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OPINION: Don’t support the art if you can’t support the artist

KentWired Illustration by Gabrielle Lutz

I used to be the biggest fan of Harry Potter. I read all of the books, watched the movies multiple times and begged my mom to buy me every piece of merchandise possible. That was until the news came out that the author, J. K. Rowling, was a raging transphobe.

My first reaction to this news was shock since she seemed like such a progressive woman. She had minority characters, said Dumbledore was a part of the LGBT+ community and the books themselves were seen as progressive in some ways.

I fell down a rabbit hole, reading every possible article and tweet that had to do with her views on transgender people, and I was disgusted. Here was this woman that inspired me to be a writer, and she was saying these awful things about trans women. While doing my research, I came across the phrase “Separate the art from the artist.”

This quote confused me: how could you support the art if the artist was a bad person? 

Speaking as someone who is a writer and considers that an art, it’s something I use to express my perspective on the world and myself. But, because art is so personal, I feel as if you can’t really separate the art from the artist — whether it be musicians, filmmakers or writers; if they profit off of that art, you shouldn’t be supporting it.

Though streaming a song or buying a book by a controversial artist seems small, it still supports their career, giving them more of a platform to continue having power in the media. This is especially true in cases of celebrities being accused of sexual assault or domestic abuse, as it helps silence victims.

I know it might be difficult to find an artist who doesn’t have a problematic past, especially in a world where all celebrities’ actions can be spread around the world in an instant. But, associating with art that has artists like J. K. Rowling or Matty Healy, is supporting them financially which helps them continue to spread their words of hate.

I personally like to do my research on the artists that I’m starting to hyperfixate on. If I see that they are racist, homophobic or an all-around bad person, I’ll immediately stop consuming that media — even if I really like their content.

Supporting an artist’s music undeniably corresponds to supporting their actions, because it helps give them a profit. So if you can’t support the artist, don’t support the art. Plain and simple.

Destiny Torres is an opinion writer. Contact her at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Destiny Torres, Opinion Writer
Destiny is an opinion writer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in creative writing. She enjoys writing about things she's most passionate about. Contact her at [email protected].

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  • S

    Scott SmithNov 30, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    You are very narrowly educated if you only read authors with whom you agree. If I did not read this article because I think you to be an uneducated moron, then for whom are you writing this article? Are you writing this article only to get total agreement? What is the point of writing an article if you are not offering a different opinion? I think you have an opinion that is meaningless, but I read the article. According to you, since I don’t agree with you, I should not have read it. Illogical.

    • S

      SarahFeb 24, 2024 at 7:01 pm

      The author clearly stated that we should read the opinions of people we might not end up agreeing with. But once we’re aware of their discrimination or violence, we should no longer support their art. According to the author, you should have read this article, and if you believe the author is using their power and influence to hurt people, then you should stop engaging with their writing.