Don’t Reward Sexual Violence


Ali Zimmerman, Deputy Opinion Editor

In October 2017, more than 100 allegations of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light. The allegations essentially ended his career and set in motion the #MeToo movement, exposing many other men in Hollywood for committing similar crimes. Allegations against Kevin Spacey led Netflix to end his contract for “House of Cards.” Matt Lauer was terminated from NBC after allegations of his heinous sexual misconduct became public. But while some of these perpetrators of crime and abuse of power have received deserved repercussions, others have slipped from the #MeToo movement’s attention and been allowed to continue their careers.

Kobe Bryant and Kodak Black shouldn’t be allowed to continue to making movies and selling music when they have been accused of domestic violence and sexual assault. If the #MeToo movement is to have the desired, lasting impact for women, the accused must all receive equal treatment to send a clear message that sexual violence is never acceptable.

At this past Oscars ceremony, Bryant received an Oscar for best animated short, bringing sexual assault allegations from 2003 back into the public’s consciousness. Bryant was accused of raping an employee of a hotel he was staying at in Colorado, but the charges were dropped and Bryant returned to his basketball career scot-free. Meanwhile, E! Is sticking behind Ryan Seacrest amid claims of sexual misconduct from a former stylist.

Kodak Black and XXXTentacion have both continued to enjoy successful hip-hop careers despite allegations of sexual assault and domestic abuse. In February 2016, Kodak Black was indicted for the alleged sexual assault of a teenage girl at Comfort Inn and Suites in South Carolina. He spent only a month in jail for violating parole following the charges and could still face 30 years in federal prison. He has since released three albums. Twenty-year-old rapper XXXTentacion has been accused of several gruesome acts of domestic violence against his pregnant ex-girlfriend over the past year. He is said to have frequently threatened her life. He once forced her to choose between him inserting a barbecue pitchfork and barbecue cleaner up her vagina. He released an album this month.

R&B artist Chris Brown has also escaped #MeToo repercussions. In 2009, it seemed Brown’s career was doomed after he was arrested for abusing Rihanna, his girlfriend at the time. Jarring photographs of a bruised and beaten Rihanna seemed to ensure Brown would never sell another album again. Less than a decade later, however, it seems Brown’s past has been forgotten. In October, Brown dropped a 45-track album which was number one on iTunes following its release. Just weeks ago, Lil Dicky released his “Freaky Friday” music video featuring Brown.

While the #MeToo movement has delivered a much needed shift in the perception of the way women are treated by men in power, too many influential men have been allowed to continue their careers without consequence. Sexual assault should not be tolerated under any circumstances, but how can that message be made clear when Bryant can win an Oscar even after unsettled rape accusations? The crimes allegedly committed by Kodak Black and XXTentacion are unacceptable and capable of causing irreparable damage and trauma to victims. Should these people continue to be rewarded with fame and success?

A version of this article appeared in the March 26 print edition. Email Ali Zimmerman at [email protected].