What’s a Creator Without Their Creation?

Separating creators from their creations can help fans continue to enjoy their work


Sitting on the couch, a notification pops up on your phone saying your favorite singer has been involved in yet another controversy. What are you—as a fan—supposed to do with this information?

Allegations are made all the time against artists, actors, directors and other creators; you can stop supporting them and their creations altogether or continue to recognize the allegations made and enjoy their art while not supporting them as a person and the decisions they make. 

In recent years, Kanye West—more recently called Ye—best known for his song, “Praise God,” has been the topic of many news headlines and household conversations. Ye has been a wildly popular artist for years, however outside of his art, the decisions he makes are not always the most popular. 

He has made many controversial comments and is generally problematic. At the 2009 VMAs, Taylor Swift was accepting her award for best female video, when Ye interrupted her to announce, “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!”

Ye has now gone further than just public outbursts, during an interview on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show, Ye commented, “I see good things about Hitler… I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.” This statement, and others similar to it, has turned many listeners against him. His talents and influence don’t excuse his inappropriate—and offensive—behaviors. 

By continuing to listen to his music—and enjoying it—but not agreeing with his decisions or idolizing him, you are able to admit his faults but listen to the music you love. Ye’s music can still be good even if his decisions are not. 

Summit High School sophomore Ben Meier agrees, “[Ye and his music] should be separated because Kanye makes great music but he’s a terrible person. I still like his music.”

Following a controversial ad campaign by Balenciaga featuring children with teddy bears wearing bondage gear which many viewed as Balaneciaga condoning pedophilia and supporting the exploitation of chidren, Ye publicized that he stands by the brand. Meanwhile, people all over social media post videos of themselves destroying Balenciaga products and denouncing the company due to relations with Ye. Noting that the brand has now separated itself from Ye, who has worked with them for years; everything between shoes, jackets and bags retailing anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars are being broken, cut and burned. 

People reacted differently to this, some saying it isn’t necessary to destroy these products because they had already been purchased, while others jumped on board with destroying Balenciaga products.

Brands and singers aren’t the only ones that get judged, canceled or ridiculed; writers, producers and actors often get similar responses when their actions are frowned upon.

Actor Tom Cruise is disliked by many due to his actions in the past and his involvement in Scientology. 

His former manager Eileen Berlin, in an interview with The Daily Mail, stated, “Tommy had a terrible temper.” Thandie Newton, Cruise’s former co-star in “Mission: Impossible 2,” recalled how working with Cruise “pushed [her] further into a place of terror and insecurity.” 

Cruise shamed and criticized Brooke Shields, his co-star from the 1981 teen romance Endless Love, for treating her postpartum depression by using antidepressants and said that women should care for themselves with vitamins and exercise. More criticism has sprouted from his involvement in Scientology, which many people view as a controversial belief system, similar to that of a cult. 

Despite all of this, when “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to “Top Gun” came out in 2022, fans ran to the theaters to watch this film. Tom Cruise both directed and starred in “Top Gun: Maverick,” which quickly became one of the top films of 2022. According to an article by Sarah Whitten on CNBC, the movie became the “highest-grossing domestic release in 2022, generating $719 million in ticket sales.” Fans adored the film and watched it regardless of how they felt about Tom Cruise.

Cruise is only one of many creators who have made decisions unpopular by their fan base. At the start of 2023, Justin Roiland had allegations made against him, upsetting many fans.

According to Polygon.com creator of Rick and Morty Justin Roiland was “charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud and/or deceit.” Fans continue to watch this show despite the actions Roiland has made. 

“I know he is a pedophile but it’s a good show and I don’t care,” said an anonymous Summit student.

Many celebrities that end up in the middle of controversy or a lawsuit are already pretty rich and well-known. If millions of other people are still supporting their art, it is not going to make their pockets that much deeper if you listen to their music, buy their products or watch their movies a couple of times. 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard recently went through a defamation lawsuit. Fans picked sides in the trial. Information about their relationship surfaced during the trial and for supporters of both their careers, the trial was a very eye-opening moment. Just because you chose to support Amber Heard over Johnny Depp, doesn’t mean you must stop watching all movies with him in it, such as the incredibly famous “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and the same can be said for those who stopped supporting Amber Heard.

Sophomore Finn Miller says, “I don’t think it’s affecting [Johnny Depp] enough that you need to stop watching his movies.”

Not everyone sees it this way though. Separating creators from their work still means you are technically supporting them by giving them money through watching their movie, listening to their music or buying their product. 

Jayn Willis, a Summit High School junior, disagrees with separating a creator with their creation in certain situations, stating, “For beauty brands if there’s animal cruelty testing then you definitely don’t want to support them.” 

Especially on a larger scale if everyone decides to separate the two then the creator will continue to be greatly supported and still have a fan base even if it’s no longer about them as a creator. 

Specifically for music, separating songs from their artist may cause the value and meaning behind the song to be lost and it won’t have the same meaning or intent behind the words you are listening to. 

Each case is different. Sometimes an artist just makes one bad decision and is still a good person even if people don’t agree with that decision. 

Separating the creator from creation is a great way to continue listening to the music you enjoy, buying the products you love or watching the movies and shows you love. There is no need to idolize the artist. 

Most of these creators already have lots of money and likely won’t be massively affected if you keep enjoying their creations. 

If you decide to separate the producers, performers, and artists from their work you are able to appreciate or enjoy their creation while still not supporting them as a person. 

People screw up or have views that others don’t agree with, but that doesn’t invalidate their talent or the creations they have made and fans can recognize this by separating the creator from their creation. Listening, watching or buying doesn’t excuse a creator’s behavior, but it lets you do what you love.