Separating art from artists? — MARIST CIRCLE

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Alternative/indie artist Rex Orange County has been accused with six counts of sexual assault. From 2015 to present, Rex has released four albums, multiple songs with other artists, and has over 19 million monthly listeners on Spotify. When such a well-known and talented artist with a large following is involved in something as horrific as a sexual assault, should that artist’s listeners find a way to separate the music from the artist or stop playing music altogether? ‘to listen ?

Rex Orange County, also known as Alexander O’Connor, was charged with six counts of sexually assaulting a woman on June 1, 2022. Apparently, a woman over the age of 16 was assaulted by O ‘Connor six times in total over two days. She was assaulted twice in one day and four times the following day, at his home and in a taxi according to a report by The Guardian.

On October 10, 2022, at Southwark Crown Court in London, O’Connor pleaded not guilty to all six counts and was released on unconditional bail. According to a report from BBC, a rep for O’Connor said, “Alex is shocked by the allegations, which he denies, and is eager to clear his name in court.” A trial date has been set for January 3, 2023 and is expected to last three days.

These allegations have undeniably tarnished Rex Orange County’s reputation, but with his music loved by so many, Rex Orange County fans are struggling to make the decision to continue listening to his music. The details and outcome of this case remain unknown at this time, so fans are at a loss for what to do.

“Whenever there are accusations against artists, I don’t want to listen to their music or support them in any way,” said Maya Campazano ’26. “I don’t believe in separating the art from the artist because you always support the artist indirectly. I think it’s extremely disrespectful because a lot of people don’t realize the pain the victim is feeling. Many people talk about a privileged place and invalidate the victim.

On social networks, the invalidation of the victim has become very trivialized. On TikTok in particular, there are countless posts with fans saying their lives are ruined. User @gracie_gk posted a TikTok with text that read, “The way my Rex Orange County product arrived today from everyday…” On Twitter, @coyduroyy posted: “Why did Rex Orange County ruin my life I’m gonna scream.” It’s selfish to say, let alone post on social media for millions of people to see. It’s understandable to be upset about the situation, but these messages are insensitive and inappropriate.

I find it difficult to listen to his music without feeling negative emotions. I’ve loved his music for a long time and always admired him, but I think it puts things into perspective in a way. Ultimately, Rex Orange County is a celebrity we may like but don’t know personally.

We have to recognize what to say in situations like these and be careful not to invalidate the victim. It is understandable to feel upset by this situation, but it is a situation that should be taken seriously. Deciding to continue listening to his music is a personal choice, but publicly criticizing the victim, or any victim, is unacceptable.


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