PR CRISIS: Allegations Effecting Awards

Technically, I should say (A)ffected because it really comes down to the attitude of the voters. Sure, most of their “moods” toward potential nominees have been influenced based on whom they find morally respectable by the entertainment industry’s conduct book.

I’m not neutral. I’m conflicted.

Here’s a concept: I understand why a sexual harassment accusation would determine your opinion of someone. At the same time, when will we officially decide what is true and what is not? Some of these cases are only based on “he said/she said,” and that shouldn’t be enough to tarnish a reputation. Shoot, most of the claims weren’t formally reported, but tweeted instead.

Here’s another concept: Should a celebrity’s hard work and talent be shunned because of rumors originated from their personal life? OR, should the talent speak for itself?

Let’s tackle Concept #1: For guys like Ed Westwick or James Franco, no entity ever confirmed that the allegations against them were proven true. If we based everything off of gossip, many restaurants would go under, certain movies would never be seen, and some of us would have no friends. Not everything is true, even if #MeToo is put at the end. Just because some women are sincerely using their bravery to tell their truth, doesn’t mean that all women are trustworthy. FYI girls: if someone you don’t find attractive hits on you one time, that’s not abuse. Please don’t discredit the women who actually were abused. We are becoming the girls who cried wolf over here. I’ve noticed that the industry is taking the accusations more seriously, as Casey Affleck won the Oscar last season, while James Franco didn’t even receive a nomination for Disaster Artist this season, even though he won the Globe. Franco’s complaints became headlines just days before Oscar voting closed. I guess the Academy had a change of heart.

Now, Concept #2: Chris Brown hit Rihanna. Remember that? I think he’s a terrible person, and personally, I could live without his music or presence in entertainment. I’ve realized that in proven circumstances, I don’t believe manipulating and/or violent people deserve success. They don’t deserve to keep selling records, making movies, having devoted fans, or enjoying the lavish lifestyle for steeping so low. It happens anyway. For example, multiple athletes have been arrested for battery but they are still on the team, making just as much money. The most vital detail is that Rihanna was photographed with bruises and Chris came clean. That situation was exactly what it looked like, as were the Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey scandals, thanks to the witnesses and disturbing hard evidence.

Perspective: As a female working in Hollywood, often surrounded by powerful men, I’ve learned that most of them don’t mean any harm. The older men may not even realize what they are saying could be considered harassment. Not that it’s cool, but they’ve grown up thinking certain things are okay. These men won’t change now. They are in the latter part of their life, so their generation will die out soon anyway (RIP). Because of this, our generation will truly be the ones to change the regularity of sexual harassment. We should never ignore an accusation, but following up to find the proof should be taken just as seriously. Can’t we make it our job to stop the harassment, AND stop the lies? Surely, there is a future where this is possible.

What Are Our Options? We have spent decades sweeping inappropriate behavior and disrespect under the rug, letting the people responsible simply live their lives. Maybe that’s okay if they are truly remorseful. Remorse earns a second chance. 

So, we have two options: We can rid of these people right then and there, banning them from the industry, seizing to acknowledge their accomplishments, and basically burning all of their bridges for them. OR, we could look for the truth. Not only the truth of the story, but the truth of the person. What kind of person are they really? Are they making the kind of mistakes that should define them forever? If so, then yes, we can for sure burn them. If not, is redemption real?

In my frustration, I will admit that even after debating on this topic for the millionth time, I still can’t say exactly how we should deal with these accusations OR if the tainted reputations can ever be saved. Can you?

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