VIEWPOINT: Separating art from the artist is impossible


Artists like Ye cannot be continuously given platforms to spread these hateful ideas.

Reagan Berry, Section Editor

“Separate the art from the artist” is a phrase being used to encourage people to separate a person’s feelings about a certain artist’s behavior or personal beliefs from their art. While opinions differ based on one’s sense of what constitutes good or bad behavior, the sentiment is an excuse fans use to brush aside bad behavior so they can continue to listen to and support controversial artists without feeling guilty.

This mindset is extremely harmful to minorities when an artist specifically attacks a minority group and fans continue to excuse their behavior, shoving it aside in defense of enjoying the art  they create. It is all an attempt to not be seen as a bad person for streaming their art and save their own reputation as a fan. 

Kanye West, now known as Ye, has been a known icon in the music industry for years, with multiple hits hitting over a billion streams. Within the past few years, Ye has been in more and more controversy, most recently in October of 2022.

In a string of anti-semetic tweets, Ye accused Jewish people of “[owning] the Black voice,” along with saying they’re creating a “Holocaust” against Black people, specifically Black Americans. His sayings have been backed by multiple extremist groups, including White Lives Matter and the Goyim Defense League, both of which are white supremacists with anti-semetic and racist values. 

All of the recent controversy has caused many brands to rightfully drop their collaborations with Ye, including Gap, Adidas, and Balenciaga, along with the Grammy’s and Coachella dropping him from their line up.

Ye’s monthly listeners have only declined by 3.9% on Spotify, with on-demand clicks dropping by 6%, but still being higher than the beginning of 2022.

Despite all of this, Ye’s monthly listeners have only declined by 3.9% on Spotify, with on-demand clicks dropping by 6%, but still being higher than the beginning of 2022. Fans continue to dismiss his remarks, with some even backing them.

Since artists make around $0.008 per stream, in Ye’s top 5 songs he’s made almost $30 million from those streams on Spotify alone. Continuing to listen to these songs even with what Ye’s said proves to people like him that there are no consequences for his actions, fueling his hateful words and gaining him publicity for more streams.

Author of the “Harry Potter ” series, J.K Rowling, has received backlash for the past two and a half years over a series of transphobic tweets posted in 2020. While some of the first tweets come off like she is a feminist, starting from Jun. 10, 2020, Rowling’s tweets became more transphobic overtime.

After associating with “TERF Wars,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, she wrote about “Five reasons for being Worried about the New Trans Activism,” where she outlines freedom of speech, charity, and her fear that transitioning is an unchangeable thing for young children giving in to bullying.

With the recent release of “Hogwarts Legacy,” the discussion on her intent behind her words has come back into conversation, with fans saying just because they play the game does not mean they support her actions. However, that is exactly what these fans are doing.

With the game being one of Warner Brothers’ most popular yet, selling 12 million copies in just two weeks, Rowling’s income will increase to even more than recently seen in the past years. While already earning an average of  $50 to $100 million each year, Rowling will make even more income from a percentage of the $221 billion predicted in sales of the game, if royalties were not paid up front.

Playing the game almost directly pours more money into Rowling’s pockets, supporting Rowling even if that is not what goes through the players’ heads.

Continuing to support an artist through their controversy only supports their behavior and allows the artist to continue their actions. Listening to a musician only allows them to gain publicity, which, for most artists, accounts to streams and, therefore, money. 

If we keep giving platforms to controversial figures, the ideas and problems will only spread and no consequences will be given.