Media from "artists" whos ethics are seemingly very different from yours...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by CRyan, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    I have a question that has been on my mind a while. And certainly, its not to incite harsh feelings about any specific situation or incident.

    But I have found myself enjoying this hobby (home theater) less and less over the past couple of years. I still love the technical aspect of it, but the software has become a "problem" for me.

    Just a couple of years ago, I knew nothing of an actors life - Or a directors, or a songwriter or musician. Over the past several years, their lives and their beliefs have been almost forced on me through various media outlets. Its just not something you can escape unless you live in a hole and have no friends.

    I personally dont care about their life or their views on life. They do their job, I pay them for that job. It was a simple arrangement.

    Lately though, that is just not the case. I no longer watch a movie and see the character they are portraying. I start thinking about the last rediculous (to me) statement they made on religion or politics.

    For example. The whole Polanski thing. Some of the comments made from directors or actors in support of this guy were appaling to me. Now this is where I dont really want to get into a big thing about the rights and wrongs of Polanski - Suffice it to say I just cannot bring myself to support another movie of his. Prior to this I will admit I was blissfully unaware of the situation. But now I even find myself not wanting to spend money on movies of those in support of him.

    So the point of this thread is what to do? Does anyone else think at all this way? Am I being a tad overdramatic?

    Celebrities of all kinds sometimes hold tremendous influence today in media. They have a large audience and quite a bit of capital.
    I wouldn't willingly give money to a local cause that was obivously in conflict with my own beliefs - Who would? So I find myself not wanting to give money to an actor (as an example) that was going to then use it to spew out their hate or promote some cause I dont agree with.

    I know people support their favorite actor in many ways - Seeing every movie they are in etc. I know people who support actors simply because of their views on life or a cause. So what about the opposite of that?

    So what do you all think? Thoughts at all?
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Criminal (or seemingly criminal) acts where someone is hurt or damaged is where I draw the line. I'll forgive a DUI or drug charge, but I won't buy any Polanski film, I won't buy any Woody Allen film. They are geniuses, but they are also sick, creepy old men who preyed on young girls. As far as those supporting them? Well, I forgive talented people for being moronically stupid. Matter of fact, moronically stupid often seems synonymous with talent. I loathe Sean Penn's politics, but he's a hell of an actor. He's never broken the law or hurt anyone (that I know of), so I can look past his stupidity and see the character. Same thing with Mel Gibson, so I'm an equal opportunity forgiver. YMMV.
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I can separate the art from the artist. I don't care about a creative person's politics or religious views, etc. enough that their opinions or beliefs would stop me from looking at their work.

    Like Jeff, acts that result in a person being injured are another can of worms. To use the current example, when I hear that someone supports Roman Polanski, I don't boycott their work but I can't imagine why they support him. Chinatown was great but it doesn't mean you get to have anal sex with 13 year old girls without any consequences (and that's giving Polanski the benefit of the doubt that he didn't rape the girl).
     
  4. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I think the above really strikes how I feel. There are lots of actors, actresses and musicians who have advocated things to me that I found at times repugnant. A good example of this (for me) would be Amy Winehouse. Love the music. Her first album I thought was brilliant. As a person, she's a scumbag. And yes, she's a criminal, though her crimes are all drug use.

    So, I just overlook it and don't think about it.
    Woody Allen would be my "I can't do it", I loved some of his films, and I'll watch on TV for some. But I won't buy the DVD or Bluray, because I don't want any of my money directly going to him.

    For the most part, though, I can get past that and watch the film. I don't mind any of that. I just won't pay for it.
     
  5. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    This seems like a thread on the edge, but I'll play along as long as it's open.

    I'm out of sync with 99.9% of Hollywood, so I would watch nothing and listen to nothing if I had to agree with everybody. That said, there are some who just take it too far and I can't do it. I can't even stand to look at Clooney, so there's no way I could watch a movie he was in no matter how good it might be in spite of his presence. Luckily, I have never had any interest in his work.

