[Photo by: Corey Blaz on Unsplash]

It seems every day now, there is a new headline concerning sexual assault in the entertainment industry. These disgusting and traumatizing acts permeate film, television and music alike, exposing our idols as morally defective criminals. In the past several weeks alone, actor Kevin Spacey, actor/comedian Louis C.K. and film director Harvey Weinstein have all been outed by a long list of victims who finally feel like they are able to come forward.

But this is not just a Hollywood problem. Over the years, our music scene has been riddled with accusations of sexual assault, some of the most recent being death metal band Decapitated, With Confidence’s Luke Rockets and Brand New’s Jesse Lacey. Some continue to defend themselves, while others have released statements of apology. But apology or no apology, how are fans supposed to react when their favorite artist is revealed to be someone unworthy of admiration? Disbelief, repugnance and even guilt tarnish the work they loved or even grew up on. Even if a fan doesn’t know the artist personally, there is a certain amount of betrayal of trust. I thought you were a good person, but you were lying the whole time.

Questions begin to flood the mind: “Should I still listen to their songs?” “Am I doing something wrong by still liking their music?” We search for answers, but the water is murky. Ethically, we feel like we have to take a stance. Emotionally, we feel conflicted. It is hard to separate the artist from their work, especially in music when you hear the genuine voice of person, not an actor who is playing a part. The songs and the people behind them are interconnected.

But part of you is tied up in those songs, too. Brand New’s Deja Entendu might’ve been the album that got you through the toughest times of your life. It may have had a key role in shaping the person you are today. In that case, how do you abandon it at the drop of a hat?

You don’t.

It’s OK to listen to those songs that kept you company when you were alone. They’re a part of your story, and you’re allowed to keep that. "Maybe you won't continue to buy records or merch from the band, but do reclaim those songs as yours, not theirs. For future music (if there is any), you might turn a deaf ear. But to the past, keep your heart open. However, one fact remains: No matter how you decide to look at it or what stance you choose to take, the music you cherished will never be quite the same.