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“If you’re a socially engaged consumer, the past year of pop culture might have left you despairing over how to spend your money ethically. Do you forswear Yeezys to protest Kanye West’s dalliance with President Trump? Did you refuse to watch “Camping” to signal your disapproval of Lena Dunham’s since-rescinded defense of Murray Miller, a writer for her show “Girls,” who has been accused of sexual assault? (He denies the allegation.) And given the range of behaviors that have prompted #MeToo revelations, how should audiences distinguish between Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” Louis C.K.’s comedy and Harvey Weinstein-produced movies? It would be easy to default back to separating the art from the artist, simply to avoid being overwhelmed, or because you feel boycotted-out.
But if you’re looking for the definition of a worthy case for a boycott, you’ll find it in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” miniseries, which concluded last weekend, and the long-running #MuteRKelly campaign. The R&B singer has become a prime example of how wealth can buy apparent impunity. He secretly married the singer Aaliyah when she was 15; was tried, though not convicted, on child pornography charges; reached at least five settlements with women over sexual-misconduct or domestic-violence allegations; and in 2017 was accused of running a coercive sex cult by the mothers of some of the women who were in relationships with him. Throughout, he has maintained his innocence, even in a recent, 19-minute track titled “I Admit.”
As I wrote in 2017, after that last story broke, it’s one thing to have some portion of a ticket sale go to an artist you disagree with politically, and another thing to know that the money you’re spending on art may well be underwriting misconduct. The organizers of the #MuteRKelly pressure campaign put it even more bluntly: “Radio spins = Club spins = Concert bookings = Cash to pay for his crimes.””
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"On June 23, Erdogan and his party suffered a historic debacle in the rerun of the mayoral race in Istanbul. Binali Yildirim, an AKP heavyweight who ran as the candidate of the People’s Alliance between the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party..."
"Former Vice President Joe Biden will enter the first Democratic presidential debates with 19 rivals taking aim at him — nine on the night he will be onstage, 10 the night he won't be there to defend himself. He is the clear-cut frontrunner and..."
"The latest round of attacks and counterattacks in Israel and Gaza demonstrates the respective governments’ inability to extricate their people from an awful situation, decades in the making. Palestinians and Israelis live in the same land, share..."
"Yesterday, a new musical dramedy debuting this Friday, conjures up a world we can’t begin to imagine: one in which the Beatles never existed. Somehow, after a global blackout, no one on Earth has ever heard of the band, except for the protagonist.."
"“America will never be a socialist country,” President Trump said as he launched his bid for re-election last week. That declaration was an effort to frighten Americans and undermine growing support for expanding Medicare and Social Security..."
"SpaceX launched 60 satellites last month that now swarm around our planet like bees around a hive. It’s the first phase of Elon Musk’s ambitious Starlink project that will eventually send thousands of satellites into orbit to create a worldwide..."
""At the end of May, TIAA, the financial services and investing giant, rolled out new gender-identity awareness guidelines for its client-facing consultants. The guidance included: “Never assume someone’s gender identity” and “Be aware that a..."
"Nobody knows who threw the first brick at Stonewall. It might not even have been a brick. Legend has it a woman in the crowd yelled, “Aren’t you going to do something?” as she was dragged away by cops. We don’t know who she was."
"Secular studies were an afterthought in my all-male yeshiva high school, offered in the late afternoon after eight hours of religious subjects. After “English,” we often returned for a few more hours of Torah study. The person who was supposed,,,"
"Meat is dead. Carnivores are going the way of cigarette smokers and, by 2050, there’s a good chance that it will be socially unacceptable to eat meat. In the same way that we’re now horrified people used to smoke in offices and airplanes, we’ll..."
"In order to embody the philosophy of elegant simplicity, we need to address the relationship between science and spirituality. Some people think that science and spirituality are polar opposites, but are they? Science is about things which can..."
"Labels are a necessary evil when talking about Judaism. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform denote different religious streams, but they are simply primary colours which hardly do justice to the kaleidoscopic variety of the modern Jewish landscape..."