We in the lifestyle biz are especially on top of trends. And right now, #metoo-hashtagged sexual assault stories are trending worldwide. Which got me thinking about — and seriously re-evaluating — my then-and-now perceptions of some notable celebrities of allegedly dubious character.
A lot of these characters, from Hollywood heavyweights to politicians, have been effectively removed from their prestigious positions and are suffering the consequences. Hell, even the F&B world has been rocked, with news of Mario Batali stepping away from his restaurant empire after four women came forward to accuse him of wrongdoing.
But what happens after someone gets outed for their evils? Or put another way: Can a villain really be removed from their art? Can we, and should we, still be able to appreciate and endorse the works of those who have egregiously violated societal norms? Can we continue to love something while fuckin’ hating its creator’s guts?
And to make this question more universally applicable, what if the culprit in question wasn’t necessarily a sexual predator but just an all-round asshole?
In Hong Kong’s F&B industry — as with all other industries, I’m sure — there’s always been chatter regarding those at the top of the food chain who variously abuse their positions of power, prey on the vulnerable, or dabble continuously in the gray zone. I’m not here to substantiate any rumors — but I have started to wonder whether one should draw a line somewhere and stop patronizing establishments that are run (to one’s knowledge) by terrible, terrible people? Is there room for nuance, or should things be a bit more black and white?
Perhaps this would be an easier question to answer if we started speaking up collectively and drawing that line together.
A mouthy soliloquy by Adele Wong. See more Food for Thought columns here.