The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

73° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Cosby allegations ruin work

I could dance around the matter, but I’ll just get straight to the point and say this column is about Bill Cosby being a rapist.

Well, technically an “alleged” rapist, but given how many women have come forward, his plausible deniability is nil, like a fig leaf on a landfill of Jell-O pudding pops, rotting and melting in the sun.

A variety of conversations arose in the wake of the Cosby scandal, from discussions about the way women are not given the benefit of the doubt in these situations to debates on whether the idea of sex as a “game” to be “won” by men in our society creates horrors such as these.

But, there is another question this situation brings up: What do we do when artists we admire turn out to be complete scum?

I mean, we have an easier time acknowledging it when they’re dead. Nerd god H.P. Lovecraft was a huge racist, and, to ruin your childhood, Roald Dahl was a big ol’ anti-Semite. But they are gone, so we can feel isolated from their prejudiced views while we enjoy their work.

But then, what of the ones who still live? My father is a huge Led Zeppelin fan, even though Jimmy Page reportedly kidnapped and raped a 14-year-old girl. I used to love the writer Chris H. Wolf and video maker Jon Jafari, until I got more and more disgusted with their reactionary politics.

Ignoring it all and just following their work without supporting them may work for some. But for others, the cognitive dissonance drowns out the good of their work, like finding out that most vanilla flavoring comes from beaver rear glands. It doesn’t help when the artist goes Frank-Miller-type crazy as his (they’re usually a “he”) nonsensical views get pushed to the forefront of his work.

We cannot let them still stand as cultural icons because of the people they hurt, but we cannot dislodge the memories of the good they did for our souls.

Perhaps this is why The Death of the Author theory was invented: to keep the love of what a creator makes from being tainted by who the creator is. But as long as a creator is still around to make money from our support, we’re ultimately ethically obligated to be good consumers who put our money where our mouths are.

So, you can keep watching “The Cosby Show” — but only if you pirate the episodes.


Tom Johnson is a film & television studies junior. Follow her on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search