It’s no secret that right now in Hollywood, sexual assault allegations are coming out about different people left and right. Starting with the Harvey Weinstein allegations, even more women are coming forward with their stories, making it a seemingly never-ending hot topic. Popular figures like Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, and more have now had allegations come out publicly against them, more women stepping forward every day to share their stories.
This can be very difficult to deal with as a fan of one or more of these people. The logical thing is to stand with the women who have the bravery to come forward, and (hopefully) we all know this. But it turns into a cognitive dissonance situation when it’s about someone you idolize and have loved, maybe for years. For me, when the allegations against Jeffrey Tambor became public, I was heartbroken. I’ve loved him for years, from his roles in Arrested Development and Archer to his role in Transparent; he’s always been on my list of favorites.
So what should we do when one of our favorites becomes problematic, to say the least?
It’s okay to be torn up about it
It seems like many people don’t want to admit that they’re upset that someone they idolize has committed sexual assault. It’s okay to be upset about it, and it’s okay to vocalize your feelings about it. Just because you idolized this person for whatever they’ve done in Hollywood or politics or whatever, doesn’t have to mean you idolize their behaviors.
Don’t live in denial
It’s easy to be shocked and in disbelief when someone you love has been accused of sexual assault. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore these allegations and go on with idolizing this person. You have to acknowledge what they’ve done, and educate yourself as much as possible on the crime they’ve committed. Just because you love someone, does not mean you can just ignore these allegations and pretend like it didn’t happen.
Believe the women
No woman would willingly put themselves through something so emotionally taxing for nothing. These women have the bravery to come forward, publicly nonetheless, and share a part of their lives that should never have happened in the first place, against powerful public figures. This is a huge thing for someone to go through, and while acknowledging your disappointment in your favorite public figure, you cannot just say that the women are lying, and that it can’t be true. There is no excuse in the world to exonerate the men who have allegations against them, it doesn’t matter if they’re smart, funny, nice, or your favorite. Don’t discredit these women just because you don’t want to believe it.
We have never seen such a powerful movement to publicly exposing sexual assault in Hollywood and beyond. It seems like every day there is a new allegation, and that’s why it becomes difficult for those who loved these public figures. That being said, if we continue this movement, hopefully in the future women will not feel silenced when speaking about their own sexual assault stories. And we have to prioritize here, is it more important to protect the reputation of a loved public figure, or find justice for the women who have lived in silence until now? We have the power to decide that, like never before.