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10 Artists/Entertainers Besides Woody Allen Accused of Sex Crimes—And What Happened to Their Careers as a Result

History is, alas, full of them.
 
 
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Photo Credit: Aleš Studený/Shutterstock.com

 
 
 
 

To see Woody Allen films, or not to see them. That is the question some of the filmmaker’s fans are grappling with these days.

Whether they believe he is a child molester, or merely—as seems to be indisputable—a creep, drawing a line between a popular artist’s work, and their potentially sordid personal life has never been harder than it is in the age of TMI.

Allen is by no means the first artist or entertainer accused of being a despicable man. To put the whole question into a little context, here’s a brief  list of artists/entertainers with personal lives ranging from the dubious to the criminal, what they were suspected or charged of, and how it all affected their career.

DEAD ONES

Caravaggio

One of history’s greatest artists is believed by historians to have been sexually involved with the pre-pubescent boy who modeled for the painter’s 1603 masterpiece “St. John the Baptiste,” and a few other paintings.

Upshot: Allegations of pederasty have had no discernible impact on the artist’s reputation.

Lewis Carroll

At the very least, Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, had an erotic fascination with little girls, including Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, and Alice Through the Looking Glass. No one knows for sure whether he acted on this fascination, though to many it seems likely.

Upshot: Alice in Wonderland is still a beloved children’s classic, though still dark and hallucinogenic enough for Tim Burton to have directed the 2010 adaptation.

Michael Jackson

Twice tried but never convicted, the “King of Pop” admitted to sharing his bed with children, but never to “harming” them. Still, in the court of public opinion, there does not seem to be much doubt that Jackson slept with underage boys, and many have come forward to accuse him. Jackson allegedly paid $35 million in hush money to at least two dozen young boys he sexually abused over 15 years.

Upshot: While it is hard to know to what extent these accusations or activities contributed to Jackson’s ill health, increasing reclusiveness or early demise, they haven’t made much of a dent in sales. His estate made $600 million in the four years after his 2009 death, more than any single artist living or dead has ever made in that timespan.

Fatty Arbuckle

When a starlet died of a ruptured bladder after a three-day bacchanalia with the silent film star, the enraged public turned on him. Arbuckle was accused of raping and killing the young woman and crushing her with his weight. William Randolph Hearst boasted that the Arbuckle case sold more papers than the sinking of the Maine.

Upshot: Arbuckle was tried three times, and eventually acquitted, even getting an apology from the jury. He was blacklisted from Hollywood, and eventually attempted a comeback of sorts as a director under a different name.

Balthus

The Polish-French artist, who died in 2001, painted many erotic paintings of little girls (and lots of cats) but insisted that any perversity was in the eye of the beholder. He was merely portraying uncomfortable aspects of young girls’ sexuality.

Upshot: An exhibition of his photographs was recently cancelled in Germany amidst allegations that the shots were pedophilic. But the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently mounted an exhibition of some of his paintings of girls and cats and a little known series of drawings he did when he was 11 ( these contained no girls, just cats.)

LIVE ONES

Bill Cosby

Multiple accusations of sexual assault came to light about the beloved comedian in 2006, when close to 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 because of the Allen affair.

 
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