There’s been Some Stuff happening lately, folks. A warning: there is discussion of sexual misconduct and assault in this volume. Please be kind to yourselves.
First, some good news. Page Six recently reported that actress Gal Gadot was refusing to work on Wonder Woman 2 unless Warner Bros. bought out Brett Ratner, a producer who’s been accused of sexual assault and misconduct. Not only is Brett Ratner no longer attached to the project, but apparently Gal Gadot wasn’t the only person calling for him to be cut loose. According to The Daily Wire, Gadot was a guest on The Today Show, where she clarified that “there’s so many people involved in making this movie — it’s not just me — and they all echoed the same sentiments.” In fact, Ratner had already been bought out “prior to reports suggesting [Gadot] would not return in the starring role if he stayed on as a producer.”
Fans have their own takes on this flood of allegations against men in the entertainment industry. Some are maybe less plausible, but still interesting:
Of course, these allegations have affected fans, and they’ve also affected the way fans are perceived for their attitude towards the people involved in these situations. The Washington Post, of all places, has published an article written by their chief film critic that calls for fans to “grow up” in response to allegations against celebrities. The article is somewhat baffling, as it starts with the declaration that “As privileged classes go, few hold as elevated pride of place in American culture as the fans,” and doesn’t really let up.
Whether they’re blogging, commenting, recapping or canon-policing, garden-variety viewers now have unprecedented power, their likes and dislikes compulsively tracked and catered to by studios, networks and other gatekeepers.
But while fandom has been weaponized — and as corporations have become more sophisticated about co-opting it — the fans themselves haven’t matured apace. Rather than cultivating more restraint, skepticism and semidetached reserve, admirers of particular artists have become even more neurotically attached to their cultural love-objects, demanding relatability, accessibility and “engagement,” no matter how manufactured.
The article goes on to condemn the Twitter threads with positive stories about celebrities, and this woman literally wrote a book titled “Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies,” so I give up.
To end on a brighter note, NPR has been doing a series on fans recently that is full of uplifting stories. So far, there’s one about how being a Beyonce fan helped a trans woman of colour find herself, and one about how General Hospital helped a man in prison stay safe and out of trouble, among others.
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