The last few months have not been a kind time for Bill Cosby. The legendary comedian has faced serious charges of rape (some dating back over 20 years ago) that have created an enormous publicity disaster. During this backlash, Hollywood has devoted itself to pulling Cosby out of the mainstream. Several of his comedy specials and appearances have been cancelled and TV Land has pulled The Cosby Show.
This scenario has happened many times before. Celebrities who have faced serious criticism for rape (Roman Polanski), incest (Woody Allen), or anti-Semitism (Mel Gibson) have had their past work removed or discredited. It’s a perfectly natural response to have and one not completely unjustifiable, but is it fair to splatter some films because of the actions or stance a director or actor committed?
I talked about Polanski about a month ago where I stated despite my continuous admiration towards the director, I think he has unfairly escaped proper conviction. I feel the same way about Allen or Cosby. Even if the allegations placed upon them aren’t true (which are very unlikely), it’s difficult to look at the two the same way again, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to have to protest Manhattan and Annie Hall or ban The Cosby Show. While I believe the two should face the justice coming upon them, it’s completely fine to still treasure their past achievements.
Mel Gibson is a different case; as someone who hated Braveheart and The Patriot for their historical inaccuracies, and found The Passion of the Christ to be one of the most deplorable movies of the 21st century, Gibson, in my opinion, has been unfairly treated by almost everyone and has faced far more exile than Allen or Polanski (ironic since the latter can’t even leave Europe). What Gibson did certainly was terrible, but are his actions comparable to Allen’s, Polanski’s, or Cosby’s? Certainly not and while Gibson’s alienation is not completely undeserved, he does deserve more credibility from the general public.
But what do you think?