Tom Hanks argues that we should separate art from the sexual predator artist

Under One Umbrella Benefit for Stanford Women’s Cancer Center featuring Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks and Ellie Guardino

The arguments for and against separating an artist from their art will always be pretty controversial, especially in the current #MeToo era. I used to be a fan of Woody Allen’s films, but I can’t watch them anymore given what I know now. I’ve still never seen The Pianist because Roman Polanski directed it. And yet… I watched Good Will Hunting on TV the other weekend, even though I know full well that Matt Damon is an a–hole, Ben Affleck groped Hilarie Burton and the whole thing was produced by Harvey Weinstein. The whole “this person is canceled” thing is all well and good, but… people still watch and enjoy the art created by predators, rapists, abusers and molesters. Where do we draw the line? Is it a line every person needs to define for themselves? I don’t know. I am saying that with all honesty.

So, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep stopped by Buzzfeed to promote The Post, and they were drawn into this larger conversation about separating the art from the artist and all of that. Tom’s answers kind of bugged me.

Amid rampant sexual misconduct claims against Hollywood’s elite, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep discussed separating the art from the artist on Tuesday.

“If you threw out every film or TV show that was made by an a–hole, Netflix would go out of business,” Tom Hanks said during a BuzzFeed News Q&A for his new film, “The Post.” “I think you do just have … to wait because this is a long game… Picasso was a womanizer, this is not excusing anybody. You just have to wait and see how it settles over the long haul. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon. I think work does speak for itself, but character does come into the conversation at some point, but I think that lands over time.”

Streep, 68, who despite her friendship with Harvey Weinstein spoke out against him following accusations of sexual assault and harassment, compared it to Shakespeare’s work.

“We still revere Shakespeare,” she said. “I mean we haven’t thrown [“The Merchant of Venice”] out and there is no question that that play is antisemitic. There’s no question that ‘The Taming of The Shrew’ is misogynist. Everybody has their blank spots, but the genius that understands about the human experiment is worth safeguarding and shouldn’t be touched…People who are terrible also have terribly clear insights on other subjects, so I don’t think you throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

[From Page Six]

I think what bugs me about the “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” argument is that was the argument for how all of these predators thrived in Hollywood this whole time – people knew they were abusive (the extent of the abuses was not always well-known, granted), and people chose to keep on working with these abusive monsters because they made good art. You know who else could have been making great art this whole time? All of the women who were abused, harassed, raped, assaulted and humiliated just because they wanted to work. The whole idea of “this is a marathon, maybe after a year or two, people won’t care so much about all of the rapes” seems… cold.

I also hate how Hanks especially conflates “being a womanizer” with “being a sexual predator.” There’s a difference between a man being a total a–hole who has a series of consensual relationships versus a man abusing his authority and power to humiliate, assault and harass unconsenting women. There are many men in Hollywood (and in every industry) who womanize and sleep around… with consenting partners. That’s not what we’re talking about at all. We’re talking about the culture of harassment and abuse, the ingrained rape culture of patriarchy and the nature of consent.

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174 Responses to “Tom Hanks argues that we should separate art from the sexual predator artist”

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    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Really. Too soon. And even later, not right. No one’s “throwing out art,” we’re too busy trying to put people in jail.

    • Tiny Martian says:

      Yeah. I really believe that the only way to teach assholes not to be assholes is to let them know that their behaviour is inexcusable and that they will never get ahead in their chosen professions if they act that way. Instead, we live in a world where power hungry people not only get away with abusive behaviour, but are professionally rewarded time and time again.

      So, sorry Tom, but I really do believe that there have to be consequences for inexcusable actions.

    • AnnaKist says:

      I get what he’s saying, but…no, mate. In order to make the art, victims have had to endure predatory behaviour such as humiliation through words and touch, and much, much worse, from people with money, connections and immeasurable power within that industry. The lower ranks rely on those mongrels for, very often, their bread and butter. So, TH, you’re a very rich white male, also with connections and power, so go off and make your art with whomever you choose, and just leave people to feel what they feel.

      • Lucytunes says:

        Right on Annkist.

        This was the disconnect I initially felt about Cosby. He did a number of really wonderful things for the African American community and his contributions in certain areas still hold a great value. But then one day I tried to sit down with my daughter to watch an old episode of the Cosby Show, and I just couldn’t. There is no way for me to explain to her that it’s okay to watch this, be entertained, by a man that has done so many horrible things. I couldn’t make the mental gymnast needed to make any justification stick. I value her and myself to much for that.

        At the endof the day, your legacy is your legacy. You can’t undo it. And yes, you can have a positive and negative legacy at the same time. You can’t separate one from the other. So sure, this art can still exist and be viewed, etc.; but it should always be linked to their hennious acts. “The man who made this great thing, also abused women, did horrible, criminal acts.” If you want to continue to support that fine, but we have the right to reject it as well.

    • Wurstfingers says:

      Run, Forrest, run home.
      Ugh, just nopedeenope.

    • Moxylady says:

      Didn’t read. You don’t get to tell women how to react to the news of sexual abuse. You are canceled for me. Shut your Gump face.

      • Blinkbanana says:

        Think of it this way. Every time you watch their “art” they literally get paid, whether that’s through box office bonuses or residuals. By viewing their “art” they not only get paid, which is financial validation for their behaviour, but they get exposed in their art and are creatively validated by that audience. This all leads to other projects, more “art”, more validation and eventually a complete distancing with the atrocious acts (and often crimes) they have committed. Look at Allan and Polanski as examples. A lot of people have no idea about what they’ve done to children because their “art” is continuously viewed and validated by audiences that want to separate the “art” from the man. I cannot watch a paedophile, rapist or abuser because I do not want to put money in their pockets or help to create further career opportunities. The only way to make men like this understand that what they are doing is wrong is to walk / ban / deny / picket their products. Sorry Tom. But you’re another apologist for despicable behaviour and you can fuck off. These men are not special.

    • maisie says:

      I dunno about Hanks. After Trump was “elected,” he asked everyone to “calm down and give him a chance.” We’ll, whaddaya think about him now that he’s had a chance, Tommy? And now Hanks is asking us to overlook the heinous behaviour of some men in Hollywood because their “art may be good.” Guess he’s a Louis CK apologist. Tell me about Bryan Singer, Tom.

  1. Giddy says:

    I love Netflix, but if closing it down will help, I’m all for it. And yes, my weekends would suffer, but that’s okay.

    • INeedANap says:

      Tom Hanks is one of those people who is “nice” because he can be without much trial. Who goes after Tom Hanks? It’s easy to have a friendly reputation when you’re not being threatened and harassed.

      What is an intellectual conversation for him is the stuff of our lives. His opinion holds no weight for me.

      • Jellybean says:

        I read an interesting comment from someone at a special event honouring Kubrik. They were interviewing Hanks and Renner and asked them which was their favourite Kubrik film. Hanks gave his, but Renner said he was a massive fan and couldn’t single out a favourite. The interviewer said he had to, Renner said he didn’t and Hanks said his (Renner’s) favourite is …. random choice to keep the interviewer happy …. I thought that was an interesting insight into both of their characters.

  2. Wren says:

    I understand what he’s saying, but this crap has gone way too far for way too long. We can’t just sit back and go, “eh, but (insert famous artist here) was a not-good person so we should just calm down”. Well, we can, but that just perpetuates the problem. I’m done lauding abusers, I’m done giving money to rapists. No, I cannot separate the art from the artist. I won’t and I don’t see why I should. There’s plenty of art out there made by people who don’t perpetrate such horrific crimes. Now is an excellent time to give them a chance to shine.

    Everyone has to decide for themselves what art/media they will or will not support based on their own moral objections (or not) to the artist/actor/producer/whatever. Hanks has made his choice and I have made mine. I’m not sorry and he needs to take a seat.

  3. Scarlett says:

    I agree with Tom Hanks in theory, but how? How do you separate the art from the predator? I am survivor of sexual assault and the thought of watching something directed or with a sexual predator in it, makes my skin crawl. Lately I’ve been watching reruns of The Office since it is safe, and happy. I love you a lot Tom Hanks, but thanks for being human, and fumbling for once.

    • courtney says:

      exactly. as a fellow survivor, i cannot support in any way someone who abused another. there is no film in existence that could temp me to abandon my principles. furthermore, the message you send to the victims of said perp, is that their pain and suffering is not important enough/worth dismissing the art. that is insane. there are plenty of talented artists whose work we can enjoy who actually dont rape and abuse ok tom?

