Why Separating the Artist from the Art is Impossible

Many famous individuals, such as Kanye West or Rex Orange County have made offensive statements or committed criminal offenses. Yet, people continue to support and defend them.

Fans continue defend  celebrities, despite problematic statements.

CommonWealth Times

Fans continue defend celebrities, despite problematic statements.

Claire Satiroff, Columnist

Artists throughout the years have made offensive statements or have committed offensive actions, some of which are unforgivable. Yet, people continuously ignore this, and have started using the phrase, “separate the artist from their art.” They use this phrase in order to still enjoy an artist’s art when that artist has already been canceled, but it is impossible to continue to support an artist’s art without directly profiting them. 

Many artists such as Kanye West or Rex Orange County have been discussed when using this phrase. Kanye West has made many offensive statements, according to CNN, West said in an interview, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” Slavery is a very sensitive topic to discuss and with West being a person of color, many other people of color look to him as a role model. So West making this extremely careless statement hit many, and this isn’t the first insensitive thing he has said. West has made any antisemitic comments throughout the years, he was reported saying, “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE. The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.” Not only did West incite violence towards Jews, but he also claimed that his comment was not antisemitic because Jewish people can be black, so he is therefore exempt from facing any hate for being an antisemite. These are not the only hateful statements that West has made and he will surely make more. Yet people continue to defend him, saying that he made great music and that they should be able to listen to it, despite him being a hateful person. 

West is not the only artist facing hate, Rex Orange County, real name Alex O’Connor, was charged with six counts of sexually assaulting a woman, according to BBC. He put a stop on his tour, claiming that it was for family reasons before it was revealed that he was facing criminal charges. O’Connor then revealed that he would be releasing an album called Who Cares in response to the allegations, an extremely insensitive move to an unforgivable action. O’Connor has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled for the third of January. 

Despite all of this, many still support the artists, claiming that people are able to separate the artist from the art. Yet, listening to Wests or O’Connors music directly profits them. They each have hundreds of millions of views, making them millions of dollars. Not only is profit an issue, but so is platforming. When people continue to listen to people like West or O’Connor, they give them a platform. This makes it appear that these rich and famous people never have to face any consequences for their actions. By supporting people like West or O’Connor, it is essentially being said that they can do whatever they want, no matter who they hurt.