Let’s stop putting celebrities on pedestals

Could status be the reason those in power are using it to abuse?

More stories from Ryan Huling

If the #MeToo movement hasn’t reached your radar, it’s blatant that there are people in power who will use it to get what they want. Most recently, it has been unveiled how many people in power prey on children. These actions are vile and those who commit them should face consequences.

Quite often, the predator is able to operate for a long time before facing the judge. However, the reason it took so long for their actions to be brought to light may lie in how the predators are treated.

At the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary “Finding Neverland” premiered and highlighted the lives of two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who, as young boys, were groomed and molested by superstar Michael Jackson.

From 1989 to 2006, Sycamore Valley Ranch, also known as Neverland Ranch, operated as a private amusement park for Jackson. Jackson allegedly coerced families to come and spend time at Neverland Ranch, giving them many gifts and becoming especially close with their young sons.

The documentary describes how Jackson brainwashed and molested the two young boys. At one point, Jackson had a mock wedding with Safechuck in Jackson’s bedroom.

Jordan Chandler, a victim not featured in the documentary, talked on the phone with Jackson regularly. Chandler was 12 years old. The Chandler family stayed at Neverland Ranch multiple times, in which, on numerous occasions, Chandler and Jackson stayed in the same bed. When he was 13, Chandler described how Jackson sexually assaulted him.

The documentary will give much more precise detail than what I can detail here. Some don’t believe that the “King of Pop” could have done something so heinous. Tweets that are tagged with #MJInnocent and #MJWasAGeniusLikeMozart imply that his musical talent correlated with innocence.

Before Jackson’s Neverland Ranch was shut down, R. Kelly was arrested in 2003 and charged with 12 counts of child pornography after photos were found in his home. The charges were dropped after the judge ruled that the evidence was seized illegally.

In 2017, Buzzfeed released an investigative article about R. Kelly holding girls against their will in a “cult.” Come 2019 and “Surviving R. Kelly” is released, a documentary series detailing the musician’s sexual and physical abuse toward many underage girls.

In February, R. Kelly was indicted on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault connected to four girls, three of which are underage. He pled not guilty and was released on $100,000 bond.

R. Kelly went on CBS, saying he is “fighting for he f—ing life” and that these accusations are not true. He also said “I gave you 30 years of my f—ing career,” as though his service to the music industry cleared him of any suspicion.

Just as recent, and in a somewhat smaller community, it has been uncovered that there were pedophiles in the YouTube Pokemon community. Three YouTubers known as Dekadurr, VegasJamie and TheKingNappy, whose YouTube channel has more than 500,000 subscribers, were outed as having groomed and dated underage boys and girls.

All three deleted their social media before the full details of their wrongdoings were released in order to hide from the inevitable consequences.

Personally, as someone who watched TheKingNappy, whose real name is Kyle, for the past seven years, it was hard to see him as the bad guy before all the details came out. It was word of mouth on Twitter for a day or two and many of his followers defended him, claiming he did nothing wrong. But as the evidence was released, it became clear this man I had watched for seven years, who I felt I knew, was a complete stranger.

This is why these documentaries and allegations in the #MeToo movement are so hard for some people to accept. The people being accused are celebrities that fans feel like they “know,” as though they would be incapable of doing such actions.

A study by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center found the amount of false reporting regarding sexual violence that happens is between two and ten percent.

I cannot fathom the idea of going through all the trouble of accusing a superstar of sexual assault just for money. I’m inclined to believe the victims in each case. When the cases are so fishy and such a conflict of interest, it is almost ignorant to think the suspect is innocent.

The idea that a fully grown superstar built a private amusement park to invite little boys to makes my skin crawl.

Now, there is always the possibility that people lie or things are made up. It is never right to condemn someone without any proof. But, if there is the possibility that these celebrities are committing felonies, it cannot be left alone. Celebrities do not get a “hall pass” to do whatever they want. It is critical they are held accountable.

Luckily, the #MeToo movement has been doing a heck of a job at getting rid of those who disregard how their actions affect others. But not every criminal has been accounted for. So we must keep hearing from victims to uncover all those who have done them wrong.

But that’s just my two cents.

Huling can be reached at [email protected]