    • Mia4s says:

      I wish I had an answer for you on the how, but there isn’t a good one. The “how” is going to always be a personal and subjective thing. How one person approaches it will not work for another. Honestly it’s best to just proceed how you feel comfortable and not worry how others embrace or rationalize art, it will drive you mad.

      One of the best examples of the subjective I can give? Ironically it’s Mia Farrow. For years she has railed against those who do not believe the accusation made against Allen and those who reward his work. OK, fair. But at the same time she continued to speak lovingly and in support of Polanski when it’s an accepted fact he raped a 13 year old girl. Ummmm, what? I can’t rationalize it so I don’t try. I watch what I’m comfortable watching and leave it at that. I can only control my own actions.

      That said, jail and weed out the offenders first…then we will talk about what’s to be done with the art. It will still be there .

  4. Llll says:

    Too tired to go into this now because it requires more than I’m capable of producing at this moment but, yes, I think I agree to a degree. There are many problematic artists whose work I absolutely adore..

    • milla says:

      Same here. I do understand him but it is too early. We first have to clean up the mess and see the abusers and the rapists in jails.

    • Darlene says:

      Thank you. If we start accepting art based on criteria that includes personal feelings regarding how we feel about the artist, their personalities and behavior, the world will wind up being a far lesser place. There is a difference between a work of art and the artist that creates it. There are many essays written that subscribe to the thought that great works of art don’t even really come from an individual artist, but rather, a higher power.

      If you’re a Mom, and your daughter comes home with the gift of a painting and tells you the artist is kind of weird; he gets drunk and depressed and even cut off his own ear, you might say get the work of that sick person out of here. But then you’d be rejecting a Van Gogh!

      I get what Hanks is saying. It’s a raw nerve right now, and yields a knee jerk response. But I think he’s got a point. Great works of art come once in a lifetime. Sadly, bad behavior happens every day of the week.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        Sorry but… are you conflating the work of an addicted artist to a rapist?
        Really…ladies.. start with getting good information.

        And I love Tom Hanks but his comment is 5k shades of Nope.

        I am a rape/abuse survivor. Also an artist. I doubt my work will be ever judged ‘awesome’ as the aftermath of what happened basically ruined my life for 30 years.

        Furthermore, you don’t need to have a white c**k to produce amazing art, we’ve been deprived of God knows how many good artists thanks to those predators.

  5. BaronSamedi says:

    I don’t think summing the entire culture that is currently being questioned in with two actors saying “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” does this topic justice.

    Do I think they’re both not really doing themselves many favors here? Yes.

    Do I think that either of them would willingly look away if they personally witnessed something happening? No.

    Ultimately, that is the question upon which I decide whether to cancel someone or not. I believe that at heart they are decent people who are unfortunately protected by a lot of privilege and can afford to sort of abstractly talk about hypotheticals.

  6. Ktgreat says:

    What if it were your wife/kid, Tom? Would you still marvel at their genius?

  7. Heylee says:

    Conscious consumerism! I will stick with it, thank you TH.

    In this world there are a few ways remaining to me that I can use my voice, and how I spend my money and what I choose to support with my actions are two.

    Honestly, I don’t give a flying monkey what other people think. I will not consume art that I know has been produced by or supports sexual predators. I happily add it to the list of what I will not spend money on because it is important to me and that is how I choose to live my life and make important life decisions that all add up to who I am as a person.

    Tom, you in danger boy.

  8. FishBeard says:

    I’m also someone who struggles with “cancelling” people, because I don’t see what impact it actually has outside of declarations on internet websites. I think a lot of people who are big on cancelling are also ones who turn their head when it comes to their favourites.

    It’s hard to have these conversations when so many “artists” infuse their “art” with references to their personal lives. Woody Allen films always concern inappropriate relationships with much older men and barely legal girls, which is partly why they’re so difficult to watch (aside from the fact that most Woody Allen films are horrible). It’s the same with the pulled Louis C.K. film and the antisemitism in Mel Gibson films. It’s the predators who make it difficult to separate the art and the artist, not the audience.

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah I definitely understand the argument he’s making. As someone who went to art school, this approach becomes pretty ingrained after a while. There was always that asshole (or three) who treated your friend like shit or got too drunk and acted disgusting but then you’d be in critique with him the next day and his artwork would absolutely blow you away. It was just impossible not to acknowledge the talent, even though you hated the guy.

      I think at the end of the day everyone should do what feels right for them. I cannot stand Allen or Polanski or Mel Gibson and at this point wouldn’t be able to enjoy their work knowing what I know about them so yeah, easy-peasy to boycott them. That being said, I have huge problems with Bill Maher but there is no way in hell I’m gonna stop watching Vice docs. They’re brilliant–amazing reporters doing great work, fascinating and diverse subject matter, well-produced, etc. I never think about Maher when I’m watching until I see the credits at the end so it’s easier for me to separate.

      Again, it’s a very subjective thing and it really bugs me when people around here freak out on commenters who say they can separate the art from the artist. I really don’t think others should be lambasted for what is ultimately a deeply personal choice.

      • Birdix says:

        I’m struggling with how easy it is for me to cancel Peter Martins and yet can’t quite cancel Balanchine (who created the environment for Peter’s harassment to flourish and hand picked him as a successor). There’s the genius that Balanchine had and Peter doesn’t. Should the level of genius/quality of the work make a difference? The extent of the transgression/harassment? What about living in a different time?
        I guess I’m wondering—can we have shades of grey in this discussion? Or does it need to be black and white?

      • anon14 says:

        @Birdix–Balanchine’s oft-quoted proclamation “Ballet is woman” always seemed to me just another way of saying he put women on a pedestal and objectified them. As I got into ballet and its history, this was underscored after reading books by Allegra Kent, Suzanne Farrell and others. Kent in particular was persistently harrassed by him, and as I’m sure you know already Farrell was fired after she married someone else. But “we” (general we) give him a break because he was a genius, as you state.
        Speaking of geniuses, how about the late Truffaut? He routinely bedded his leading ladies, including a sixteen year old Marie-France Pisier when he was married and 30. And many years later Isabelle Adjani wrote that she had to lock her door when filming Adele H when she was 19 because he kept pestering her (by this time he was in his forties).

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      I am probably NEVER going to be able to hop aboard the “Let’s cancel and revoke the feminist cards of every woman of every age who’s ever worked with an abuser” train. Partially because that stance often does get used in some misogynistic/problematic, and hypocritical ways that are just…infuriating.
      How can the same people who have no problem listening to Michael Jackson music and praising his talents, watching the X-men movies, going to see the Justice League movies, or keeping their Netflix and Amazon memberships turn around and Disfellowship women from the feminist movement for having ever worked with an abuser? And is it really some bold stand to ‘cancel’ or Disfellowship a woman from the feminist reli- um, I mean movement- for having worked with an abuser at some point when deep down, the truth is that you never liked that spoiled rich liberal woman anyway and possibly had other, seedier gripes against her to begin with?

      However, every adult’s choice to work with/for an abuser should be equally open to criticism. And when they put out desperate Pollyanna statements defending the abuser against what he’s being accused of or dismissing a person’s story of having been abused by that person as tabloid gossip, (or worst of all, start trashing the victim)- that is anti-feminist, and that feels more cancel-worthy, as opposed to just questionable.

  9. BaBaDook says:

    I’ve just read the title alone and: Nooooooo.

    Update: Yeah, no. Come on Tom. I’m sure they’re are plenty of assholes in Hollywood but being a sexual predator is not the same thing. Sure, all rapists are assholes, but not all assholes are rapists.

    • BaBaDook says:

      I also think Meryl’s reasoning is pretty weak. Like, sure some of Shakespeare’s work is antisemetic and some of it is misogynistic. Those things are not okay. But, they were also written hundreds of years ago. We can look at them as modern audiences with a grain of salt.

      That’s a little different to actively generating income for a child molester by going to see a Woody Allen movie.

    • Artemis says:

      This! We are well and truly distanced from Shakespeare as a person and artist. It’s not worth comparing these contemporary criminals that still get to work and abuse everybody and get praised and defended for it too. Live in the reality at PRESENT.

      This is just ypically Hollywood picking and choosing who is deemed cancelled and who isn’t because they need to feel validated that keeping these men around is NOT in any way a reflection of Hollywood and their own standards. Which was always substandard so what’s the point of this debate anyway?

      Being a predator is not a character flaw, to defend it as such is to be a bastard yourself. So yeah, Mr Hanks ain’t worth nothing much either but I was never a fan so nothing of value has been lost.

