How to Cope When Your Idol Messes Up

Hollywood has had its fair share of heartbreak and denial over the past few weeks. Handfuls of stars, mainly males, are being outed for gross, unwanted, non-consensual, disgusting, pathetic acts upon women and other men. We have all been touched in some way or another: either a big name you have heard in passing has been accused, or maybe someone you really looked up to has allegations against them as well.


    The biggest hit for me was when the frontman of Brand New, Jesse Lacey, was accused. He had been convicted of sexual misconduct, allegedly asking an underage girl to pose for him while he masturbated over Skype. Lacey has since apologized to fans over Facebook, where he said he had developed “an addictive relationship to sex.” I don’t even listen to Brand New - which I suppose is something to be happy about, now - but it hit close to home. So many of my friends are in love with this band. My favorite band has toured with them. It really got me thinking: when will my favorite be outed, too?


    It is bound to happen. There are only a handful of journalists who are brave enough to put a spotlight on sexual assault and misconduct in Hollywood. Otherwise, we are taught to look at these people as superhuman beings, who have accomplished things we all think we never could. We look to people in the music and movie industry as our idols. Teenagers with a dream of being laughed with, not laughed at, may have looked up to comedians like Louis C.K. And, not that this is front page news anymore, but I have looked up to Johnny Depp as an actor since I was a kid. What do we do with these conflicting feelings?


    The first and most important step is to believe and stand behind those who were assaulted and harassed. Stand behind these brave women and men who have came out against the big name stars despite fear of losing their careers. They need us now. They need people to look up to. They need people to give them hope. These brave men and women need us more than ever to look at our idols with a realistic vigor, not with  clouded admiration. Supporting the victims is, frankly, what we need to do. It is not an option. No matter how painful it can be to turn your back to your favorite celebrity, you must. We need to stop the culture of accepting such disgusting acts in Hollywood, and in our personal lives. Hollywood seems so far from reality, but believe me, they are extremely close.


    Your love for an idol previously known as a great guy is valid. But it is not valid to turn your head at those in pain, in grief, those who have been silent for far too long. It sucks that our favorite people are being outed for disgusting things, but it sucks a hell of a lot more to be sexually harassed.


    We all look at people we adore and we think that they are someone who will evict a change in the world. The truth is that they can’t. We cannot keep relying on those who are not us to make the world better. I think that the best way to cope with this horror story is this: be the change you wanted your idol to be. Stand up for basic human rights that they willfully neglected. Be a spokesperson. Support those who are hurt. Believe those who come forward. We cannot let our emotions control us this time. We always hear the Mahatma Gandhi quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I think it applies more than ever in a time like this.


    So, a short-list on how to cope:

  1. Be an advocate

  2. Stand with those coming forward

  3. Be the change your idols couldn’t be


    As we all move forward from these cases, and as we watch new ones emerge, please don’t let your emotions and love for your favorite person overcome you. The victims need us more than ever.



Brand New Frontman Accused of Sexual Misconduct: