For every famous and semi-famous person accused of doing something wrong, there’s a small army of people who don’t know them willing to defend them. Call them fans, call them stans, call them trolls, but whatever label you choose to give them, they’re the ones ready, willing, and eager to pretend they’ve never made a judgment in the court of public opinion, For every wrestler accused of domestic abuse, every musician accused of sexual assault, and every sitcom star accused of racism, there are people willing to look past these things because said person never abused, assaulted, or said anything mean to them.
But my favorite part of this white knight cycle of defending “bad” people is the part where these people who believe justice only takes place in courtrooms get frothing at the mouth angry that their heroes have trouble finding work in their desired profession. “How dare someone use their freedom of speech to try and keep someone convicted of statutory rape from being around children and teenagers?” they ask themselves while typing a poorly written tweet.
And I get how this sort of thing happens. Some people are worried that their own pasts may one day catch up with them. Some people just want to turn a blind eye to bad behavior because they think the behavior of someone they like reflects poorly on them. Some people just hate women. The reasons are endless, and rarely in the right.
Justice is complicated and the justice system imperfect. Bad people do get away with bad behavior, whether that be because of a lack of evidence, a great lawyer, or a victim too scared to report the crime, to name just a few reasons. Things only get murkier when you get into the realms of verbal abuse and hate speech, things that most of us agree are wrong but aren’t actually crimes.
Do you ever think that it’s weird that these people, so worried about justice when the accused is someone they like, aren’t ever out raising funds to eliminate rape kit backlogs? I mean, if they’re really interested in justice, that’s a pretty simple, small way to grease the wheels of justice. But of course they don’t care about justice, they just care about being right about someone they look up to.
It’s why they can’t fathom the idea that justice is not just fines, jail time, and probation. While I acknowledge that there are some particularly hardcore outliers out there, most people believe that people who commit crimes do have a right to work, whether they serve a sentence or not. But that doesn’t mean that everyone agrees that people who have or are accused of having done bad things have a right to their dream job, particularly if that job comes with a certain amount of fame and fortune.
But for every famous person just trying to “live their life” and “provide for their families” after being accused of some evil, there are hundreds of people with the same dream as them who have lived good lives and aren’t going to see their dreams come true. They accept that, and they live their lives and provide for their families. If they can learn to wash dishes,
Sometimes good, honest people get accused of being monsters. Sometimes petty racists become President. The world, like justice, is imperfect. But in cases where the charges against someone are credible, I shed no tears if that person is hounded with their misdeeds for the rest of their life. If you abuse someone and decide that you still want attention for the rest of your life, the good news is that you’ll get it; just don’t freak out if it’s not the attention you want.
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