      Also I can’t with separating art from the criminal acts when it would endanger artists to work with them, verbal abuse is already common that industry and oppressing women. And some directors (it’s been said on this thread) put themselves in their stories, it’s so obvious and creepy. What about that then? We as the paying audience have to separate but the criminal doesn’t? And if they assault women, do they think these women are going to process the assault by separation too?

      What is so terrible about trying to improve these conditions? Hollywood is so backwards and conservative, they should start over completely and learn from this.

  10. Luca76 says:

    Hmm I think it’s complicated. If you are steeped in the lore of Alice In Wonderland for instance then you read up on the history of the real Alice and the circumstantial evidence that there was some abuse there. Or if you were raised on Michael Jackson. Etc on and on. Here’s the thing. Psychopaths can be talented people objectively and there are many that have influenced our culture and become a part of our collective. You can be as strident as you want but Chinatown is a work of art. So instead why not focus on just holding these people accountable because that’s the real problem right. Over and over again we’ve heard that whatever masterpiece absolves these guys of grevious sins when it doesn’t.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      I agree that it’s complicated. “These men made great art so please don’t ruin their careers” isn’t even a factor. They made their choice, any damage to their reputations is on them. No tears for them at all. There are other questions that make the issue complicated. We don’t want to see anything good come to these kinds of people or reward their behavior. But there are few people who, by the end of their lives, will be able to guarantee that they’ve never either financially benefitted an abuser, or provided goods and services for one- whether it’s through work people accept or things people buy/watch/ read, etc. Knowing all that, where should the line be drawn, and why? Is it ok to work with or provide services for people you have no respect for because they’ve done awful, and abusive things, as long as your work doesn’t involve aiding in or promoting those things? It’s something I go back and forth on. Some things are more obvious- you don’t discredit victims or vote those abusers into office, unless the only other option is to allow even worse abusers into that political position.

    • Christina says:

      This. Holding someone accountable for their actions is mandatory. But many of these people can and will still be considered influencial for their talent and/or work.

  11. CharlieBouquet says:

    Oh really Mr Hanky. Bugger off with that . Predators should be ousted from every facet of society. Wonder when your shoe will drop.
    The one thing I enjoy about the big reveal, is knowing men are having a hard time falling asleep. When you are chased in your dreams by the men monsters, it tends to be not as restful as it should be. It’s waking in cold slick with sour sweat, heart beating like a rabbit and the rest of the night is ruined.

  12. Amy says:

    I feel like my line could be that I won’t go to the theaters and pay to see films by predators. I won’t rent their movies on amazon or Netflix, I won’t contribute financially to them. But if it’s on tv or on at a friends house, then maybe I’d watch it.

    And I hate this whole “but they’re artists, they’ve made beautiful works of art,” thing. If we purged all the predators, new people would come in. They would make great art. There might be some women and other less skeevy men out there who are brilliant artists with amazing insight into the human condition but because they’re not power hungry monsters who use and abuse everyone to get to the top, their movies aren’t made. It’s not like if we get rid of the predatory filmmakers there will be no more films, they would just be made by new people, less disgusting people. Because you know who else has insight into the terrible side of human nature? Victims. We don’t need evil people to make films about the evil in the world. Victims of evil can also speak to their experiences with evil and would probably make better, more nuanced, less blatantly sexist/homophobic/misogynistic/rapey films anyways.

    • Jared says:

      Oh wow, you nailed it! Many people (a vast majority of them women) have had their careers taken away. This is prevalent in all professions as privileged white guys run pretty much everything, and I should know because I’m one of them. This whole situation has made me rethink EVERYTHING.

      Even Hollywood’s ‘nice guys’ are really not all that nice. The industry hasn’t been built on ‘nice’. We have to remember that we don’t actually know these people and that’s a good thing because I think most of them are probably assholes, including Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. In all honesty, if you pay someone $20 million dollars for 6 months work and give them a 5% cut on box office returns for playing make believe in front of a camera (I mean no disrespect to the profession, just the amount of $ thrown around in Hollywood) how can they not turn into assholes?

      I find it sad that society places so much importance and demand on Hollywood, but bitch about nurses making 80k a year, or surgeons making 500k.

    • Aren says:

      I really enjoyed reading your opinion.
      I’m not getting this “won’t someone think of the art!” excuse to justify liking an artists who committed a heinous act.
      If they are fans of a rapist, fine, but it’s surely not due to a real concern for art, because there must be at least a dozen talented artists all over the world whose huge contributions to the art world they’ve probably never heard of. Same for new artists who are not ‘mainstream’ material.

    • Artemis says:

      Also art seems to deemed more ‘important’ and esteemed than say your local carpenter who would be burned to the stake if he would abuse children or women in his workvan. Just saying.

      Celebs want to be seen as ‘normal’. Especially Hanks’ image is very much like that (family man, private etc) but then keep on defending criminal acts and the people that commit that aren’t normal on any level in any society. Just because they make ‘art’, like that is supposed to mean something??? Rape and harassment and abuse is wrong and if you stand on the other side of that argument, you’re just an enabler and a hypocrite. Not a special person worthy of applause because you can see the real picture where artists deserve forgiveness or carte blanche of the most heinous behaviour.

      And like you said: there are enough artists in the world.

      • Amy says:

        We expect politicians, even great politicians, to step aside or resign when allegations of rape or abuse are brought against them, so I’m not sure why art and artists have such a special place. I’m not sure if Tom is trying to say that sexual predators who make great movies should keep making movies with no consequences or if we should just not be burning all of our copies of films they made years ago while they were being rapists. If he’s saying the former, I completely disagree. Art is not worth more than justice for victims. No amount of women should be sacrificed to rape or abuse for even the greatest movie of all time. If he’s saying the latter, I feel like I can agree with him and can still say “this was a good movie, it told an important story beautifully,” but I’m not going to rush out to buy copies of it and make an abuser rich.

        The thing with comparing Weinstein and other predators who are making movies and money right now with Picasso is that Picasso is dead. He’s not making any money off of our admiring his art. Films are such a strange and different kind of art because they’re created for mass consumption and to make a lot money. They’re not like a painting.

  13. lucy2 says:

    Like most things, I think it depends on what we’re talking about. If someone is jerky, I’ll be less inclined to watch their work, but may still. If they’re a rapist? HELL NO. If they’re a racist? HELL NO.

  14. Ann says:

    I don’t want to hear any more from either of these people. They have both been pretty ineffectual during all of this, Tom Hanks more so than Meryl Streep. All the men grappling with this should spend more time reflecting on it all in private because so few of them are capable of getting it right in public. I’m sick of all these gaffs. They add up and the disappointment is annoying.

  15. Babs says:

    I don’t care, Tom Hanks is sooo suspect to me. At least he totally knows what’s up and doesn’t care at all.

  16. LOL says:

    How we can separate the art and the artist if this was the main argument that kept and still keep the abusers in a position of power and influence?
    How keep not asking and holding abusers accountable for their behavior and keep giving them a pass, relevant casting choices and a space for praises and double standards will help the victims or will change anything?
    Hollywood selective outrage is becoming embarrassing and just showing how their empty speeches are just for the public and retwites

  17. Tess says:

    The thing is, everything the abuser has done is tained. You see the films or art through a different lens, and many times it is sickening as in Woody Allen’s continued storylines. Their ability to produce “art” or film or whatever you want to call it is what got them to their position of authority in the first place and gave them their “God” complex of thinking they can do no wrong or are justified because of their talent. You absolutely should condemn them and their ability to continue to produce should end, and then their works can be dissected as evidence of their mental state because it is.

  18. Sam the pink says:

    I don’t believe art can be separated from its creator – art us by definition a deeply personal thing.

    Part of the problem is that art is overvalued by some people. I don’t belive there is a single piece of art on the planet that can be worth more than a human life, but there are plenty who disagree. They think if the art is “important” enough, horrible acts can be excused. I actually had a friend act incredulous over this, and she said “so you’d favor removing Picasso from all the museums because we now know he battered women?” And my answer was Yes, I’d be okay with it. I have been struck by a partner. I know how terrible the feeling is. Sure, the man is dead, but that doesn’t change that lauding him still sends a message that if one is sufficiently “talented” one can get your transgressions erased (or at least ignored).

    So no – I don’t separate them, and I do my best to not support artists that I know to be lousy people. Quite frankly, this is not hard because we don’t exactly lack for creative people doing interesting stuff. There is a vast world out there.

  19. Jussie says:

    Picasso was a lot worse than a womanizer.

    I agree with not throwing out the art. If you actually do that without hypocrisy, without picking and choosing which rapes you care about and which you can overlook, which domestic abuses matter and which don’t, which individuals extreme racism and misogyny is intolerable and which isn’t, then you’re getting rid of an enormous amounts of art. Literally tens of thousands of painting, tens of thousands of songs, tens of thousands of books and films and tv shows.

