Opinion: The price paid for fame

written BY GRACE HAMILTON, guest writer
Photo courtesy of Qutnews.com

We now live in the post-MeToo world. This, by all means, is a good thing. We all watched as media moguls like Harvey Weinstein, beloved celebrities like Bill Crosby, talented actors like Kevin Spacey and even our president has faced accusations of sexual misconduct, assault and rape.

We entered a world that demands more accountability and more respect. “Locker room talk” is no longer an accepted excuse and positions of power stopped being accepted as protection from justice or repercussions.

However, the fight doesn’t end there. Today we have TikTok, the social media platform that lives on almost everyone’s phones.

Users upload videos with limits from 15 seconds to a full minute. Many have gained popularity and fame from these videos, with Charli D’Amelio leading the pack, boasting over 85 million followers.

There seems to be a price to pay for fame, however. Or maybe positions of any kind of power lead to corruption, since many of these stars have been faced with allegations spanning from grooming to sexual assault.

Tony Lopez, one such popular creator (19 million followers), has been accused of messaging underage girls. These allegations are serious enough that he has been dropped by Bliss, the spa and beauty brand that sponsored him.

His brother Ondreaz (14.5 million followers) has now had a sexual assault allegation brought up against him by a girl who claims that he assaulted her when she was 17 and he was 21.

Gauge Burek, known on TikTok as @heir.of.atticus (1.8 million followers) is facing claims of grooming minors. And Kio Cyr (eight million followers) has not only been accused of talking to underage girls, but he has also said the n-word. It doesn’t stop there.

Bands like GRLwood, solo artists like Børns, comedians like Chris D’Elia, actors like Ansel Elgort; there are countless cases of people with power abusing their power.

The list of accusations and rumors goes on and on and on. And of course, so many TikTokers have said the n-word that at this point most of us have lost count.

It’s a story of power. More specifically, it’s a story about the abuse of power. And it’s a story about us.

 Read the comments, read the Reddit posts, watch the TikToks.

Witness, in real time, the lengths people — mostly minors — will go to just to defend their favorite celebrity. They’ll send death threats, they’ll dox you or they’ll find your nudes.

Everything their favorite creator did will be excused because their accuser is not a saint. #BelieveWomen fell apart pretty quickly when it went up against the powerhouses of the acting industry and the dancing boys of TikTok.

So what’s the answer? How do we reconcile a post-MeToo world with a celebrity-obsessed one? Maybe our worship has gone a little too far, our pedestals rose a little too high.

It’s obvious that no one is perfect, but if our standards have fallen to “He’s only said the n-word once!” or “Those accusations are from 2014, and it’s not even rape!” then maybe we haven’t come as far as we thought.