In light of the many sexual misconduct allegations that have surfaced in the past few months, one is left with the personal ethical battle concerning the artists they value and the controversies surrounding them. Is it morally acceptable to still listen to their music? Is appreciating their work an indirect form of providing support toward them and their problematic ideals? In a more general sense, it seems that we have a tendency to pick and choose who we will still accept and who we will turn away when we find out that some of our most beloved and famous artists are terrible people with equally terrible mindsets.
Recently, indie band Real Estate cited cutting ties with guitarist Matt Mondanile as a result of his "unacceptable treatment of women," something that he initially denied, but has now acknowledged and issued a weak apology stating how "there are two sides to these stories." Similarly, allegations against other indie artists like Melanie Martinez and The Gaslamp Killer have stirred up the community, leading many to discard the merchandise related to these artists and/or stop listening to their music altogether.
It can be difficult to avoid listening to some of your favorite artists after their true colors have shown considering the amount of time and love you have invested in their musical catalog, yet you can't help but feel this lingering sense of guilt while still listening to them considering that their image is now tainted for you. It's not entirely your fault for still wanting to listen to their music, it's comfortable, it's familiar; but once the music has become tainted, what's the point?
Essentially, in finding out the problematic actions and sentiments that these artists practice, it leads us as people and music lovers to make the decision as to whether or not we should support them. The best music should be a mirror image of who an artist really is, it should open a door into the beliefs and sentiments of the artist communicating them. Considering this, we are almost forced to think about the validity of the artist's intention: is their art a genuine representation of who they are? If their actions support the terrible, then what truth does their artistry hold? What message does their artistry actually communicate? Actions speak louder than any music can. Matt Mondanile can create all the "dreamy pop" music he wants, but he can never erase the scars left behind on the women he has assaulted, and no chord progression or guitar lick can ever cover that up. Should an artist's real life intentions be driven by the terrible, then perhaps one should reconsider consuming music from problematic individuals who hypocritically create music that does not mirror what their actions reveal.