    Allen, Polanski, Gibson etc. absolutely should not be working anymore. Their careers need to be finished. They should have been finished a long time ago.

    However for every, say, Polanski, there’s a dozen rock stars who were also raping very underage girls at the time. If you’re still listening to Space Oddity and Stairway to Heaven and Walk This Way, but throwing out Chinatown, you’re making completely arbitrary lines in the sand.

    • Kitten says:

      Picasso was a piece of sh*t but he is still my favorite artist of all-time. His work is just too prolific and beautiful to condemn because of who he was.
      I also agree with everything else you say here. Thank you to the commenters like yourself, Luca76, and others who are approaching a complex subject with nuanced arguments.

      I DO agree that things are waaay too fresh after months of #metoo for Hanks to be saying this. That being said, I completely understand his argument.

      • Christina says:

        Agreed. This is a very simple and a very complex matter at the same time. I especially agree with the comparison to the rock stars. A lot of abuse was going on at the backstage and on the tour bus. Not much different from the examples we are dealing with today.

      • Kitten says:

        Exactly. This is another aspect of the argument that always weighs on me.

        We don’t vet every single artist or every single BSUINESS that we support. There are plenty of people who do/did abhorrent things but we either don’t know about it or it happened so long ago that we don’t care anymore.

        Maybe the argument is simply “we don’t know what we don’t know” which…I suppose I could get on board with. Still, we could be supporting a local molester who owns the mom and pop shop–the drycleaners, the Italian restaurant up the street, whatever-but we don’t know it so…where does that leave us?
        Do we have a responsibility to vet every single person who owns or works at a business that we patronize?
        Or is it simply a situation where ignorance is bliss in that we get a free pass because we simply don’t KNOW?

        Sorry for the rambling and I don’t have any real answers..just kind of wondering aloud….

      • magnoliarose says:

        We aren’t ready for this conversation yet. We are still figuring it out. But as an art lover who loves provocative art, I have less issue with artists from the past. It is those who walk among us that I have problems with.

  20. Rapunzel says:

    The thing about cancelling art by predators is that there are plenty of innocent and even victimized people working on the same art. That’s the toughest part for me.

    • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

      Good point @Rapunzel, I feel the same. I do hope that this situation not only opens a conversation, but it will stop this culture of abuse and violence – physical and emotional. Something positive HAS to come out of this nightmare.

  21. Jared says:

    If this was said by anyone other than Tom Hank or Meryl Streep, there would be much more outrage. I really like and respect them both, professionally. But yes, they are human and they do both come from a different era. I can’t imagine what kind of shit Meryl had to put up with over the years, but Tom? Not so much. I think he’s oversimplifying this which is unfortunate as he is a respected voice in the industry.

  22. Originaltessa says:

    For me, Michael Jackson is my best example irl for how I can totally see their point. I can’t give up his music, his art. It is one of the great joys of my life to listen to his music. I have to separate the art from the artist. Giving up his music would be a terrible sadness.

    • Sherry says:

      I thought of Michael Jackson too. I still listen to his music and enjoy it, despite knowing what we all know now.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Same. It’s strange. I would never choose to see a Roman Polanski film, the few movies I’ve seen that I actively know are Harvey Weinstein films are no longer stomachable- especially because some of the people he’s harassed or worse are in that work, (same with the thought of ever looking at another re-run of the Cosby show again or the work of Roseanne Barr) and I will never watch a Woody Allen film. I stopped buying Paris Hilton’s perfumes. But I do like some of Michael Jackson’s work and liked the X-men films (even though I didn’t hear anything about Bryan Singer until 2014).

    • Asiyah says:

      I think it’s easier to separate the art from the artist in the case of Michael Jackson because his art didn’t reflect his personal life. He didn’t sing about what he was allegedly doing to children. Whereas R. Kelly’s entire artistic portfolio was about his s*xual exploits. Same with Woody Allen. Polankski is a little different but still hard to separate when he is still a fugitive of the law.

  23. Natalie S says:

    Art isn’t worth people being assaulted. I think it’s more likely that the reason the volatile, predatory person has made to a place where his/her art is what we see is because they have left a trail of destruction affecting equally talented or more talented people. By protecting their work, we’re protecting their egotism. There will always be more art.

  24. Emily Moon says:

    Not really into this argument because the counter one would be:

    What about all the artists, especially women, who were not given the chance to make films etc because of said ‘assholes’/predators and the general climate of male dominance. See Salma’s statement

    He is really failing to see what this all about, it is not individual behaviour but a climate that supports and condones misogyny and violence toward women, that is the root of it all and it needs to shift. period. We have to get rid of these predators and throw out their ‘genius’ in order to stand up and say: No Moore! It is massive structure of power and he benefits from it massively.

    I am finding him less and less likeable, something tells me his ego is no joke

  25. ANOTHER DAY says:

    We all draw our own lines and we do it using our own biases and blind spots. And sometimes they are inconsistent and illogical.

    I see plenty of inconsistently drawn lines every day on here on this subject …….we make it a point to politically identify the REPUBLICAN sexual harassers / abusers by their political affiliation……but if they are DEMOCRAT that is rarely mentioned as an identifier, (What annoys me is that there are plenty from all political sides, there’s NO cause/effect between being a sexual monster and your politics, and I guarantee the victims don’t give a f anyway).

    We are all human, we all have our reasons and our blind spots and I do see their point. We forgive transgressors who are more like us much more quickly than those who are different — for the same transgression.

    For these guys, it’s art,

    So we just learned Hanks is as human as we are. Shrugs.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      “We all draw our own lines and we do it using our own biases and blind spots. And sometimes they are inconsistent and illogical. I see plenty of inconsistently drawn lines every day on here on this subject.”

      Hopefully you’re lumping yourself, as a conservative/conservative sympathizer who comments here regularly, in that too. Because I have noticed that pattern with you and picked up on the fact that you’re a little invested in this idea of the republican party being so misunderstood. (Also noticed your complaints about the National Anthem protesters ruining your game with ‘their politics’)
      I agree with some of your points- political party doesn’t make someone incapable of abuse, and it doesn’t make a difference to the abuser’s victims. But those valid points don’t change the truth about the ‘Boys will be boys” political side that you’re defending. One where its members are known for things like arguing that marital rape is an oxymoron, unapologetically electing a white supremacist and proud sexual predator to be president, defending the right of the alt right to not only exist, but to be politely tolerated by all, and smearing women who come forward about abuse and harassment as thirsty lying wh*res in the name of “Men’s Rights.” Consistently putting religious morality over the human rights of women and girls through attempts to take reproductive rights away, and encouraging the belief that a woman or girl’s value, respectability, and credibility lie in sexual purity/modesty. Using women’s choices in those areas to justify bad behavior. I could go on, but you get the point. When a political group consistently preaches, defends, and normalizes such violent and anti-woman beliefs, you can’t complain when women outside of that political group find it easier to suspect those men to be guilty of either participating in certain things, or covering for those who have. Are we all supposed to pretend that constant exposure to those beliefs have no impact on the way men treat women- or how they’re ok with other men treating women? You can’t claim that conservatives and republicans have done nothing over the years to earn their reputation.

      • Moon Beam says:

        I don’t even know why you bothered to take your time to craft a well thought out response to that mess of a comment!

      • ANOTHER DAY says:

        Of course I lump myself into the human condition.

        And I am an independent with libertarian leanings and have commented regularly lamenting the ridiculousness of both main parties, You acknowledge seeing one. We also find what we look for and comment only with that which buttresses our own world view and ignoring that which may refute it.

        And of course republicans who abuse power and women are to be chastised for their hypocrisy religious morality , chastity etc, You are correct and quite eloquent in how you do so.

        Just like democrats abusers are to be chastised for their hypocrisy of espousing such strong beliefs in women’s rights and equality while also abusing their power against women and treating them like objects that exist solely for the abusers personal gratification

        By calling out the hypocrisy of the former and totally ignoring with blinders the corollary hypocrisy of the latter in your rebuttal —You actually proved my point to be quite valid.

        Because yes, we all do it.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        “And of course republicans who abuse power and women are to be chastised for their hypocrisy religious morality , chastity etc,”
        The point isn’t “How can republicans preach morality while abusing power over women like this” (which is another point, but not exactly what I was getting at). It’s about the fact that one side puts ‘traditionalism’ over progress, combined with the fact that ‘traditional’ morality in and of itself is steeped in violent patriarchy, homophobia, white supremacy, victim-blaming, and other forms of oppression in the first place. It’s a dangerous combination that has always had an impact on the way women are treated and viewed.

