When famous men are known to mistreat women, should other celebrities vow not to work with them? And how feasible is a boycott of someone high-profile when you yourself are trying to continue working in an industry that lifts up these alleged "creeps?"
In a Dec. 18 piece for Slate, Amanda Hess questioned why high-profile women continue to collaborate with the likes of R. Kelly, an accused rapist, Chris Brown, whose propensity towards violence for women is public information and fashion photographer Terry Richardson, who allegedly sexually harassed models.
Hess doesn't suggest that women simply shouldn't work with these men -- she recognizes that it's very difficult to stage a boycott against these people because there are consequences for women who speak out. She uses the example of Katherine Heigl, who is still considered difficult to work with after calling "Knocked Up" "a little sexist" back in 2007. Hess concluded that "star-led boycotts of industry creeps are rare" -- an unfortunate truth.
Within the article, Hess criticized Lena Dunham for slamming R. Kelly when Dunham has worked with notorious "creep" Terry Richardson. (Richardson photographed Dunham in 2013 for a spread in V magazine.) Dunham took to Twitter to discuss the complex matter -- and what ensued was a surprisingly interesting dialogue. Dunham claimed that having worked with Richardson should not call her feminist politics into question, nor should it nullify her criticism of alleged rapists like Kelly.
The reality is that women face specific challenges and barriers to success, regardless of how rich and famous they become. Perhaps this conversation will make people think more carefully about the artists they choose to support, and why -- and make us all think a little harder about the ways we collectively give successful "creepy" men passes that their female counterparts would never receive.