It’s time we face a simple fact: we don’t know anything about our favorite celebrities, and most (if not all) of them are bad people. Sure, we can feign surprise that a guy who tells lots of masturbation jokes also likes to masturbate in front of women without consent. And yeah, we can tell ourselves that we’re shocked by the revelation that the guy behind the show about women getting harassed non-stop in the 60s may have been harassing women for real in the 00s. Or pretend to be surprised when many, many women come forward to accuse a Hollywood executive of leading a sexually abusive life on a scale that would have been laughed off as completely unrealistic in a pitch meeting.
Truthfully, none of these revelations are a shock at all. Not just because women have been talking about them for years, but also because nothing can be surprising when we know nothing about the personal lives of these people. So, rather than finding yourself trapped in a situation where you’re defending accused child molesters because you’re a big fan of K-PAX and don’t want to watch it without feeling guilty, it’s time to be proactive: Distance yourself from the people behind the art.
This proposal doesn’t just include known predators. There is a not-zero chance that Jeff Goldblum has spent the last three decades running a tequila-soaked Russian roulette tournament out of the back of a Nevada brothel, and yet we all ran to the theaters to see him in Thor: Ragnarok recently, and we still watch Jurassic Park. Bryan Cranston recently asked us to consider forgiving Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, meaning there’s at least a 5 percent chance Breaking Bad was drawing on real-life experiences and he’s hoping for his own forgiveness. We don’t know a whole lot about Ryan Gosling, but we certainly shouldn’t rule out the possibility he created the Feminist Ryan Gosling meme as an elaborate front for an insidious double life. And sure, we all agree Weird Al is literally the last person on Earth who would do something terrible, but isn’t that what “The Neighbor” is always saying on the evening news about the latest suspect in a quadruple homicide?
This epidemic of harassment and abuse is systemic, and requires a systemic response, which means holding ourselves and all Hollywood men accountable. Make them flock to Twitter to try to make #NotAllActors trend when you stop buying tickets to every single movie and concert. Cancel your subscription services before some horrible truth about the entire cast of Bojack Horseman surfaces, and you find yourself defending black market organ trafficking or toddler fight clubs because you love Will Arnett. If you can’t have an honest conversation about the consequences of Hollywood’s sordid history because it butts up against your favorite shows, it’s time to stop having favorites at all.
Or if, after all this, you’re just here for easy answers and a cheat sheet to make you feel better, you can always consult this flowchart. You’ll be back to all your favorites with peace of mind in no time.