        The person who presents himself as a woke democrat while using his power to abuse women and then trash/smear/discredit his victims in the press as lying, hysterical, sexually immodest wh*res with bad motives is behaving in a way that actually does go against what his side is currently preaching about women and equality.

        The person who presents himself as a ‘bring back the 50′s’, MRA-pandering republican while using his power to abuse women and then trash/smear/discredit his victims in the press as lying, hysterical, sexually immodest wh*res with bad motives is behaving in a way that does NOT go against what his side currently preaches about women and equality. He’s likely to get many conservative men and women echoing his sentiments. That’s the problem.

    • magnoliarose says:

      One party thought it was ok to nominate a child molester and consistently try to chip away at the rights of women. I am more protective of Democrats because I know they make efforts to help poor people, minorities, reproductive rights, voting rights, immigration, justice reform, healthcare, regulation, the environment, religious freedom and have more women among their ranks.
      If you think I am a hypocrite for thinking about millions of women in my thoughts about politicians and accusations, then you are welcome to it. But it is willfully ignoring the hard truth.
      Don’t pretend the GOP isn’t the cruel party of rapists, racists, Nazis, corruption, colluders, liars, murderers (lack of action in PR and VI, Yemen, healthcare premiums, deportation) warmongers and cheaters. They KNEW what 45 was before they voted for him from his own mouth. We are only learning now about the others, and because of him, the answers aren’t as easy as they should be.
      I don’t want Dems who have done good things for those groups to resign as quickly because they may be the only person able to stop the lunacy of the GOP who are a disaster to the country but specifically to minorities and women.

      People who don’t care about those communities or aren’t hurt by policies have the luxury of being simple thinkers. Libertarians caucus with the GOP, so the legislation is the same. Anyone who voted for 45 or any of the GOP politicians are the most significant hypocrites in this country and always police the left looking for faults instead of looking at themselves and owning what they have done.

      We aren’t equals or the same side of the coin or even minted in the same building.

  26. QueenB says:

    Or in short:” I have something to hide.”

  27. Luca76 says:

    Seriously getting sads by some of the anti art commentary. (And yes sexual assault makes me sad) but art is an ancient form of humanity that transcends time and existence and we all have a right to it.
    I just want to say instead of denigrating art as somehow not important why don’t we work to punish people who commit crimes. We can say so what to someone being a great artist. That doesn’t excuse what they’ve done. Why not to that instead of saying art isn’t important? And fighting to get rid of Picasso or whatever other problematic artist is out there isn’t going to save one victim. It will just alienate people.

    • Sam the pink says:

      Nobody here is anti art. What I am against is valuing that art over the wellbeing and rights of an actual human. How must you imagine it feels to be abused or victimized and then, to add to your insult, to see your abuser lauded for their art? Might you feel erased, pushed aside, ignored, minimized, etc.? Probably. How many have had to go through this? Too many. It will not stop until abusers face real consequences. And yes, part of that includes becoming a pariah in their profession. It won’t stop until we acknowledge that nothing, art included, had greater value than a human life.

      • Luca76 says:

        There are quite a few anti art comments here actually I’m responding to especially

        “I actually had a friend act incredulous over this, and she said “so you’d favor removing Picasso from all the museums because we now know he battered women?” And my answer was Yes, I’d be okay with it”

        That in my mind is crossing a line in that whatever he’s done Picasso also has had a huge influence on art and now that he’s dead and all of his victims are dead it’s not going to help anyone to be stricken from the record if they’ve had a huge influence over art. Even if they are living. What we need to end is the worship and I think the demonization of the work in and of itself isn’t really helpful in ending that. Just my opinion.

      • Sam the pink says:

        Luca: see, this is the equivocation that allows this stuff to continue. You say Picasso was majorly influential and created great work – my reply question is:

        Who cares?

        You are essentially arguing for a sliding scale – if the artist is “important” “influential” or “talented” enough, well, that justifies pushing the violence aside, or ignoring it. That is bullshit. So a lesser artist would deserve to be ostracized, but Picasso is just too good for that (even if their actions were the same). Again, bullshit. What you’ve essentially said is that there is a point for you where you are willing to look past brutalized women, for ART. excuse me if I don’t join you. Also, the fact that he’s dead doesn’t change my opinion. It’s the message being sent I care about.

        (Also, why don’t you think about how many potentially “influential” artists you DON’T know about, primarily because they got pushed out by the boorish behaviors you seem alright with excusing).

      • Moon Beam says:

        Picasso and Shakespeare are dead. Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson etc (I name them because Spacey and Weinstein have been essentially black listed) are still very much alive and working. I think the argument is that these men have been financed and been able to create more art for a viewing audience despite assaulting women. With Picasso it’s null and void. He’s gone. You could remove his art from a museum and while it may send a strong message, it would be of little consequence. Some people may still strongly associate him with his behavior towards women, but his art is there and it’s made. Same with Michael Jackson and so on and so forth. I think the message is that men who are very much alive and exhibiting criminal behavior should not be getting the chances to make art at all. Art in any form is all about financing. Instead we could be giving women directors more opportunities rather than letting these a holes slide and keep getting the financial backing to make films.
        I hope this makes some sense lol.

      • Luca76 says:

        Well how can you even address what Picasso did if you erase him from history? I know that’s not possible but really…you can’t unring a bell. You can’t unmake James Brown The Godfather of soul or John Lennon a Beatle.
        As far as supporting other artists all for it but in order to do that you’ve got to acknowledge art and artists. I am pretty passionate about art and I regularly support exhibitions of art by women and poc. Believe me erasing problematic artists isn’t going to help them or solve the problem of racism and violence against women.

      • Sam the pink says:

        Luca: now you are being either obtuse or naive.

        “Erasing from history?” Please, let’s remove the dramatics. Nobody is advocating burning anyone’s birth certificate. What we are talking about is lauding artists, celebrating them. A museum is not obligated to display any particular artist’s work – it is a choice. And when you choose to display the work of known abusers, you send a message that the art matters more than the pain and violence they inflicted. That’s what we are discussing. What message would it send if somebody finally said “we will refuse to display art created by rapists, domestic abusers, etc.” That would be powerful.

        You are using the same argument that was used in defense of confederate monuments – that removing them erases history. Again, I say bullshit. History and celebration are different.

      • Luca76 says:

        Except the argument from those of us against Confederate statues is that they belong in a museum so they can be contextualized. I’m not sure what taking them out of museums is if not erasing from history?

      • Sam the pink says:

        Luca, most of the Confederate protests don’t advocate putting the monuments in museums – they advocate destruction. Have you missed the protests that resulted in some statues being smashed or altered? I haven’t seen anybody arguing for putting them in museums. They are, after all, treasonous.

        Also, you forget that generally speaking, being placed in an art museum is generally regarded as a mark of honor for an artist – it generally indicates a position of honor and prestige. That’s why you never see kitsch or camp art in museums (or very rarely, I should say). That’s why, despite being culturally or popularly significant, you don’t see artists like Norman Rockwell or Margaret Keane in art museums – because they have reputations as too “kitschy” for the serious art world.

        Given that it’s generally recognized as an honor, why extend that honor to abusers? Why not simply remove the art? Return it to their heirs or estate.

      • Luca76 says:

        All I can say is google is your friend. Most activists in fact do mention the option of putting these statues in a historical context in a museum not destroying them.
        As far as museums sure celebration is a piece of what happens especially with emerging artists but in the framework of an artist at the level of Picasso it is a historical document of the artist and his work and the school of painters he pioneered. You can’t understand most of what happened in art after Picasso without looking at his work. So when you say throw him out of the building you are a hundred years too late. And as far as protest art yes I am all for that but the public needs to be able to see the original work to know what is being protested.
        I just think you are wrong and it’s a vein that is more in line with China under Chairman Mao or the Soviet Union. Completely counterproductive to having a discussion and an actual reform.

      • Sam the Pink says:

        Luca, want to cite me somebody advocating for putting the Confederate memorials in museums? Most of the protestors have been people of color who have advocated for their destruction (and I don’t blame them one bit for that view). If you’re going to argue for something, cite some sources.

        Secondly, your analogy is bunk. You are citing examples of a GOVERNMENT banning art. That would violate the 1st Amendment. Please point out to me where I said the government should swoop in and destroy art? I’ll wait,,, Actually, no. If you can’t tell the difference between the PUBLIC demanding accountability and the strong arm of the government, then I suggest brushing up on history (and maybe the constitution).

