Can you still watch a film or TV show if one of the celebrities involved has done wrong?

Can you still watch a film or TV show if one of the celebrities involved has done wrong?

Many shows and films have been affected by the recent sexual assault allegations against numerous high-ranking members of the Hollywood society. For example, Kevin Spacey was fired from House of Cards as well as other upcoming projects, and Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick’s new show that was due to air on the BBC has been axed, even though rape allegations against him are still being investigated.

In the light of these discoveries about actors who have been part of viewers’ entertainment for years, it is completely understandable that you would ask whether it is appropriate to watch any of their work. The answer to this is difficult to determine and one that in the end, everyone will have to decide for themselves. It also varies to a huge degree based on the person and how they were involved with the film or TV show.

Allegations of domestic abuse against Johnny Depp by Amber Heard were never substantiated, and he has greatly contributed to films that I watched many times in my childhood, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which is why I wouldn’t actively avoid his older films or even the new ones, especially those such as Murder on the Orient Express, where he is only one member of a large, talented ensemble cast.

However, with an actor such as Casey Affleck, who was under allegations of sexual harassment, but with civil suit actions relating to his film having been settled and dismissed out of court, or directors like Woody Allen who was publicly accused of sexual abuse by his daughter and later married his adoptive daughter, or Roman Polanski who was convicted of statutory rape, I do avoid their films as best as possible, as I would prefer not to contribute to a culture that not only accepts men like this but also gives them a platform.

Similarly, although actor Mark Salling was convicted of possessing child pornography, he was only one of more than twenty people that made up the cast of Glee and I won’t let him rob me of the enjoyment that I gain from the show.

When it comes to smaller matters like an actor making a tasteless joke, such as Supernatural star Jared Padalecki, who when asked by a fan what his favourite pickup line is, replied with: “does this rag smell like chloroform to you?”, it is a little different. Such behaviour should never be excused and fans can and should call out celebrities for statements like this. However, it won’t stop me watching the show, where – again – he is one of many. Would I contribute to his anti-bullying campaign or support his other personal ventures? No, but there’s still an obligation to support the other people on the show who did not make statements like this.

In the end, everyone has to decide for themselves whether they want to watch something that involved someone accused of sexual assault, abuse, or simply someone who has been offensive. However, if you do feel like you can’t avoid their presence in the entertainment media, then there are a few things you can do to make yourself feel better, such as not watching the films and TV shows, calling out the person on social media, or even making a donation to a charity that helps victims of the type of abuse the person has perpetuated, with the money you would usually spend on a cinema ticket!

Editor's note: We apologise for our previously incorrect statement that Casey Affleck had been sued for sexual assault. The information has now been corrected in the article. Casey Affleck was NOT sued for sexual assault. These were contract disputes and the allegation was sexual harassment, not assault.  The civil suits in relation to the film I'M STILL HERE were settled to the satisfaction of all parties and dismissed in 2010.