Recently, Indian actress Deepika Padukone expressed her solidarity with the Jawaharlal Nehru University students Image Credit: Twitter

Today’s fast-paced world makes and breaks artists every day. Some rise to fame for ‘speaking out’ and others are ‘cancelled’ online because of their opinions. Is it difficult to separate the artist from their art?

Cancel culture

Consequences for those who are offensive

I don’t know how the term cancel culture originated, but I do feel that it is a very complicated one. In a world of curated information, a lot of what we see is being presented to us through a narrow lens based on the agenda of the author.

I believe that the internet should not hold the power for judge, jury and executioner, and open conversations should be welcomed regardless of conflicting opinions. Peoples’ lives shouldn’t be defined by a single mistake or opinion they might have held many years ago.

This, however, does not mean that people shouldn’t be held accountable for hateful behaviour that inflicts harm on others. However, they should be held accountable by the law, with proper due diligence and given a chance for defence.

If people choose to openly state their opinions that are hateful or offensive to others and affect the environment that they have to co-exist in, they should also have to stand by the consequences of hurting someone else.

If a person has conflicting views from me, I chose to personally not associate with them because there is a large pool of alternatives I could rather invest my efforts in.

From Ms Asma Hunaid

Business consultant based in Sharjah

Be tolerant

Boycotting art is unfair

To admire art in its true form, I believe that one must put aside political views and opinions from the work of an artist. For instance, often we forget that the actor plays a character and not themselves. As long as they don’t portray or impose their political views, which are not agreed upon, in the form of the art they serve, in my opinion, boycotting seems like a drastic measure.

With that being said, there are artists who direct funds to political and social causes, in that case, some people boycott to not further indirectly contribute to the wrong causes.

It is nearly impossible for an artist to please every person’s political opinion, and so it’s always a matter of picking and choosing the battle you want to fight. Not to forget, there are other artists present in the same movie for example, an actor who shares the same political opinion as many perhaps. Would people still boycott him or her just because of that one artist who plays a different character and doesn’t reference to their political opinions in that specific work? We need to think about that.

From Ms Emaan Asad

Web developer based in Dubai

Powerful tool

Harsh measures are sometimes needed

Cancelling can be a powerful tool against corrupt or harmful individuals who may hold a lot of power in the society. However, I believe people need to know who and what they are cancelling. A sexist actor in a movie, for example, does not make the movie sexist. A sexist director may have more power in that regard because of the chosen camera angles and because of having the final say. A sexist writer may use the scenario to convey their beliefs and that is when the art becomes intertwined with a person. These things, however, get less noticed because writing and direction are abstract concepts, while people we see on the screens are very much not. Their bad behaviours may not have any impact on the movie and yet they are the ones getting cancelled because of existing relationships between the common people and the celebrity. As such, people feel betrayed when this happens. Unfortunately, in these cases we go after the individual criminals rather looking at the problems with the system itself. Rejecting a movie just because there is a disgraced actor in it will not do anything, while at the same time there are movies with perfectly clean and spotless casting but that delivers anti-progressive agenda as its message.

From Mr German Shein

Application developer based in Dubai

Poll results

Do you believe in separating the artist from the art?

Yes: 18%

No: 82%

Have your say

Have you ever boycotted someone’s work solely because of their opinions on social or political issues?