The Clarion

Fandom should not overlook violent behavior

Matt Withers, Arts Editor

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Separating the art from an artist can be practically impossible. Where do consumers draw the line? Does talent excuse erratic and sometimes violent behavior? No, but as a society we tend to be more lenient to people who bring us joy.

Headlines are constantly filled with reports of celebrities being accused of a variety of crimes, some resulting in a harmless ticket, others a form of horrendous abuse. One of the most recent examples of the latter is 19-year old rapper XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Onfroy.

Onfroy, who released his debut album “17” on Aug. 25, was charged last October with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering. Onfroy has pled “not guilty” to all four charges. The trial is set to begin on Oct. 5 and has sparked an Internet debate on whether it is morally acceptable to support artists involved in these types of exploits, even if you like their music.

It’s a minefield of a topic. On one hand, there is the argument that the person behind the music doesn’t really matter. The other side of the argument is that the artist is inseparable from the art they produce. I tend to agree with the latter.

When listening to the music of XXXTentacion now, I can’t help but feel a sinister air around it. Songs I once enjoyed, I can’t tolerate now. Onfrey has expressed in the past that if you’re a fan of his, you should follow him no matter what he’s done. The idea that you are required to support an artist through thick and thin is strange because, in reality, fans are consumers. Would you support a local business if the owner had done the same things he has been accused of? While it’s important for an artist to express themselves how they see fit in their art, we as consumers reserve the right to punish horrible behavior.

In the end, accusations against Onfrey may be proven false. If he is found guilty, though, we should not passively condone his actions by continuing to support his music. That goes for any artist you feel morally crosses the line. In our society, one of the most powerful things you can do to make your dissatisfaction known is to vote with your wallet.

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Fandom should not overlook violent behavior