Mulan Hating on Hong Kong? Divorcing the Art and from the Artist.

09/05/2020

Mulan Hating on Hong Kong? Can we divorce the Art and the Artist?

Disney's Live-action 2020 Mulan opens to an equal mixture of love and hate.

Lui Yifei comments received 65K likes in 24 hours on mainland China however, across the world thousands of people are calling for the boycott of Disney's new Mulan movie. 

"I support Hong Kong's police, you can beat me up now, what a shame for Hong Kong. #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice" 

As a Humanities and Ethics professor, this topic hits our class like a brick! It is possible to divorce the art from the artist; not always an easy task.

For example, convicted pedophile Victor Salva, best known for the Jeepers Creepers movies, faced backlash when he tried to continue the franchise in the early 2000s. "In 2006 the film-maker made a public plea for forgiveness...I pled guilty to a terrible crime, and I've spent the rest of my life trying to make up for it. I've been in therapy... But I paid my debt to society and apologised to the young man. And all I can hope is that people will give me a chance to redeem myself." Can we forgive Salva and still watch his films?

Fast forward to the current tensions between China and Hong Kong. Lead actress Liu Yifei tweeted in support of Hong King police, who are currently accused of extreme police brutality.

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone questioned this very notion in their articles, Can We Separate the Art from the artist?

The past couple of years have been filled with news about artists and entertainer's history of sexual harassment and assault. But the bad behavior of artists isn't limited to that. Many musicians are outspokenly racist. Some have committed crimes or even murders. And others are just terrible jerks...Art's not here to be ethical. Art's not here to be anything but good art... If art (imperatively) is to be ethical, it is to be ethical. If art (imperatively) is to be political, it is to be politics. (And the same is to be said of one's attunement to art.)

The question is put back to the viewer, can a movie act as an icon for generations to come promoting equality and democracy despite its leading actress supposed poor brutally comments. Is it possible for an ensemble cast and crew to be devoid of politics or, can the actors or directors involved doom the production completely?