Face-to-Face is a feature that allows two members of the Redwood Community to grill each other, argue, or simply converse about a relevant issue or event. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are junior Jackson Bender and Social Studies teacher Mike Kelemen. They discuss their different views on Season 7 of House of Cards being cut from Netflix. Additionally, they converse about Kevin Spacey’s allegations of sexual assault toward actor Anthony Rapp, when Rapp was just 14 years-old.
1. How does this affect your view of famous actors or directors?
Mike Kelemen: Whether it’s an athlete or an actor, they could personally be really horrible people and I wouldn’t want to hang out with them or have them be my friends, but I would still respect their ability to play the sport or enjoy their acting and want to watch their shows. So would I still want to watch House of Cards after all this stuff about Kevin Spacey? Yes. They could have figured out a way to kill him off and still keep the show going. So it would only just punish that specific actor, Spacey, and not the whole show and whole crew. I like the show so much that I would still watch it without him, but I would have liked to see him continue as his character because I think that he enhances the show.
Jackson Bender: Personally, I kept reading stories about Spacey and I thought what he did was totally unacceptable and that it was justifiable for Season 7 to be cut from Netflix for a variety of reasons. When I first heard about Spacey and I heard him basically apologize for being sexually abusive by coming out as gay, it’s a very common theme where celebrities and public figures will marginalize themselves in the process of apologizing, and it definitely comes down to people in positions of power and how they are using that. They use these things like coming out as gay as an excuse for their actions and I just think that is horrible. After the allegations of what Kevin Spacey did, and after seeing the headlines read “Kevin Spacey comes out as gay’ instead of “Kevin Spacey commits sexual assault” to me, that says as a society we view sexual assault and coming out as gay as equal. I think that one is more gossip and one is more newsworthy and should be more public. I believe that coming out is an important part for someone that is gay, but I think that he used that strategically to propel his apology.
2. How do you feel about season 7 being pulled from Netflix?
MK: If Netflix wants to stand up as a company and say we don’t want to hire actors that act like this and that is their right and I understand that, but I would have really liked to see the seventh season of House of Cards continue. I’ve watched that show for several years. I think Kevin Spacey is a really good actor and I’ve seen him speak not in the character of Frank Underwood while being interviewed, and he seems like an intelligent guy and I like the show. With that said, obviously now in the past few days there have been people coming forward saying that Kevin Spacey in real life is not a nice guy and that is why it is controversial, but the show itself is really entertaining to me and is really well acted by Spacey. The fact that Netflix is not showing the next season and that they have cut ties with Kevin Spacey I can understand that from a business standpoint, but I also feel like a work of art, the people who make it could be real jerks, but if you enjoy the art I don’t think it should be illegal to be able to publish that and watch that, basically separating the art from the artist.
JB: In my point of view, they already filmed the season, however, in light of recent events, I think that it was important for Netflix to not condone what Kevin Spacey did. And by taking it off of Netflix they are saying that they don’t support Spacey’s actions at all. The punishment fits the crime. But all in all, I think it was important for Netflix and the show itself to say that they don’t agree, condone or support his type of behavior. However, killing Spacey’s character off, in my opinion, would just create more problems. There are tons of qualified actors in the world, so I think the most suitable solution would just be to replace his character.
3. Should famous actors and directors with allegations for sexual assault still be rewarded for their work?
MK: Well if he did something in the past he should still continue to get rewarded and have royalties from that work. Now he will be financially hurt because other producers will probably not want to hire him or allow him to do new shows in the future. I don’t think that during the investigation part of it or even after it that you shouldn’t be allowed to make money because people still need to have a job. If people don’t want to hire you afterward because they think you are a risk to the business, I understand that, but being fired immediately before the investigation shouldn’t be legal and isn’t right.
JB: Yes, for budgetary reasons it probably wasn’t the smartest decision to take it off of Netflix because it was probably going to be very popular, but I think overall it is going to mean more for people who are fans of the show to be like ‘Okay, this show and the company that shows this show are doing what’s right politically.’ They are putting their best foot forward for what’s best for the company, rather than just making the most profit they can.
4. Do you feel that the disciplinary actions being taken are the right ones for Spacey?
MK: In the case of Spacey, he is being accused of harassing and being a sexual predator not to women, but to men, and then comes out and says, ‘Well, I’m gay.’ But it doesn’t matter if you are gay or heterosexual, that is not acceptable. It doesn’t mean that all famous actors or producers are sexual predators. I agree that he gets fired and sued if Spacey is violating laws, such as sexual harassment. If Netflix as a company doesn’t choose to show his show that’s their choice, but I still want to continue watching the show, yes, with Spacey on it because I like the show. It doesn’t necessarily mean I like him, but I would have liked to see the season continue with him in it. I would definitely prefer them to show season seven with Kevin Spacey on Netflix, and based on the allegations, if they are correct, then they can and should fire him and they wouldn’t then be able to make a season eight with him. Since season seven is already finished being filmed, then yeah, I think they should put it on Netflix.
JB: Obviously not as many people are going to watch your show, and so I think that itself is enough punishment. That would just lead to more lawsuits if you tried to strip actors of their earnings once they were convicted of sexual assault. But I think that once you are convicted and your name goes down the drain, no one is going to want to hire you anymore, good luck getting another job, good luck being seen in the public eye from a positive perspective. I think that in itself is a good punishment. Ultimately, I think that the seventh season of House of Cards being taken off Netflix is good. And I agree that there is enough political uproar of him coming out, the LGBTQ community did not support him and hated the fact that he decided to marginalize himself with them in a sexual assault perspective. Disciplinary actions wise, there will be a trial and whatever that conclusion is will take care of itself, but I think the public uproar and backlash against Spacey is enough. Basically, this situation just happens way too often, and I just think that Kevin Spacey is another terrible example of people in positions of power abusing them.