To say that I’m a Kate Winslet fan would be putting it mildly. After Titanic‘s release, I began one of my first full-on obsessions where I’d buy or rent all the movies she had been in and watch every interview. It’s something I’ve done with a lot of celebs, though most I eventually get over. Kate is one of the few who I still adore.
I feel similarly about her costar in Wonder Wheel, Justin Timberlake. I was (and still am) a huge fan of his. I loved him on MMC. I favored *NSYNC to the Backstreet Boys. I bought his first album, his second album, etc. I contemplated using Napster to get some of his music back before he played Sean Parker in The Social Network. I’ve seen most of his movies.
At different points in my life, I’ve had fan sites for both Justin and Kate. I used to write RPF1 about Justin and *NSYNC. These are individuals I adore.
The writer and director for their latest movie isn’t.
To steal a term from the BDSM world, Woody Allen is a hard limit for me. I’ve seen one of his films,2 which I hadn’t noticed was his before I watched it.3 I can’t separate Allen’s work from the child sexual abuse allegations and from his bizarre choice to marry his former girlfriend’s adopted daughter. These are not actions I want to endorse, which is what I would feel I was doing if I watched the films.
I can’t watch my all-time favorite actress or one of my favorite musicians act together because the person making the film is a schmuck. And a part of me is kinda fucking pissed that they’ve both acted like working with him was not wrong or completely disgusting. I’ve felt that outrage with other faves, i.e. when Kristen Stewart not only acted in his film, but tried to excuse the behavior.
I can’t condemn people like Roy Moore or Donald Trump for being sexual predators if I’m not going to condemn people like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, R. Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, etc. I can’t pretend to have an ethical standard then abandon it when following the standard gets a little difficult. I have to apply it to the people who I like it I apply it to the ones I don’t. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.
No, it isn’t meaningless.
It just doesn’t mean what I want it to mean. It warps that standard into something tragic, vicious, and crude. It becomes hypocrisy.
I cannot be part of a system that gives abusers and racists a slap on the wrist, then wring my hands over what message is sent by that lack of punishment. I cannot pretend that it is okay to be watching a movie by a person I know is abusive. I can’t act like my money and my time aren’t essentially endorsing rape or abuse if I watch Wonder Wheel or any other movie or television show, so I won’t try to do so.