The music industry is in outrage once again after singer/song-writer Alexander O’Connor, known most notably as Rex Orange County, was charged with 6 counts of sexual assault that allegedly took place over 2 days in the 24 Year old’s London apartment and in a taxi.
In December 2022, all charges were dropped.
Whilst this situation raises the age-old question of separating art from the artist, many fans reacted to the news by burning his merchandise and creating Tik Tok rants, one reading ‘Really hope everyone’s favourite Indie nice guy rots in prison after this s***’.
This is despite O’Connor’s publicised statement which read: ‘Alex is shocked by the allegations which he denies and looks forward to clearing his name in court’. The singer pleaded not guilty to allegations of Intentional touching of a sexual nature without consent.
Due to the lack of public evidence, many die-hard fans vocally remained by his side whilst others are silently held onto their vinyl’s and tributed tattoos, to await the court appearance which was scheduled January 3rd, 2023.
O’Connor stood trial by media as the world deliberated his guilt, and he isn’t the only artist to do so. Speaking to a self-identified ex-fan who wanted to remain anonymous, she stated: “There is no excuse for ignorance. I will stand by the woman and hope she gets the justice she deserves”.
How does bias lead to unfulfilled expectations, and when have we, the jury, been wrong?
Bob Dylan has been regarded as one of the best songwriters of all time after being a major popular culture figure for over 60 years.
This, however, didn't make him immune to the
August 13th 2021 lawsuit that accused him of grooming and sexual abuse.
According to the plaintiff in 1965, the then-12-year-old (only identified as ‘J.C’), was given alcohol and drugs, before being sexually abused by the 24-year-old singer in his Chelsea Hotel apartment.
Her lawsuit claims Dylan utilised the unfair power dynamic to his advantage and groomed her, exploiting his status to develop trust.
It also argued that Dylan attempted to “lower her inhibitions to sexually molest her” through the use of drugs and alcohol to which, British singer Dana Gillespie, told The Mirror: ‘For sure I’d be prepared to be a character witness in Court. I’d always stand up for him…And he wasn’t the alcoholic type either. I never saw him not in his right mind”.
The stars’ Gibson Dunn legal team referred to the case as a “Brazen shakedown masquerading as a lawsuit” and accused the plaintiff of destroying key evidence, which compromised the case's integrity.
With Dylan’s dedicated subreddit page containing paragraphs of detailed analysis of his every publicised move during 1965, even people who didn’t claim to be fans found aspects of the lawsuit to not add up. User ‘MoonDragonII’ states: “I’m not a Dylan fan, but I do recognise his contribution to modern music and I grew up in the 50s and 60s. I am very suspicious of these accusations…’
Emotions rose to an all-time high on July 28th of 2022, as the plaintiff asked the overseeing federal judge to ‘dismiss the case with prejudice’, following the singer's attorneys’ accusations and threats of monetary sanctions due to not producing the necessary evidence.
This means the case will be closed permanently and cannot be refiled. Dylan’s lead attorney, Orin Snyder, stated: “This case is over. It is outrageous it was ever brought in the first place”.
J.C.s attorneys and father haven’t commented.
R&B star, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was sentenced to 30 years in jail after being convicted of sex-trafficking and racketeering last year.
However, after a 4-week trial in September, he was found guilty of 3 counts of enticing minors and 3 counts of producing child sexual imagery in a New York Court, adding years to his sentence.
Kelly’s crimes have followed him across two chart topping decades as he is facing further trials in Chicago, Illinois and Minnesota on sex abuse charges.
Although being exposed for marrying 15 year old R&B starlet Aaliyah in 1994 whom he helped write and produce the album ironically titled ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’, Kelly’s fans continue to tweet ‘#FREERKELLY’ and flock to courthouses holding banners.
Many fans believe R. Kelly has not received due process, seeing him as another example in the history of black men being demonised as sexual predators in ways white men aren’t for the same crime. Viewing him almost as a martyr.
This is despite the multitude of victims coming forward, both women and men, both black and white who have bravely recounted their experiences.
One man, under the pseudonym Louis, told the court Kelly asked him what he would be ‘willing to do for music’. At 17 years of age, Louis was sexually assaulted by R. Kelly and was told to keep quiet about it. Louis continued ‘he said we family now, we brothers’.
As with the Rex Orange County and R. Kelly allegations, Elvis Presley’s reputation has been a cause for cancellation, across Tik Tok since the release of Baz Luhrmann’s biopic ‘Elvis’. But this open secret has been controversial since his glory days…
The reasoning being: Elvis’ well-known and well-detailed penchant for teenage girls
Before Priscilla Beaulieu, Elvis had dated 15-year-old Dixie
Locke from 1953 until 1955 and allegedly had his eyes on a group of three 14-year-old girls whilst on tour, according to Historian Joel Williamson’s book ‘Elvis Presley: A Southern life’. ‘When I was fourteen, he noticed me. Fourteen was a magical age with Elvis’, said Frances Forbes, one of the three girls.
Elvis met his wife-to-be in 1959, at age 24 when Priscilla was just 14 years old, however, in 1963 at age 18, she moved to Memphis to be with him under strict conditions by her parents. They wed in 1967 when she was 21 and he was 32, divorcing 6 years later amid allegations of infidelity on his part.
Two years after divorcing Priscilla, Elvis went on to date 14-year-old Reeca Smith for 6 months. Lamar Fike, a former member of Elvis’ entourage spoke out about these preferences: “He was fascinated with the idea of real young girls” he said.
“It scared the hell out of all of us”.
Elvis Presley fan, Cydney Barge, says that this information doesn’t affect her enjoyment of his music as ‘she separates the art from the artist’ and that his actions don’t define his music. She continues ‘It doesn’t change the intentions behind his music, nor does it make good art bad’.
She goes on to describe Luhrmann’s biopic as ‘disappointing’, noting that they focused heavily on the negative aspects of Elvis’ career. ‘It is completely fair for fans to stop supporting him, it's their own preference. But some people feel like they have to now’.
Through the decades music has drastically changed, but the unbalanced dynamic between artists and their fandom has not. The consumption of the art and celebration of artists can be differentiated due to the subjectivity and personal perspectives of it but that doesn’t involve minimising or ignoring their actions.
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