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Boycott Abusive Actors: Yes or No?

RUIN THEIR CAREERS

The much-anticipated Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiered on Nov. 18. A few months prior to its release, The Guardian  revealed that actor Johnny Depp—who played a role in the movie—had abused his now ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.

Heard filed for divorce from Depp in May of this year after Depp allegedly assaulted her in a drunken stupor. Despite this abuse case, IMDb shows that Depp will be starring in 10 more films in the next two years.  

One of the loudest arguments against filing abuse and rape cases against men is that their prospective or current careers will be harmed. Clearly, that’s not the case with Johnny Depp.

Depp’s acting career has been untouchable since he starred in Edward Scissorhands in 1999, and Heard’s abuse claims haven’t even put a dent in his reputation. Depp is not an isolated case in Hollywood: Michael Fassbender’s ex-girlfriend has a restraining order against him after he broke her nose, according to TMZ. Nicolas Cage was arrested on counts of domestic abuse according to ABC News. Fox News reported that Bill Cosby admitted last year to drugging and raping multiple women, and was still only charged with the assault of one woman with no definitive answer about the duration of his prison sentence, or whether he’s even going to prison.

Unfortunately, fans tend to turn down the volume when these allegations come to light. If we as a society continue to excuse the actions of these men, men of younger generations will learn one lesson: assaulting women is excusable. The problem is believing the statements of male rapists over those of female victims. A man guilty of assault is still held in higher regard than an innocent woman.

The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network states that out of the 46 percent of rapes that are reported, only three rapists go to jail. That’s less than 1 percent.

Hollywood culture is adding to this injustice by victimizing the rapists because they are actors. Their careers are put before their crimes.

To rephrase the beginning of this piece: abuser Johnny Depp is not sent to prison despite accusations of assault against his ex-wife, who is likely to never work in Hollywood again.

-Gem Sheps

WHAT’S THE FUSS ABOUT

Throughout Hollywood’s long reign there have been numerous scandals of rape, domestic abuse, and other crimes against the families or significant others of mega-star actors.

It seems that about once a week there is a new story about someone beating on their wife a la Brad Pitt or Christian Bale. Violence is never okay or justified in any sense towards anyone, but this happens more than the public thinks to people who aren’t actors. These actors and actresses are under a microscope, and can part of their lives is shown to the rest of the world for judgement.

At the end of the day, life goes on. Society doesn’t really actually care about the victims of these crimes, as much as they say they do. Yes, everyone still hates Chris Brown for what he did to Rihanna, but have people really taken the steps to boycott him totally? The answer is no.

Audiences have to separate the person from their work. By saying that it’s Hollywood’s duty to dole out consequences to these actors is unrealistic:  Hollywood’s duty is profit. If America is truly sick of how these multimillion dollar actors— some crime committers—behave then audiences need to boycott the industry to send a message.

America wants to believe it’s progressive, but too many tolerate the violence and rape of thousands of people everyday. Why are celebrities held to a higher standard? Rape is rape. Society can’t just say, “Bill Cosby, you’re done.” Every rapist needs to be treated that way.

Everyday these crimes are committed. For women sexually  abused by their bosses, shouldn’t their bosses lose their jobs just like someone who does the same in Hollywood? There is no separation, and it’s not Hollywood’s duty to set the tone for America. Only Americans majoritively can make that societal change possible.

There is no reason to look up to anyone in Hollywood for how to handle these sorts of decisions and punishments. Actors are not lawmakers, and the real problems lies within a flawed justice system, not the entertainment industry.

-Ashley Bauler

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