        Thirdly, you aren’t answering my questions or points. You argue that Picasso has historical value – I never said he didn’t. If you were to read an art history book, he’d be in there. Note how I never said he should be removed from those books. I said his work should not sit in positions of honor or prestige in museums, where the work is presented without mention of the person he was, which sends a message (even if its unintentional) that great artistic talent will excuse violence. THAT should not be the case.

        Fourthly, you argue that people need to be able to see the original work in order to protest it. Really? Really? Here’s the thing – people protest because they want to create CHANGE. Removing the paintings would send a message that such a change is necessary. The message that “if you abuse others, you lose the right to any prestige or honor for your work” THAT is powerful. It can’t strike directly at him, but it sends the message to those alive today that the same can happen to them. And yes, that means something. Again, you sound like a Confederate apologist with all this. Should we leave them standing as they are just to give the people something to protest? That makes no damn sense (except to you, it seems).

        Finally, you have not, over and over, answered my primary question – why should somebody KNOWN to be a serious abuser of others, receive the honor of having work displayed in major museums?

    • BorderMollie says:

      Yes, exactly. It’s such a complicated subject, but I can’t land on destroying art as the answer. I think, besides obviously punishing current abusers and ensuring they never work again, we should be picking art apart instead, particularly contextualizing its nature to understand the systems of power which produced it. Reading Said’s Orientalism, to give one example, really helped me put a lot of colonial art and depictions of foreigners in it’s rightful lens. I don’t see why we can’t do that with films produced by the Weinstein company too.

  28. Frosty says:

    I feel like big stars like Hanks and Streep are more accustomed to being listened to than listening themselves. Because there is ZERO chance Allen, Polanski, Weinstein, etc work will never be seen again. They are fear mongering about art in the midst f a major social upheavel about sex and gender abuse. If they took the cotton out of their ears and put it in their mouths for a year, they might grasp the scope of sexual abuse and harassment. I wager most vulnerable to sex harassment in Hwood are the weakest, meaning below the line, not just celebs.

  29. Annie says:

    If I were a male actor/director/producer I would stay quiet right now. Why? Because even if they didn’t abuse anybody they’re still guilty of not protecting the women on set, of staying quiet, of benefiting of gender inequality both financial and otherwise, of not standing up for the women they work with until now. We don’t need the advice and thoughts of men right now. They have failed us. They need to just listen to us right now because they never do. They haven’t done enough to make things equal and safe for us. And there are many examples of this. Whether it’s staying quiet when their friends are being disgusting to us, to not stepping in when a woman is being mistreated in the workplace, to not believing us, to straight up covering for men or making excuses for them, to automatically putting themselves in the accused shoes: ALL men have failed us.

    I don’t need a privileged millionaire like Tom Hanks tellling me I need to separate art from the artist. For some women even the names of these dirtbags make us uneasy. It just shows how little he knows about surviving this kind of stuff and how much the average “nice guy” still lacks compassion. The last thing you want is to support an abuser in any way. Especially financially. I would not pay to see a Woody Allen movie now. I don’t think I even want to watch Weinstein movies in any medium anymore. He’s lucky he can separate the artist from the art. Not many of us can. That shows he has no visceral reaction to what is happening.

  30. Miss M says:

    Was Shakespeare an a-hole? was he depicting society through his art? Because the former is a different thing from the latter…
    A-holes (or worse:rapists) that use their status to take advantage from others (and harm them) should not be separated from their art.
    It’s not because things were accepted in the past that we should continue to perpetuate (and accept) criminal behavior for the sake of art.
    You are failing me, Tom Hanks…

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      This. I don’t think Hanks’ examples are what Hollywood is facing now. Shakespeare put racist tones into his work product. You can reject his work product on that basis, or ignore it as reflective of the times he lived in. Either choice is fine with me. By contrast, the Hollywood predators USED THEIR POSITIONS IN THE INDUSTRY TO COMMIT RAPE. That’s different from judging their work product. I don’t care if their work product is good or bad, they should not be allowed to continue to work when they used their status at work to commit rape. So unless Shakespeare used his writing as a vehicle to commit rape, it is not the same thing at all. Hanks should sit down and shut up.

      • Miss M says:

        You explained better than I could… I cannot understand an artist to not know how to distinguish art depicting a culture of its time from a criminal using art to keep commiting crimes. I am a scientist and get this (thanks to my literature and language teachers!). It boggles my mind…

  31. Jag says:

    When people say things like this, it always makes me wonder what kinds of skeletons they have in their closets.

    Of course, he’s married to a woman who “allegedly” stole someone else’s work and he supported her completely doing that, so I haven’t liked him for a while – even though I used to watch everything that he did because he was one of my favorite actors.

    And Streep has been getting on my nerves for a while now, too. Nope.

  32. reverie says:

    There’s a big difference between asshole and rapist… especially a systemic rapist with this wall of enablers around him.

  33. Aerohead21 says:

    I’m not defending anyone because my Tom Hanks crush just shrank and my love for Meryl Streep just cried in pain.

    I will say, however, these are two very intelligent and media savvy individuals SO what EXACTLY was the question they were asked? If it was about the currently existing films and shows, etc., then I see the direction they were heading with the answers they gave. If it was about the person making the films and shows, yeah no. No defense there. Equally good art could have come from someone who isn’t involved in this rape culture.

    We can’t go back and get rid of all these films and replace them with someone else’s work. It’s not physically possible. We can use it as a talking point for future generations because it exists and will remain long after the story dies down.

    Here’s to hoping we keep the conversation going and use the existing “art” as a tool to engage people.

    In the mean time, oh Tom…oh man. And Meryl?? You too???

  34. Christina says:

    When you think about separating a person from their career for me Bill Clinton comes to mind. He’s sleezy and clearly a womanizer of sorts (possibly more so depending on who you ask), but he was a good president. JFK was a serial cheater and also messed around with the mafia, but again good president. For me the line is drawn when something like rape (Roman Palanski) or violence is brought into it. A ladies man and a sexual predator are not the same conversation and should be treated differently. I don’t know if it was reported here but last week a woman wanted to have a painting removed from the Met because it depicted child pornography. The painting was of a young girl (12 I think) and you could see her panties in the drawing. It’s clear the artist is a pedophile and reading more into him he enjoyed painting girls around that age, the “Lolita” age. The woman that was protesting the painting wanted the met to remove it, but they didn’t. They feel such art should still be remembered and appreciated, I disagree. A pedophile no matter from what time period should not be celebrated in any way.

  35. Sylvia says:

    I think there’s a difference between watching and enjoying work that is already out there made by people you come to learn are deeply problematic after you’ve probably already consumed it, and continuing to support these predators once the truth is out there. Like, I won’t ever again pay to watch a Kevin Spacey anything or give it ratings and haven’t seen a Bryan Singer movie in years because he’s an overrated hack, but I still love The Usual Suspects. Mostly because it’s too late. I’ve seen the movie so many times and loved it long before I knew anything about either of these two, and I can’t just negate my own history, you know?

    It’s why I won’t hate on someone for loving Rosemary’s Baby, but I side eye every actor who bent over backwards to go to France or wherever to work with Polanski in the years since he’s been a known fugitive. And he sure as hell didn’t deserve an Oscar. Neither did Casey Affleck. Their behavior shouldn’t be rewarded once it’s out there and known.

    As for Meryl and Tom Hanks… just no. STFU both of you. I mean, a womanizer is the same as a rapist now? Ugh. And we’re just going to ignore that Shakespeare was an anti-semitic misogynist in a time when that was the norm and that’s the main reason he hasn’t been canceled? Just… the false equivalence is kinda gross, and makes Hanks look suspect AF to me. Like now I wonder if the rumors of him being (or having been?) an abusive drunk are true now. I dismissed them out of hand before, but seeing how so many rumors turned out to be far worse and more sordid… I wonder. And I doubt that’s what he was trying to do. Meryl’s already been suspect since her first statement on this topic, so I don’t expect better from her at this point. Just, ugh at the whole lot of them.

  36. adastraperaspera says:

    Is it ever too soon for men to rush forward and protect their precious cultural productions?? It is the first thing they think of. “Women and girls were hurt in the making of this painting, but hey, what about the preservation of art?” They do not look at women and see humans. It is some kind of cognitive impairment and /or brainwashing. My god, Mary Wollstonecraft was arguing with Rousseau about the place if women in education and culture in the 1790s! Come on, women, let’s cast off the yoke!

  37. JennaR says:

    “There are many men in Hollywood (and in every industry) who womanize and sleep around… with consenting partners.” YES! This is a big difference. Not saying it’s a great way to be, but it is definitely not the same as being a serial rapist.