    There's an old-time western swing artist named Spade Cooley who stomped his wife to death in front of his daughter. Can't listen to him. On the other hand, I still listen to the Drifters in spite of what Spector did, so I guess I have a bit of a double standard when it comes to things I like. Then again, I'd be "punishing" a lot of innocent people in cases like that just to avoid the producer/instrumentalist.
     
  6. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    Personally I don't care what someone's politics are. As far at the Polanski thing, I think the man is a pedophile and belongs in prison for the next 20 years, however that doesn't change the fact that Chinatown is one of my favorite movies.

    The only thing that bugs me is when an actor or director brings their politics blatantly into the film itself. I don't even mind fairly subtle films like All The Presidents Men, which if made today would probably just be a boring diatribe against the "right" rather than fascinating a film about two investigators.

    An example is Jane Fonda. Brilliant actress. All you have to do is look at two films, Klute and 9 to 5 to know that she can do it all. Hell I'd love to work with her. However I don't want to know about her politics and her causes. Frankly her film (which she produced) The China Syndrome set back nuclear power production 40 years in this country. We are only not starting to talk again about building new plants. All because one actor/producer scared the hell out of people with a film that is rather misleading about the industry.

    Doug
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    If you check the credits, I think you'll find that Michael Douglas produced the film. Fonda has rarely been a producer.

    As for its impact, I'm sure the people who made it would be thrilled to believe that a mere film could have been so powerful. But a few weeks after the film was released, an incident known as "Three Mile Island" occurred, and without it The China Syndrome would have been just another thriller. The timing may have been an unfortunate coincidence (or a fortunate one, depending on one's point of view), but the resulting effect can hardly be said to be the the work of "one actor/producer".
     
  8. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    I for the most part separate the person from the media they produce. I was surprised how people reacted to Tom Cruise's antics on Oprah a few years ago. I was hearing people say stuff like "I'm never going to see another one of his movies." I was like "who cares, as long as the movie is good?"

    Then again, I do have my limits. If Woody Allen or Roman Polanski agreed to do an adaptation of "Lolita", or if Michael Vick starred in a dog movie, then I'd have to boycott those!
     
  9. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I look at it this way. Say, for example, I buy a Polanski film: maybe he goes out and buys a new, high powered sports car. One day he's driving it and decides to see what it can do. He opens it up, goes out of control, hits a tree and it's goodbye Mr. Polanski. I can always think warm thoughts that my money contributed to the removal of a scumbag from the face of the Earth. At the same time, while I wait for said fortuitous event to occur, I can still enjoy watching a pretty good movie like "Chinatown".
    Now, before I get called a lot of nasty names, I am going to say that for the most part the preceding is said tongue-in-cheek, so it should not be taken too seriously. That being said, my purchase of a Polanski film is not a transaction that legitimizes the pig's behavior. It is strictly a business transaction for a piece of entertainment that is wholly separate from any of his personal failings.

    Where I would draw the line is spending money on any book or film where Polanski or his adoring, apologist friends tried to make coin from the crime he committed. O.J Simpson is a good example of what I'm referring to. He writes about the murders he committed and tries to mitigate his confession by qualifying it with the title "If I did it". He then tries to actually profit from the crimes he committed by attempting to sell the book. In that case, I would never purchase any such book because then I would be directly helping a scumbag get rich from the act of committing murder. .
     
  10. Nathan*W

    Nathan*W Screenwriter

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    My personal formula for support/non-support comes from how vocal the artist they themselves are. If an actor/director goes out of their way to inform me of their beliefs/opinions, I think it's my obligation to direct my liesure funds based on my level of agreement to their position. I can separate the art from the artist, but that doesn't mean I need to line their pockets. If I can enjoy the art without financially supporting the artist, I do so (for example borrowing a Polanski film from the library versus buying). It's a personal policy that works for me.
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I mostly don't care. But sometimes the wall is broken. This happened with Tom Cruise, when he revealed his true self a few years back, going bonkers on Oprah and touting his Scientology nonsense. I don't want to care about this. I'd enjoyed his movies for years. But now, the illusion is broken. I can't see him playing a role, I just see the dumbass on Oprah's couch. And I don't have any interest in his current movies.

