Can the art ever truly be separated from the artist?
2021 is shaping up to be a big year of releases with big artists like Drake and Kanye releasing albums in the coming months. Donda, Kanye’s upcoming album is one of the most anticipated works this year. However, after the Donda show many felt uneasy at the prospect of listening to an album featuring two rather polarising artists who have both been accused of some serious crimes.
Marilyn Manson: Allegations of Assault
An American singer and songwriter, Marilyn Manson, also known as Brian Hugh Warner has been accused of both sexual and physical abuse by numerous women. Actress Evan Rachel wood named him as her abuser in February stating “I stand with many victims, who will no longer be silent.” The pair were briefly in a relationship when the actress was only 18 and Manson was 36. No matter whether the abuse allegations are true, the large age gap in between the two does place Manson in an arguable position of power. When a teenager dates a man almost 20 years their senior, there would be a serious risk of a power in balance in the relationship regardless of either parties’ initial intentions. Evan Rachel wood is not the only ex who has filed charges against Manson, at least four others of his exes have detailed the intense sexual and physical abuse they suffered under Manson.
Manson did come to his own defence claiming “my intimate relationships have always been with entirely consensual, with like minded partners” in his Instagram post.
Whilst Manson may have claimed all his partners were consensual, in his autobiography which he co-authored, and was publicised for being his “own words” he details an alleged assault on a woman in the 90s. The story involved Manson and Trent Razor playing a game where they try and get two women drunk to the point of unconsciousness; stating “you convince them to drink their large glass until they vomit, pass out and are left to be tormented.” After convincing these two women, Manson describes assaulting her whilst she was conscious, but had just drank a huge amount of tequila. Even if this story is not true, I believe it demonstrates the pure lack of empathy Marilyn Manson executes towards women.
Dababy: Homophobic tweets caused intense backlash
Dababy came under fire this year after a homophobic rant in 2020. The 29-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jonathan Kirk, had recently risen in popularity after his first No.1 hit “Rockstar”.
Backlash to DaBaby’s performance began building after a video was circulated online, which showed the rapper making homophobic comments onstage.
“If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cell phone lighter up,” he said. “Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d— in the parking lot, put your cell phone lighter up.”
The comments feed into the harmful stereotype that gay men are promiscuous and “diseased” as aids is when it first became widespread, was viewed as a disease that only gay men could suffer from. Obviously, this statement is filled with misconceptions and false information. Aids is a sexually transmitted disease that one can suffer from regardless of sexual orientation, and to constantly link the disease to gay men is not only discriminatory, but simply untrue.
After being called out by multiple celebrities, including Dua Lipa, Dababy explained his comments. “”What me and my fans do at the live show, it don’t concern all you n—-s on the internet or you bitter b—–s on the internet. It’s not y’all’s business,” he said.”All the lights went up, gay or straight. You wanna know why? ‘Cause even my gay fans don’t got f—ing AIDS,” he continued. “They don’t got AIDS. My gay fans, they take care of themselves. They ain’t no nasty gay n—-s. See what I’m saying? They ain’t no junkies.”
Unfortunately, the comments further the idea that having aids is ‘dirty’ and ‘nasty’ a stigma which contributes to many not seeking help when they have aids, fearing judgment, and results in unnecessary deaths.
He later came out with an apology stating “”Anybody who done ever been affected by AIDS/HIV y’all got the right to be upset, what I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So, my apologies,” he wrote. However, many called his apology rude and ingenuine, saying they believed the rapper was not truly sorry.
Should they still be profiting in 2021?
We can throw around phrases around “free speech” and “innocent until proven guilty” but they even if they are innocent of their alleged crimes, they still said what they said. No one forced Manson to tell such a demeaning story about that woman in his book, and no one forced Dababy to write those tweets. Can people change? Absolutely. But when you’re filthy rich, with a loyal fanbase, why would you?
Neither of these powerful, wealthy men has had any incentive to change. Sure, both have received backlash which may have affected their pockets a little. But many people are still supporting them, and whilst they still have a nice cushy flow of cash they don’t truly need to change. They can just drop a notes app apology, and then be featured on one of the most celebrated artists upcoming albums. Any so called change they have the chance of having is quashed. Why would they change when they’re still financially stable?
Maybe it’s an argument for the conscience. Perhaps both these men have developed better morality because they have been called out by previous colleagues and friends. But realistically, neither of them have demonstrated true responsibility for their actions, both continue to either ignore the allegations, or only after loss of brand deals have they truly issued an apology. This would not be the reaction of people who had matured and learned form their mistakes and were willing to grow.