  38. hmmm says:

    Has he been sexually harassed much? Have his children or other loved ones been molested by powerful artistes? Have a seat, Tom, and let the rest of us with skin in this game do the thinking and make the decisions. You and your speechifying are irrelevant. Yes, Tom, in this case, you are a nobody. I bet that’s a first time for you.

  39. Veronica says:

    Here’s where I agree with him – a lot of innocent people, whose careers are tied up with guys like Weinstein against their will, lose out in this process, too. Not all of them are uniformly complicit. Some of them are trapped by contracts or are forced into it by the system. Plenty of them will be women who lose even more opportunities as a result of these jackasses.

    Where I don’t agree is that in order for anything to change, there has to be repercussions. It really sucks, but you have to hit these people where they care – the money! – for them to find value in safer work environments. Until it’s financially hurting them to continue supporting these people, they will continue to turn a blind eye.

  40. S says:

    I think the line in Hollywood between predator and womanizer — and probably not JUST Hollywood, but all industry-affiliated “romance” — is blurrier because relationships (aka who you know, and who knows you) are what beget opportunity. And when the power dynamic between two people, usually an older, powerful man and a (likely series of ) young woman with little or no agency in the industry is so disparate consent is ALWAYS blurry. Is she dating him because he’s him, or for access to his money/power/influence? Did he sweep her off her feet, or did his status mean she couldn’t really deny him without tanking her ambition? Whether it’s a producer who “dates” a string of ingenues or a partner who sees the first year associates as his personal harem or even the local mini-mart mgr who sets all the schedules giving his clerk girlfriend the best hours … Even if everyone is of legal age, sound mind and willing body, the power imbalance makes it all icky, to say the least.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      There are some who imply that it’s abuse any time a woman dates or has sex for any reason other than having certain feelings for that person, or that any time a woman has sex with someone who isn’t equal to or lower than her in terms of power, age, or privilege, it’s automatically rape. I don’t agree with that idea at all, because it’s infantilizing and erases women’s sexual agency. In many cases it’s also another attempt to police what sex and dating are supposed to be ‘for’ by making any dating/sex that isn’t exclusively for one or two reasons ‘bad’ or ‘victimization’, all in the name of ‘protecting women’. (Not too different from how religious people manipulatively declare premarital sex to be ‘men defiling our daughters’.)
      To me, it’s about the way the power imbalance is used within the context of a romantic or sexual relationship- not the fact that an imbalance exists in and of itself. If the person subtly or overtly threatens to use whatever power he has to harm the other person in any way- or has already established a pattern of using his power that way when he doesn’t get what he wants- you can’t call that consent. Even if the other party is an adult and acquiesces, or has done X, Y, and Z before or continues to have some relationship with the person, that was an abuse of power.

  41. Wickster says:

    I really agree that he’s conflating sexual assault with womanizing behavior with consenting partners. The problem is that many men don’t know the difference, and I think Hanks is one of them. I’ve seen a lot of posts on this subject and there seems to be a real confusion among men who haven’t experienced sexual harassment or assault about what is exactly so bad about these instances. When you are used to being in a position of power (eg most straight white men) you really cannot grasp the fear of sexual assault and harassment that women feel in their daily lives and how it determines your life choices and almost every decision you make. And in the workplace it can be so intimidating that it can change the trajectory of your life. Hanks doesn’t get it. He is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He needs to stop talking and say “You know what I have never been through this and don’t know what it is like so let me just shut up about it for now and listen.”

    • Annetommy says:

      I’m not sure why you say he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. I’m not a particular fan of his but in a TV interview he gave recently about politics, including trump, I found him intelligent and articulate. But of course he can’t have lived experience of being a woman, and he should recognise that.

      • Wickster says:

        You are correct, my words were spoken in anger and I regret how I phrased it. They were not accurate in terms of what I was trying to say. It was a poor choice of words on my part. My comment was based on a personal interaction with him after spending a brief amount of time with him, and reflective of a sense I had that he was removed in some way from the real world and dealing with real world problems. Not unusual for famous people, many of whom I have worked for and who are highly intelligent but the deference of the world towards you creates a bubble where it is really impossible to know what people without influence deal with on a daily basis. When you have power, and have had it for a long time, it is very hard to understand the fear the powerless feel in situations, and why it is critical to not undermine their attempt to speak out against the abuse of power. Even if it means saying “I’ll just shut up and listen for now.”. But he was in no way not bright.I should have said it another way. And I will add he is a very generous person from what I know. And very loyal to people whom he worked with. I still disagree with him.

  42. Harryg says:

    I agree and disagree. In making a movie for example there are so many people working on it it’s not just the producer/director/writer/whoever alone who creates it.

  43. perplexed says:

    What if some cultural productions aren’t that good? They’re assuming that all of the work produced by these predators is so good. Sometimes the work itself is bad enough to be able to easily separate the person from the art.

    I know The English Patient, produced by Weinstein, won Oscars, but that movie put me to sleep. It’s not really hard for me to dismiss it. The movie was boring and it was produced by a sociopath. No need to watch it again as I’m sure I’ll fall asleep on another viewing – easy decision.

  44. another kate says:

    Slightly off topic – but does anyone else HATE Woody Allen films? Even if I bought into Tom’s theory (which I definitely don’t), canceling Woody would be NO problem for me because his movies are garbage. Even the old ones. I’ve never seen Annie Hall all the way though in one sitting because I can’t even sit though his annoying characters.

    • perplexed says:

      To be honest, I don’t get the big whoop either. Which is probably why it’s easier for me to say I don’t want to see Film X. I sat through some Woody Allen film starring Scarlett Johannsson and I thought I was going to go into a coma.

      I think what I’m baffled by is the assumption by a lot of actors and producers that everything they’re creating is all that good. Sure, you value it because you made it, but not everything Hollywood produces is utterly AH-MAZING. I enjoyed the first season of House of Cards well enough, but it wasn’t sooooo good that I find it impossible to cancel it. I think I’m befuddled by the idea that these actors think that what they’ve produced transcends time and space. Very few artists are THAT good.

    • Veronica says:

      I find them gross because I find them impossible to separate from his person. He’s not a case where his work can be separated from his actions because most of his work is essentially rubbing it in everyone’s faces how he took advantage of an underage girl and then got away with marrying her.

  45. Maud says:

    I agree with Hanks. The Usual Suspects is a classic, regardless of the director and star.

  46. Annetommy says:

    “The Pianist” is a masterpiece. It’s a wonderful performance by Adrien Brody. In my experience it brings home to audiences, in a way that they may never have grasped before, the horrors of the Holocaust, which of course Polanski personally experienced. On the other hand, Polanski has vilely abused under-age girls in a most horrible way. Some people may refuse to see The Pianist. It is after all “only” a film, albeit one that is profoundly moving in bringing home an unimaginable horror that happened in the so -called developed world within living memory. Others choose to see it. I think we should avoid suggesting that people in the latter camp are somehow condoning Polanski’s crimes. I don’t believe that at all. But boycotting Polanski and listening to Jackson, Bowie and many others is inconsistent. But again, I don’t draw the conclusion that those people are condoning child molestation. And let’s wait till we hear the next member of the horrible and depressing perverts’ parade before speculating that Tom Hanks may somehow be personally involved in these activities.

  47. perplexed says:

    Actors can’t dictate to the general population how they should perceive a cultural production. You can’t mandate that someone see a certain film against their will, no matter how good it might be. Sure, you can argue hypotheticals if you want, but in the end the choice rests with the consumer and if they don’t want to contribute to the success of your product, that’s their right. It’s not as if art exists in a totally transcendent realm separate from commerce/capitalism. People can exercise how they want to use their money any way they want.

  48. elle says:

    Apparently Tom WhiteManSplaining Hanks thinks we don’t know how to live without his assistance.

  49. Indiana Joanna says:

    I understand the arguments for and against the “separating the personality ftom the art. I guess it’s what you personally find tolerable and not tolerable. I don’t watch Woody Allen films because of the allegations but also because I think he’s overrated and his films are undetwhelming. I tried to re-watch Annie Hall a few years ago because I loved it when it first came out. But this time Allen’s whining drove me nuts and I stopped watching within the first few minutes.

    Also, I find Streep’s comments about Taming of the Shrew interesting. As a young actress she performed that play directed by Joseph Papp alongside Raul Julia. In an interview she vehemently denied that Kate was a misogynistic role. Now she says it is. Her defense of the play has changed maybe because of a wiser perspective. Very subjective.

