Celebrities Need To Be Held More Accountable For Sexual Misconduct

Josh Click, Photo Editor


   Celebrities have always caused controversy on social media, but when that controversy turns into sexual assault charges and accusations, it is not okay for it to be considered simply  “drama.” Magazine companies publish a flashy cover with a picture of a big time celebrity, then talk about whether that person’s accusations are real or can be trusted. With this norm of consistently sparking disbelief that a precious celebrity would ever sexually assault someone, one thing is clear: believing and supporting victims of sexual assault is a vital step towards accountability.

   An anonymous Twitter post accused Musician Justin Bieber of “sexual assault without consent.” Soon after, Bieber went to Twitter to state his claim, asserting, “…I want to be clear. There is no truth to this story” (twitter.com). Bieber’s accusation spread like wildfire, and two sides emerged from the flames. Should people believe the accuser or should they believe Bieber? Sophomore Evelyne Eklund said, “…the fact is, the statistics on sexual assault prove that accusations are more often right than not.”

   Another example of sexual assault among celebrities was when Actor Danny Materson was accused of raping three women in the late 2000s, according to USA Today (usatoday.com). Each woman came forward to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in late 2016 and were met with backlash. Materson disputed the claims even with enough evidence from the three women for his case to be brought to court. He was arrested in June of 2020 and later, was released on bail.

   Even with Materson’s conviction, the three women were still attacked on social media. According to the LAPD, “She [one of the three victims] filed a report in 2017 and says she was harassed on social media, her car was vandalized and fraudulent purchases were made from her bank accounts” (lapdonline.org) It’s just as important for us to support the victims as it is to believe them. If an environment is created where it is unsafe for victims to speak out against their assailants, no one is going to be held accountable, especially celebrities with millions of supporters at their fingertips to back up whatever they say, truthful or not.

   Some may say that accusations on Twitter are unreliable or untruthful, pointing out supposed false reports. However, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “A study of 136 sexual assault cases in Boston from 1998-2007 found a 5.9 percent rate of false reports…” which is a small percent compared to those reports that are true. “Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, researchers studied 812 reports of sexual assault from 2000-2003 and found a 2.1 percent rate of false reports” (nsvrc.org). Therefore, no matter who makes it, chances are that accusations are going to be truthful much more often than not.

   Supporting and helping to create an environment where victims can openly talk about what happened is paramount. Victims of sexual assault or harassment shouldn’t have to worry about the media or social media discrediting their stories and further suppressing their voices.