I am six or seven years old and me and my father are watching the new movie ‘Great balls of fire’. It depicts the rise and fall of the wacky, energetic, wild rocker Jerry Lee Lewis.
The man married his 13-year old niece. I believe he had to take her to the state of Mississippi to get that arranged. He was also still married to someone else at the time, so the marriage to a minor also made him a bigamist.
In the movie we see how this sparks outrage. His concerts are boycotted. The phone stops ringing. No more gigs.
It’s the first real ethically charged question I remember having been asked personally.
My father: ‘Would you stop buying someone’s records if you found out he had married his 13-year old niece?’
Note that my father, a very liberal man, was totally against adults having sex with children or marrying them…
My parents, for some reason, never talked to me as to a child. I don’t remember them ever talking differently to me than to adults in our lives. That’s also why I was watching a movie like ‘Great balls of fire’, which depicts quite a bit of sex. Some of those movies may have caused some vicarious traumatizing, but am not entirely convinced of this.
Anyway, my answer at the time was no.
And it’s still no today.
Will I stop watching movies with Kevin Spacey?
Do I approve of what he did? (Assuming he actually did do these things, because the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ seems not to apply when it comes to accusations of sexual harassment…)
I think we can separate a man’s personal acts and the art that person creates, as long as that art does not scream to emulate his inappropriate behavior, I see no reason why we should boycot their work.
Just like you can lecture a friend for wrongdoings, but still stay friends with them.
Should Kevin Spacey lose his job?
Until he clears up his act? Yes, maybe, some sanction is certainly in order. Should we now put him in an eternal persona non grata cage?
I think not.
We all make mistakes and we all need to be made to see the error of our ways, at some point. I see some people commenting on this as though they have never done anything wrong. Ha!
I think we also need to be forgiving, at some point, if the perpetrator cleans up his or her act. Which, unfortunately, not many are willing to do.
In the case of Jerry Lee Lewis things did turn out ok.
And his music is still wild, energetic and very upbeat, a source of joy to many people all over the world.
Watch the trailer of Great Balls of Fire.