  50. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m so sick of hearing men’s viewpoints period. And some women too obviously. Quit bringing ‘womanizing’ to the predator table. Ruining lives whether criminally or consistent direct and/or indirect verbal abuse is NOT, “Hey honey can I get some coffee?”

  51. wood dragon says:

    Only time can make a problematic artist somewhat tolerable in that fashion, only a lot of time and distance. My examples? Gauguin and Caravaggio. Two very dubious personalities who also made great art.
    And neither are alive anymore to be an active problem.

  52. The Original G says:

    Translation: Don’t judge me.

  53. unwind says:

    Objectively speaking many artwork have stood the test of time whose creators lead unsavory lives. Personally, I would not see any of Allen’s work or Polanski’s etc. And no way to watching Mark Wahlberg and Charlie Sheen ever again. Yuck.

  54. Katherine says:

    We draw the line at consuming entertainment products created solely by decent people to the best of our knowledge – that’s how we create the demand. So yeah that’s gonna be a hard no from me on separating the art from the artist.

  55. Alexis says:

    Sigh, I really, really love Tom Hanks. However, I think it is best that respected individuals within the HW industry should only state that they are absorbing what is going on in the current climate and understand the need for change. Leave it at that.

  56. Moon Beam says:

    My argument in all this is not so much separating the art from the artist, but more so being angry that an artist who is a known predator (Polanski, Allen, Singer, throw Gibson in there too) is able to continue to make art even after that fact is know. Dead artists cannot continue to make art and most of their victims are probably also dead and will not continue to see them profit from said art. I think if you want to put an asterisk next to their name so they will always be associated with that behavior, that’s ok. Lots and lots and lots of artists who we would call problematic today (and probably worse than that) made art that we all enjoy shaped and influenced generations. However the victims of the a holes I named above are very much alive (most of them- I know some of Singers are not) and able to see their assailants continue to be financed to make art, and be defended, lauded and awarded. That is something tangible we can do something about. Art is about patronage. Studios et al can stop giving these people opportunity after opportunity. How many women and POC have missed out due to these white dude predators getting so many chances?? So no, I can’t watch Annie Hall enjoyably or The Pianist or even freaking Mad Max and Lethal Weapon knowing these jerks are still making movies. I can enjoy the beauty of a Picasso painting in a museum or watch a play by Shakespeare even knowing they are problematic. I know my rambling doesn’t make much sense because I don’t agree with Meryl and Hanks. I think an artist being long dead cleanses things, which I worry will happen to Allen etc. I think that is why they need to stop being given opportunities and being rewarded once this stuff comes out. But it would take people to stop financing them, to stop working with them, to stop watching their movies and to stop nominating and giving them awards.

  57. Lori says:

    Its a subject worthy of debating though, so i understand why Tom had thoughts on it.

    Personally, I think movies are usually a collaboration of talents. If my favourite movie was directed by a predator I would have to consider what it is I loved from that movie and if I feel it is now tainted. But a painting is usually a single artists vision- I would throw out my favourite painting if the artist turned out to be a rapist. Music as well, since a vocalist is such a big part of a song.

    I liked Louie(the show). But since he wrote/directed/acted/edited/produced it etc it is too tainted for me to ever watch again.

  58. Selena Castle says:

    So by this argument, we should be OK with using the “science” that the Nazi’s arrived at by experimenting on prisoners. Adolf Hitler’s “art” is fine and could be sold at Christie’s. No Tom, no anyone that says art can be separated from the creating artists morality.

  59. Anastasia says:

    Did Hanks or Streep attend college? Because the critical thinking skills are missing here.

    Everyone else said in detail what I would have said. Just want to say I’m happy that most people here didn’t fall for their sloppy thinking.

  60. Adele Dazeem says:

    In a corporate sales job, my manager sexually harassed me. I was scared to go to HR at the time, as threats were made about repurcussions.

    How would I have felt if I had gone to HR and they said to me, “yeah, he’s a predator, but he makes great sales/profits for the company so we are going to overlook it.”

    Yes this a hypothetical and it doesn’t involve ‘art,’ but where do we draw the line?

  61. Deleted User says:

    I also hate how Hanks especially conflates “being a womanizer” with “being a sexual predator.”

    IKR? LEAVE LEO ALONE!

  62. FF says:

    Okay but any real art always reflects the artist and who they actually are, so I never really get this idea of separating art and artist; especially when what that statement actually seems to mean is: stop making me feel bad about liking a confirmed predator/rapist’s creative output.

    Those are two entirely different things (unless, of course, your “artist” is a hack).

    Shouldn’t it be less separate art from artist, and more lets stop enabling an industry that by now runs on predation by implying that abusiveness is the secret ingredient of “good” art.

    Particularly when these abusers almost always end up destroying the artistic chances of so many potential non-abusive artists.

    I mean the arguement of film/tv as a collaborative artform with more than one creator/artist would be a more convincing argument if you want to go there, imo.

  63. Marianne says:

    I mean on one hand, it sucks for people who worked on a movie to have it “tainted” in the media or have it boycotted just because of one person who worked on it. So I kind of understand the “separate the artist from their work” narrative. But at the same time, we as consumers should be able to make the decision on what we will and will not support. I think Mel Gibson is an awful man and I have not seen any of his movies in years. That being said, I still watch Lethal Weapon because I grew up on it, and watching my old dvd doesnt put money in his pocket.

  64. j says:

    if you’re referencing shakespeare and picasso, you might not have as strong an argument as you think.

  65. Samantha says:

    Men, by and large, don’t seem to understand these issues and don’t even try. Hanks is one in the long line of men conflating abuse with being an “a**hole”. I love him, but this is disappointing.

  66. Tara says:

    I’m especially annoyed by his comments because for a while he was issuing comments that had people thinking he was “woke.” I guess accountability is a bridge too far.

  67. melissa says:

    Oh please. These people make movies/shows. Its a job at the end of the day. You are not special because its not an office worker doing it

  68. Caty Page says:

    If the person who debased you, who made you feel like your body is not your own, who made you believe you have no autonomy and now will never feel safe again- if they were given a platform for their ‘genius,’ would you be able to stomach it? For most people, I imagine the answer is no.

    I do not want my rapist to be lauded or to go down in history as anything other than what he is- a rapist. That should be his foremost legacy, all other contributions aside. I cannot do to other women what I do not want done to me. This may limit the art I consume, but the price is not too high to pay.

    Shakespeare had problematic views that were indicative of his time and provide a useful historical lens. These false conflations reek of lack of creativity, intellect, and compassion.

  69. Kathryn says:

    I don’t necessarily agree with the terms they use, but I agree with the concept. Regardless of who produces the movie, a whole team of people are involved. Saying that you’d forego watching a movie based solely on the fact that the producer is a rapist, racist or worse is idiotic. The most beautiful mind in the world could have directed it; an incredible cast could have owned it. You’re not supporting the producer once they’re terminated. I support the idea of separation of the art from the artist as well. Anyone who works in a business where they are exposed to the public or work in client services – but don’t want their Saturday nights exposed to the public – would likely agree, if they’re honest.

  70. Dame-ly says:

    One has to wonder if Tom is getting ready to deal with a few of his own #me too’s, he is well known for his sexually related pranks on set , I’m sure more than one women didn’t find them funny.

  71. Truth hurts says:

    Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep do whatever is necessary to not upset the right people to stay in the loop. This exactly what you are hearing. BS is the exact aroma. People like them Brad P, Matt Damon etc will do anything and nothing to disturb their Images or threaten an Oscar nod. Real talk

  72. BKittyB says:

    I love Tom Hanks, but there are plenty of talented artists out there who don’t rape women and children. We are not so desperate for art that we have to accept abusive and illegal behavior in the name of art. And if someone is amazing and they still abuse and hurt folks, then yes, we should throw out the evil, demon baby with the murky bathwater.

  73. Sparkly says:

    As soon as everyone was all, “Just not Tom Hanks, please!”, I knew he’d end up stepping in it somehow. Very disappointed.

  74. MangoAngel says:

    I think part of the problem with interviews and sound bytes like these is the timing of the questions being asked. Right now, it’s time to focus on ferreting out the problems, charging the criminals, advocating for the victims, etc. it’s waaaay too soon to be talking about future viability of the art or how/where it will fit into our cultural future. People are way too raw to be able to hear *anything* short of total condemnation as anything but complicity and insensitivity.

    This isn’t a situation that can be fixed quickly, nor should it be. It’ll take time and a lot of talking to get it right.

    But man…it baffles me how so many people whose job it is to respond and react to people around them, these actors can’t seem to read a room worth a damn.