80 allegations against Harvey Weinstein, 20 plus allegations against Kevin Spacey and now 25 allegations against Mark Schwahn. Each day seems to start with another celebrity getting called out for their shady encounters. It’s a strange and uncomfortable scene in the entertainment world right now and people are having a tough time trying to figure out how to react.
I understand this weird limbo period. I was a huge fan of Spacey. When I heard the news of his first sexual assault allegation, my first reaction was to call bullshit. But then I read an amazingly detailed Buzzfeed article and I had to accept the fact that a favorite actor of mine had made some pretty messed up choices.
It’s a tough and frustrating situation considering that every time we open our Twitter feed another celebrity is accused.
It’s gotten so bad that people have been calling for positive celebrity stories on Twitter in which normal people tweet about a positive interaction with a celebrity. There is so much negativity in entertainment that people are finding joy in hearing a 140 (or 280) character story about two people having a pleasant meeting.
But, we all have to remember one important thing, just because we love them does not mean we can ignore what they have done. So far, I haven’t seen any type of support for ignorant people in the media which is absolutely amazing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening outside of the media. There is this fun little thing called cognitive dissonance. Basically, what it means is that people struggle to come to terms with difficult or uncomfortable situations because what they thought or wanted to happen isn’t happening which causes emotional turmoil.
For example: I loved Kevin Spacey. I thought he was an amazing actor and person. Kevin Spacey has 20 plus sexual assault allegations currently against him. This makes me mad and confused about how to feel about him.
Now, there are different ways that people deal with cognitive dissonance. One way is to trivialize or deny the information, another is to only highlight the positives of the situation or they can act as if the information doesn’t apply to them. The most likely response to these allegations is to say that they are not true, or to deny to the information.
Another common explanation is to say that the assault or harassment didn’t happen to you and therefore it doesn’t matter how you feel about said celebrity.
Both responses are wrong. These allegations come with proof: with this many people coming out against these celebrities it’s hard to deny every allegation. Instead of denying or shrugging it off people need to accept the fact that it sucks.
From there, they need to hope and pray that abusers learn from their mistakes and understand that they did wrong.
I’m not going to tell people to boycott every movie, TV show or production the accused were involved in. At this point it would wipe out half of the entertainment sector. Instead, it is important to be conscious of the accusations and allegations. Don’t act like they aren’t happening or are untrue, and don’t distance yourself because they don’t personally apply to you.
The accusations are real, and they are serious. The least society can do is support the victims rather than the accused.
Katie Ryan is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at KR822409@wcupa.edu.