Me Too Movement
In 2016, my family and I (all loyal Harry Potter fans) all went to the theatre to see the newest installment of the series: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. The movie wasn’t amazing, but I enjoyed watching it, until the final scene where the character “Grindelwald” was finally introduced, and to my unpleasant surprise, was played by Johnny Depp.
In 2016, actress Amber Heard accused her ex-husband, Johnny Depp being physically abusive. Many people attacked Heard online after she came out about her experience. Loyal Johnny Depp fans, as well as members of his family, said that she was accusing Depp for money and fame, but she later donated the divorce settlement money she received to charity. Amber continues to speak out about abuse and there is still debate about what went on in their relationship. Her story was one of the many that brought light to the amount of sexual misconduct and abuse that goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood. These stories later sparked the #MeToo movement.
I have always supported the Me Too movement, a campaign created for survivors of sexual harassment and assault to share their stories, using the hashtag #MeToo. The phrase “Me Too” was coined by Tarana Burke, a sexual assault survivor. The hashtag started soon after the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. When Johnny Depp was accused of abusing his ex-wife Amber Heard, I believed the allegations and was disgusted. When I discovered he was associated with a franchise that I deeply love I found it deeply upsetting. When the new “Fantastic Beasts” movie came out, with Depp starring in a lead role, I didn’t know if I wanted to see it or not.
Separating the art from the artist is a concept that suggests that the wrongdoings of an artist should not be put into account when viewing, or listening to their art. I have always been on the fence about the concept. I think that it is very easy to pick and choose the media that you want to protest, and the media that you choose to separate an artist from. The question is whether or not to watch or participate in media that include sexual assaulters or abusers?
I talked to several SLA students about their opinions on this issue. Sophomore Mo Kelly said that she does try to avoid media that includes known assaulters but she doesn’t always check to see if her movies are free of them, “I won’t look up a movie to see if there is any accused people involved in it, but if I learn that something I like has someone involved in it that has done things like sexual assault, I will stop listening to it or watching it.”
Another Sophomore, Sarah Cohen, said something similar about how she navigates watching movies, “Once I know, I will avoid the movie, but before I watch a movie I won’t go hunting to see.”
This philosophy seems to be a double-edged sword. No one wants to spend their time searching the internet for rapists or abusers, but many think that it is important to be educated about who to watch and support.
It is apparent that there is a sort of willing blindness on many people’s part, as many don’t want to stop listening to or watching their favorite things. Sophomore Kofi Kohl stated “I definitely do try and avoid stuff with bad people in them, although sometimes, I don’t know. I have watched Fantastic Beasts.”
It seems that most people have different lines on the type of people they will support, and I have to admit that I do too. My mom once told me that I only want to be a feminist when it’s convenient for me, and while that isn’t completely correct, it does hold some truth. I, like most people, will choose entertainment over morals, even in situations where things that I am passionate about are on the table. All the people that I interviewed said that they try and avoid media with rapists and abusers in them, but they all had exceptions.
I am a big Harry Potter fan, and after I saw the first “Fantastic Beasts” and realized that Johnny Depp was in it, I still decided to see the second. While it was a conversation between me and my parents on whether or not we should see it, we eventually decided to go. We’ll most likely see the next one as well, though I don’t agree with what Johnny Depp has been accused of doing.
I made a resolution in the new year to start choosing morals over convenience when picking out things like clothing and food. But, this resolution also works with the media that I consume. I completely agree with the Me Too movement, and I’m ready to start letting my actions mirror my words. I encourage you to start questioning the media that you watch and listen to, and keep in mind that whether or not you morally support a celebrity, you are financially supporting them when you watch their movies, listen to their music, or read their books.