my analogy of “falling stars”. They’re not stars in the first place. They’re merely rock and dust that burn up as they fall back down to earth.
These “stars” that have committed these acts… are we any different from them? Our behavior day-to-day, in bars, clubs, and social gatherings… we’re all matter, rock, and dust that are as susceptible to committing the same acts within our circle of friends or networks as these stars are.
So if anything, this should embolden us to examine our own lives, how we treat others, and look at how we raise our kids. These “falling stars” help stir the pot and start conversations, but the conversation should bring about a movement to challenge societal assumptions about gender, gender roles, sexuality, sexual repression, emotional repression; and how we project, teach, and raise kids to be healthy and wholesome adults.
That said, how should we go about dealing with people we’ve elevated and placed on a pedestal? A boycott? What is the right response?
Please let me know your thoughts and leave a comment.