Op-Ed: You Can’t Separate the Art from the Artist


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J. K. Rowling has been the source of recent controversy for her comments on gender identity.

Out of all the artists and content creators in the world, many have been accused of problematic behavior. Can you still support them from separating the art from the artist? 

A prime example is J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling has said many controversial things and put her blatantly prejudiced views in her books.

Rowling writes token Black, Jewish and Asian characters and makes sure to make the non-white, non-British characters obvious by giving them stereotypical names. She’s written characters named Kingslet Shacklebolt, one of the two black characters, Padma and Parvati Patil, who are of Indian descent, Anthony Goldstein, who is Jewish, Seamus Finnigan, the only Irish wizard, and Cho Chang, the only Asian character. 

The list goes on and on. It is not only things in her book that make her problematic; she has publicly made several transphobic remarks. It’s not possible toseparate her from her works because her problematic stereotypes are in the book, and choosing to read them only helps the book’s success.

If you continue to consume art or content from a problematic person, understand what they did wrong and hold them accountable for it.”

You can’t separate the book from the author, but can you separate the song from the singer? 

There also is a long list of things that Kanye West has done. Notably, he supported Donald Trump, spread vaccine misinformation, worked with DaBaby and Marilyn Manson after they did terrible things, was convicted of battery, defended Bill Cosby, engaged in a series of harassing actions against his ex-wife and her new boyfriend, has many misogynistic lyrics, performed for an authoritarian Kazakhstan leader, spread anti-semetic misinformation, and said that slavery “was a choice.” 

So no, you still cannot separate the art from the artist. 

What about all the other art in the world like painting and photography? Can you separate that? 


Art is personal. Apart from expression, some artists earn income from their work, so by supporting the work, you are supporting the artist.

It’s up to you to figure out what’s wrong and right. If you continue to consume art or content from a problematic person, understand what they did wrong and hold them accountable for it. With all the controversial people in the world, the last thing we need is to idolize them.