As my husband and I sat under the full moon at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, we watched the advertisements for upcoming shows, while the crew transitioned the stage for the main show. I wasn’t paying close attention because I was still trying to process what in the heck we just watched.
“Hey, Morrissey is coming next month!” my husband noted. He looked at me and I knew what he was thinking before the words were out of his mouth. Did I want to go? his eyes asked. We’ve been on a real concert kick lately. I think I’ll have to write about Iron Maiden next.
“Ugh, that guys a racist.” Not the response my husband was expecting. I didn’t elaborate.
“Wait, really?” I guess I needed to elaborate. I rattled off my concerns with some very public comments he’s made about Chinese people, the mayor of London, immigrants.
“I guess we’re not going to see Morrissey, then,” he turned back to the screen for some other less controversial possibilities.
But is that how it goes? I know when it comes to authors, there are many books that I love or loved, written by some problematic people. (I’m looking at you Jo Row.) So what’s the right thing to do?
When it’s clear that an author or artists has acknowledged the harm they’ve done and are working to be better, I feel pretty confident in continuing to support their work. I mean, he who is without sin…right? But what if they continue to to be harmful?
With Morrissey, there’s a particular phenomenon that I also find interesting, and it’s the pass he has gotten from several people I know. For example, I have a friend who is very justice-oriented and calls out and calls in people when they do wrong. But when it comes to Morrissey, she says, “I know…” and then sheepishly hits play on Everyday is Like Sunday. Maybe that’s okay?
Curious what y’all think?
I agree with the line you draw – if they “acknowledged the harm they’ve done and are working to be better,” that is one thing…I’d probably give them a pass. But if they keep on hurting – oh no, I wouldn’t go. I wouldn’t read. I would fund or promote them in any way. Thank you for this.
Thanks for your thoughts Maureen!