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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: ‘It’s Not The Same Anymore’ — Rex Orange County’s songs tainted by recent sexual assault allegations

Rex+Orange+County
Courtesy of Wiki Commons
Rex Orange County

I should have been surprised when I heard the news that singer Rex Orange County (Alexander James O’Connor) was facing charges of sexual assault, but I was more disappointed than anything. 

Issues with artists such as Kanye West and John Mayer have arisen in the past, yet people still listen to their songs. However, we live in an age of “cancel culture” that attempts to hold celebrities and public figures accountable for their wrongdoings. 

That being said, the charges being brought against O’Connor go far beyond “cancel culture.” 

If we cannot trust someone who gave us songs like “Loving Is Easy” and “Happiness,” then who can we rely on? And can we separate art from the artist and continue to listen to their songs? 

In the case with O’Connor, I do not believe that it is possible to separate him from his music since so many of his songs were about him being in love or dealing with hard times — songs that are now tainted by these allegations. 

For the fans who listened to his music as a form of escape from their own lives, what are they supposed to do? For people who have dedicated time and money into this musician who they so loyally trusted — is it as easy as throwing away merch and removing his songs from their playlists? 

Each time new allegations against a celebrity are brought to attention online, fans struggle to do what is right because there is no specific protocol on what to do. In fact, most of the time no one will ever really know if you still listen to a certain artist or musician unless you tell them. 

However, I’ve noticed that there are some people who are posting some questionable takes online. It is alright to be upset about this situation, but some posts are completely insensitive to the victim. 

I know much of the internet has become desensitized when it comes to heavy topics such as sexual assault, and that many cases have turned them into jokes or punchlines, but personally, I don’t believe this is a laughing matter.

Call me crazy, but making fun of a woman’s trauma and abuse will never be funny to me. I could not imagine how the victim would feel if she saw how people are reacting to the situation online. 

“This is the worst day of my life,” and “my life is ruined,” are real TikToks that I’ve seen people post, and while it is completely valid to feel betrayed and hurt, I think people need to be more aware of the power of their words.

People preach about believing victims, but will be quick to make a joke or discredit them, as if these very victims will not be able to see the comments. 

At the end of the day, we only know the persona celebrities present to us. People must remember that for actors, musicians and other artists, this is their job. It is not who they are as people in their everyday lives, so perhaps it is time to stop idolizing them and begin to consume entertainment in a way that is more critical and consciously aware.

Follow Julie on Twitter!

@writerinthealps

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About the Contributor
Leo Woods
Leo Woods, News Editor | he/him

Leo is a senior political science major with a minor in journalism from Clinton, Connecticut. He has photographed political events, protests, performing arts groups and documented Boston Pride for the People for the History Project. Outside of Suffolk, Leo is an avid Dungeons and Dragons player and podcast listener. After graduation, he plans on attending law school and working in politics.

Follow Leo on X @leowoods108

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  • M

    MarkOct 19, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Like you said, this is an allegation so he’s not inherently guilty. If he’s found guilty then yes I would agree you can’t seperate the artist from music in this situation. But him getting canceled before any legal decisions and findings is also wrong.

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  • S

    SomeoneOct 19, 2022 at 6:20 am

    We unfortunately live in a sick world, as a victim of sexual assault seeing the allegations against Alexander did shock me. His music has always been a source of warmth and wholesomeness. But after a few minutes it didn’t really surprise me. People can spend their whole lives being decent and then make egregious mistakes. It isn’t hard to believe.
    Honestly, judge me if you wish, but I am going to try separating the art from the artist in this case. His music has brought me a lot of comfort. Maybe it can continue to do so. Everything you’ve written here makes sense. And yet it’s up to the court system to get justice for the victim, and unfortunately there’s not much we can do. When Thriller and Billie Jean are played they’re still classic songs, despite the character of the person who performed them. The world is not black and white, unfortunately so, because then we could all feel a lot more safe. I do believe that there’s something greater than us that gives us the gift of creativity and good music, and that artists simply channel that energy. I’m also a POC and if there’s a good Kanye song, I’ll still listen to it. We have to make divisions in our lives, we can’t crumble every time a man reveals himself to hold bigoted views or perform vile actions. That is simply the world we live in. I wish it was different, but it isn’t. Censoring music because the artist did something questionable leaves us witty very little music to listen to. Artist do not become infallible gods once they achieve fame. There is no real safety in this world, no true safe spaces.

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OPINION: ‘It’s Not The Same Anymore’ — Rex Orange County’s songs tainted by recent sexual assault allegations