Art and its flawed creators



As the Academy Awards draw near, there are certainties and snubs that derive from growing tension within the media.

Movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have brought many cases of misconduct to light.

The tension in Hollywood has boiled over as scandal after scandal surfaces, causing a sense that every accused is on the level of Harvey Weinstein.

While any claim of sexual misconduct or assault should be taken seriously, the numerous charges raise a question: Can one view art removed from feelings about the artist?

Actor James Franco went unrecognized by the Academy for his work in “The Disaster Artist,” and Casey Affleck, winner of the Best Male Performance in a Leading Role last year, will not be presenting the leading actress award this year – both due to recent sexual misconduct allegations.

Franco was even removed  from Vanity Fair’s cover spread, rightfully so, considering it was highlighting diverse and progressive workers in the industry who have been speaking up within the aforementioned movements.

After winning multiple early awards for acting and directing for his film, Franco lost favor with the media, some peers and the public, dropping him out of the Oscar race.

Being open and willing to talk, Franco dealt with his accusations on “The Colbert Report” the day they came forward.

“If there’s restitution to be made, I will make it. If I have done something wrong, I will fix it,” Franco said. “As far as the bigger issues…, I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off.”

Franco, at first slightly demonized, admitted to not having all the right answers for his interview and that is why he wants to listen to what the women who he has wronged had to say, in person, not over social media.

It is easier to separate art from artist in such a case as this, assuming he is serious in his sentiments.

While there are actors who suffer from their accusations and misconduct, there are some who have gained advantage through support of the movement.

If you are familiar with Woody Allen, you are most likely familiar with the stories surrounding him.

Actor Timothée Chalamet, known for his roles in two Oscar front-runners this year, “Lady Bird” and “Call Me By Your Name,” recently finished production on the Woody Allen feature “A Rainy Day in New York.”

Since 1993 Allen has been accused of sexually mistreating his daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was seven years old.

While there are many grey areas on both sides, Farrow’s consistency with speaking out has led to a common assumption that his guilt holds true.

This assumption is linked directly to the pictures that he makes, many focussing heavily on sex and involving relationships with younger women.

They have been received by some as award worthy and others as overtly misogynist.

Nearly impossible to separate art from artist, actors have retroactively denounced Allen for years, with a recent flurry in the past year.

Chalamet was next in line when he released a statement via Twitter and Instagram stating that he would accept no payment for his work on Allen’s latest feature.

This decision was made shortly after a wave of posts involving recent interviews with Farrow speaking against Allen and actor Alec Baldwin speaking in support of him.

Going further, Chalamet said he will be donating his profits to three charities: TIME’S UP, The LGBT Center in New York and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).

This very mature, proactive decision for such a young actor undoubtedly bolstered his Oscar campaign, earning him a nomination for Actor in a Leading Role.

“I want to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the brave artists who are fighting for all people to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Chalamet.

There are proper ways for men in Hollywood to handle such sensitive topics as sexual misconduct, so as not to out-speak the voices of the women fighting to expose and change from the inside.

Chalamet (and even Franco) exhibited a respectful and humble nod to those affected by and fighting mistreatment, furthering the industry in its strive to cleanse itself.