Since the #MeToo movement we’ve heard a lot of people come forward and a lot of “stars” fall. I’ve been thinking a lot about those accused and what that means for how I view them as artists. Recently, in a class where we have to give presentations on authors, one of my classmates said she wanted to present on a certain author that she liked but then she found out that he was accused of sexual assault. I posed the question, “But does that mean you’re not allowed to like his books anymore?”

Most of my favorite authors were drug addicts, alcoholics, and/or violent, but for me, that doesn’t take away the fact that I love their work. One of the latest accusations that has me put in a tough spot is the allegations following Michael Jackson again.

I love Jackson’s music. Growing up I loved to sing and dance to MJ and even wore a glove around for a while trying to feel like I was on his league. When he was accused in the early 2000s I thought, “There is no way. This man is innocent.” Since then, I’ve grown a lot and realize that sometimes the people that we look up to do awful things. These allegations have recently resurfaced because a documentary on HBO called “Leaving Neverland” (which I haven’t seen yet) aired. Now that I’m older I think much differently about the situation.

The fact is, Michael Jackson was a weird, weird guy and it’s very plausible that he was a child molester, but does that mean I should feel bad about dancing to his music as a child? Does that mean when his music comes on the radio that I should turn it off and boycott him forever?

Sometimes good men make bad art, and sometimes bad men make really good art.

In my opinion, it’s possible to separate the art from the artist.

When I brought this topic up in class my teacher spoke about how growing up he loved The Electric Company and The Cosby Show and that in those moments Bill Cosby had a positive effect on his childhood. When the world found out that Cosby had been drugging and raping women, our feelings changed about him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we had to hate those moments in our childhood.

I get it, some people might not ever be able to listen to “Thriller” again, or maybe it’s really hard for you to watch House of Cards knowing that Kevin Spacey made a habit out of grabbing men sexually and without consent. I really do get how those actions can ruin a song, a movie, a show, or a book for someone.

While I detest everything to do with R. Kelly, who everyone knows is a child pervert, I have fond memories of singing “I Believe I Can Fly” at the end of Space Jam. Those memories can’t be tainted by the inappropriate actions of anyone. For me, R. Kelly and “I Believe I Can Fly” are not synonymous.

A few weeks ago, Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson spoke on Weekend Update about separating the art from the artist.

“For guys like R. Kelly, the rule should be if you want to listen to their music, you just have to admit that they’re bad people,” said Davidson. “Pretending these people never existed is maybe not the solution, you know? The rule should be like, you can appreciate their work, but only if you admit what they did.”

And I think I’m okay with that. The only thing I can try to relate it to is like the people trying to tear down historical monuments. Erasing history or the work that people have done is not the answer. We can admit that some people are terrible and have done terrible things, but it doesn’t mean we have to erase them or their work.