Point/Counterpoint: Can Good Art from Despicable People Be Appreciated?


Yes: Art is a form of expression. It can allow some creators to express deep philosophical concepts. It can allow other creators to express their emotional or mental states. It can also give some creators a platform to express how insensitive or egotistical they truly are. These creators are those we would consider deplorable, misusing this expression and ruining their reputation—a reputation they earned through their creative ideas and hard work—now tarnished by their heated opinions and outdated beliefs. These great creations are later destroyed with terrible decisions. So, do these kinds of creators still deserve their platform for expression? Short answer, not at all. Does that make their previous works unenjoyable? Well, let’s see.

Imagine this, if you will. Your best friend, Crangis McBaseball, has been like a brother to you for years. He’s played basketball with you in his yard almost every day. He’s studied with you before every test. He has never disappointed you with a single birthday gift ever. Then one Monday, you show up to his house after school with a ball in your hand, hoping to enjoy the afternoon with him like you have hundreds of times before. You knock on his door just to be met with Crangis telling you “People like you are not welcome in this household. I don’t ever want to see you again!” He slams the door in your face as you stand dumbfounded like you’re waiting for an encore. Crangis, of all people, has just decided to betray your relationship. Thousands of hours you spent together enjoying the friendship you shared now feels like a fat waste of time, all because of some new found belief your friend felt was a good idea to express. This is how it feels to learn that an artist you’ve adored for years has become a great big jerk.

An artist deciding that they prefer to hate, unlike the way they have loved so many years before, shows how the new art they create will never again be inspired by the same positive creativity they had once before. And to support such a non-inclusive person is almost like parroting the beliefs of said artist as your own. So as you sit on your ex-friend’s neighbor’s curb waiting for your mother to pick you up, you start to remember all the great times the two of you had. Amazing feelings, fun times, and exciting experiences, all gone asunder now never to be had again. But who did you have those memories with? This despicable man who just turned you away or your dependable brother that went to the moon and back with you?

Time makes fools of us all. It also makes us into different people. You from the beginning of reading this article is not the same person as you are now. You have different memories, desires, and maybe even outlooks on life if I did a good enough job at explaining this. So, the artist that was inspired to create your favorite song is not the same person that just posted their extremely dicey political opinions on Twitter. You have every right to love the artist that was so full of inspiration, but you have to realize that this person is gone. That person has been replaced with a hateful husk that cannot make the same art that you desire. So go listen to that rapper with all the hits from the 90’s, but make sure you are not supporting that hateful artist that’s been found in the 20’s. It’ll make the drive home from McBaseball’s house a bit easier.


Trigger warning: Mentions of guns, abuse, violence, sexual assault.

NO: When it comes to separating the art from the artist, it is truly a personal decision that you are open to make for yourself. But … I personally just can’t do it. And I get it, someone might make amazing music, amazing movies, and you can hold them accountable for their terrible actions but, at the end of the day, when you’re streaming their music, streaming their movies, you are supporting them because all that money goes directly into their pockets.

I used to be obsessed with Rex Orange County. I’d listen to his music, watched his live performances, and interviews he’d do. But then, a couple weeks ago, it was revealed that the reason he postponed his tour is because he was CHARGED with, not accused of, six counts of sexual assault. When I found this out, I was utterly heartbroken. I mean, I truly appreciated and loved his music. But, I needed to put things into perspective. Here I was, feeling sad over the mere fact that if I were to listen to his music, I’d just feel off about it the entire time. But, somewhere, there is a woman, trying to be as strong as she can be, scarred by this man and the horrifying, disgusting things he did to HER. That is so much more than me just being sad over his music. But, now I know my stance. I’m not supporting him, not supporting his music. Because every time I stream, listen, and download his music, I am directly supporting HIM. And sure, I could illegally download his music to make sure he doesn’t profit off of it, but I simply cannot listen to someone who has raped someone else.

But, this also applies to numerous artists. For example, Chris Brown. Back in 2009, Chris Brown brutally abused and beat up Rihanna to the point her face was swollen and covered in bruises. And I’m not going to sit here and say that this situation changed the trajectory of my life. I mean, in 2009, I was four. I could barely understand how to tie my own shoes, let alone domestic abuse. But, as I grew older, I understood just how serious this was. And now, I know listening to him, which again supports him, lets his entitlement grow. It seems that today, people seem to forget or just push aside what he did, just because it was so long ago, but how? I mean, he has not changed ONE BIT. Over the course of 10+ years, his violence against women has only grown. In 2013, he forcefully and purposefully shoved a woman to the ground at a nightclub which left a torn ligament in her right knee. In 2019, he was charged for holding a gun against a woman. And there is so much more that he has done. He is not a changed man, he does not feel remorse for what he did and for what he has been continuously doing. With that being said, I obviously can’t support him.

He has done way too many gross, disturbing, violent things towards women and it seems that he won’t ever stop.

If you separate the art from the artist, I do get it. And, I 100% don’t judge you at all. This topic isn’t black and white, there’s not one answer to pin it on. It’s all about what YOU feel is best for you. But, what’s best for me, is that I don’t support artists who have done disgusting and disturbing things over and over again. That is just what I feel is best for me and my comfort level.