Take Two: Hate the artist, love the art

Pauline Villegas and Emily Jacobsson

With awards season well under way, this is the time of the year when people in the film industry are acknowledged for their great work by their fans and peers alike. However, when an actor’s personal life is taken into account, the response to their work can completely change.

Emily Jacobsson: A popular question recently, especially with many celebrity centered controversies, has been if it is possible to hate the artist, but love their art. I think it’s completely possible. Someone’s personal life does not, and arguably should not, change what you think about their work.

Pauline Villegas: Yeah, I think that should be true, but to what extent? At the end of the day, fans and viewers choose to like and dislike actors for a variety of reasons, and their personal life happens to be among these reasons.

EJ: I don’t think that’s necessarily true though. Shouldn’t the main factor as to whether or not you like an actor be dictated by how well they perform on screen? I wouldn’t like a bad actor solely for being a good person, and likewise I wouldn’t completely disregard an actor’s talents because I disagree with their morals and what they do in their daily lives.

PV: I think that for a professional who reviews movies and shows for a living that may be true; however, for the average person, it can be hard for us to completely disregard what a person does in real life.

For example, when Nate Parker, producer and star of “The Birth of a Nation” admitted to being involved in a rape case years ago, many viewers saw this as a reason to boycott his movie. Because of the movie’s poor numbers, it was completely overlooked for this year’s major awards.

EJ: It is hard to ignore the negative connotations someone’s name may have after they do something as horrible as that. But I do think that the fate of “The Birth of a Nation” is exactly why the separation of an actor’s personal and work life is important.

Because of Parker’s actions, which he was accused of single-handedly, the rest of the cast and crew of an admittedly beautiful and powerful movie suffered as well. We can both agree that an actor’s personal life does  affect their career, but the larger question still remains of whether or not it should.

PV: Honestly, I believe that their personal lives should be taken into account. Personally, when an actress I don’t like, say Jennifer Lawrence, comes out in a movie, I try my best to avoid it. Although the movie “Passengers” held an interesting concept, I was turned off by the fact that she was the star. Acting should be treated like any other profession, and who you are matters to the people buying your product.

EJ: That’s a fair point. I think ultimately it lies in the ability, or rather willingness, of the individual to make a distinction between a celebrity’s personal and professional life.