Does Fame Shield Celebrities From Sexual Abuse Accusations?
Woody Allen is a straight up perv, but he’s not the only cat in show biz that’s been accused of sex crimes and “gotten away with it.” Sadly, Michael Jackson’s name comes to mind. Perhaps it’s because of his colossal fame, or the fact that he publicly referred to sharing his bed with children as a “beautiful thing.”
Looking at combo of verifiable and suspected predators, AlterNet presents a number of celebs who’ve been cast as “sex abusers,” and the impact, if any, it’s had on their careers.
In the late 70’s director Roman Polanski pled guilty of statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl, yet somehow he managed to leave the country and avoid extradition. Decades later he was arrested in 2009 on the American warrant dating back to 1977 as he arrived at Zurich Airport – en route to except a lifetime achievement award, no less. Polanski was subsequently jailed, then placed under house arrest at his luxury chalet for more than six months while Swiss authorities considered whether to extradite him to the US, the Guardian reports. He was released in July 2010 after Switzerland refused the extradition request. The end result? Polanski received his lifetime achievement accolades. During his acceptance speech in 2011, Polanski laughed, telling the audience, “What can I say? Better late than never.” The self-proclaimed child rapist not only received the award, but a standing ovation.
After writing about R. Kelly ad nauseam as a former gossip blogger, I’d prefer to quote AlterNet’s Janet Allon: “Numerous tapes of the R&B superstar having sex with underage girls emerged and were reported on in depth by journalist Jim DeRogatis. Despite the abundance of evidence of a long history of sexual predation, Kelly was acquitted of all charges including rape and child pornography. After the verdict, Jim DeRogatis famously said: ‘The saddest fact I’ve learned is that nobody matters less to our society than young black women.’”
“DeRogatis may be boycotting his music, but R. Kelly is as successful, if not more so, than ever. In some circles his reputation might even have been enhanced by the sordid and shocking allegations, and trail of damaged young women he left. He headlined the Pitchfork festival, last summer, and put out the album ‘Black Panties,’ which some critics praised as his ‘ode to p*ssy.’”
Back in 2009, CLUTCH reported some controversy regarding a z-list celeb named Marcus Cooper, a.k.a. Pleasure P. The former member of R&B group, Pretty Ricky, was outed as a child molester by his attorney’s daughter who claimed:
“My dad was being paid to cover it up but they owe my dad a lot of money and don’t want to pay him. I first overheard my dad say that it was someone famous but I found out who he was talking about. This guy Pleasure P got kicked out of a group because he was hiding that he was a child molester. His managers or whatever hired my dad to keep it quiet so he could get a record deal. The guy Pleasure P molested a 4 yr old child and was about to molest another one when police came and saved the child. Now, the truth is out they’re threatening my family and telling my dad he’s going to get sued. But they can’t because it’s a crime.”
The accused pedophile was promptly ousted from the group, followed by a damning statement from his former label:
“Unfortunately due to Pleasure P’s lawyer filing an injunction against us from speaking, we are not at liberty to speak about the case. However we will let it be known that we did kick him out of the group, he did not leave on is own free will…We are not at liberty to discuss why we kicked him out of the group.”
Alas, the singer is now in full comeback mode. He recently told Singers Room, “It’s time to fight back and speak up and put out music because I can overcome it by doing those types of things.” In regard to a mixtape released in time for Valentines Day, he plans taking his career to the next level under his legal and professional names, adding, “They tried sabotaging my name that I worked so hard for; it let me just start fresh, but then I was like you know what, you have the confidence, you worked hard and put in so much time into this, you just can’t let something as small as that (alleged child molestation accusations) ruin what you worked so hard for… I wanted people to get to know both; kind of like how Sean Diddy Combs is Puffy; do you know what I mean? All those people are me."
As much as it pains me to include him, Bill Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. Allon’s report claims these allegations came to light in 2006, “when nearly a dozen women told very consistent stories about being drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. Somehow, he quietly settled lawsuits and the whole business seemed to vanish from the public consciousness,” until recently, largely due to the latest Woody Allen debacle. Talk of a new sitcom deal with NBC & the revival of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids have been hampered by a recent Newsweek interview of an alleged victim, but it remains to be seen what will come of the beloved, outspoken comedian/activist and his prospective endeavors.
Four men are highlighted for the purposes of this piece but there are oh so many more accused celebs that have earned a place on this list. Ultimately, despite the evidence (or lack thereof), “ legal justice” takes on a bizarre new meaning within the intersection of fame and infamy.
Reprinted with permission from Clutch Magazine.