    Whaddya do?
     
  12. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    I believe your right about Fonda being the producer on China Syndrome. I was confusing it with 9 to 5 which she developed and on which she was an un-credited executive producer.

    The incident at Three Mile Island was not nearly as serious as it was blown up to be by the press, which was directly influenced by the plot of the film which was released about 2 weeks before. The Three Mile Island accident would likely have been a page 3 story if it had not been for the film.

    Doug
     
  13. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    You actually believe that a partial core meltdown of a nuclear reactor would have been page 3 news if not for a Jane Fonda movie?
    You gotta be kidding.
     
  14. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    These are people doing jobs. They get paid for those jobs when I buy their product. I buy the product based on whether or not I want the product, not the behavior of the people making the product. The guy who dropped the engine into your car might be a serial killer. If you knew he was a serial killer would you not buy the car?

    I'll admit to having a knee jerk thing that prevents me from supporting certain actors or moviemakers films but it has everything to do with artistic prejudice on my part and not any concern about their personal lives.

    I'll avoid Cruise movies because he's a screen hog whose power in the industry cows directors and producers into turning what could have been good films into showcases for his enormous ego. I could care less if he's a Roman Catholic or Scientologist or Wiccan.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    You've never chosen a contractor or salesperson in part because of the "vibe" you got from them? Personality has never played a role in choosing the product or whom you bought from? :) Personality certainly affects regular business. How much more when the business is oneself projected on an 80-foot screen?
     
  16. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer
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    Originally Posted by Edwin-S
     
  17. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    I think I need to get to where Jeff and Dave are. I swear I am not a nutjob. I am generally pretty ambivalent about things.

    I am not sure what has happened with me on this. Its just gotten very hard for me to get past all the nonsense and just enjoy the flick. And I guess its just because of the oversaturation of celebrity in our everyday lives. I cant sit and read a news outlet without reading something new and usually disturbing.

    I mean I wouldnt hire a well renouned contractor if I knew he was also a slumlord. Or I wouldn't shop at a store if I knew the owner was using procedes from sales to fund a political stance I was vehemently against. I wouldnt buy the coolest product in the world if I knew the proprietor was going to go speak positively at a neonazi convention.

    I guess maybe I have started attaching to much importance to the meaning of my dollar. But sometimes I feel like I am just walkin up to one of these people, saying hey, here is more money, keep on doing what you're doing (on and off the screen).

    There just doesnt seem like there are many aspects of life (except in entertainment) where people in droves do this - hand over loads of cash to what many would consider a horrible person.
     
  18. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Having a different political opinion or religious belief than you isn't the same as somone being a slumlord or a neo-Nazi though.
     
  19. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Oh I basically agree. I dont believe I did a great job of explaining it in that last post - I did better in the first one. But then again, it COULD be the same thing. It depends on the person and what they do with it. Take John Travolta versus Tom Cruise on their religious beliefs. I personally have never heard Travolta showcase his beliefs as I have Cruise. Maybe he has but I havent heard it personally.

    Celebrity in this day comes with a certain platform for their beliefs. Some seem to use that platform (that we have afforded them) to promote their beliefs. Some dont.

    I guess my point is... Do I care if I am willingly giving my money to someone that I know will use it to promote a beliefe with which I dont agree, or in a case such as Polanski, giving money to a pedophile.
     
  20. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Originally Posted by CRyan

    These are people doing jobs. They get paid for those jobs when I buy their product. I buy the product based on whether or not I want the product, not the behavior of the people making the product. The guy who dropped the engine into your car might be a serial killer. If you knew he was a serial killer would you not buy the car?


    I'm with Steve.
     

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