Dear Fans: Don’t Sexually Harass Celebrities

Credit: Billboard https://edit.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/7801140/harry-styles-one-direction-debuts-no-1-billboard-200-albums-chart

Today a video emerged of a fan at a Harry Styles concert sexually harassing him while he was performing. And while the “crotch-grab” might seem harmless, it should be taken more seriously. Here’s why:

Obviously this isn’t the first time fans treated their idols disrespectfully. Sexual objectification, especially with younger artists and bands, is sadly still very common. This means that musicians such as Harry Styles have to be more careful with their interactions. This incident has yet again sparked the conversation about the sexualisation of famous people.

It’s always a small percentage of a fan base that is rude and does not respect boundaries, but it is this percentage that sets back the opportunities for the majority of genuine fans to connect with artists. More often, this kind of behavior starts online. Sending inappropriate tweets to your favourite musician can be entertaining, but you should always be aware of how it could affect them.

For example, the so-called “stan culture” that’s very much alive right now enables people to be crazy about someone and glorify them to an unrealistic extent. It goes as far as objectifying young children, which is awful. Not only does it kickstart this kind of obsessive, protective behaviour toward normal people, it also makes it feel acceptable.

The distance between bigger artists and supporters is expanding, and incidents like this only further show why celebrities are hesitant toward being close with their fans once they reach a certain popularity. The moral stand on how a celebrity should act in this kind of situation is still unclear. Should artists be prepared for this behaviour and expect it? Is it required for them to accept this? Should the fans feel like they’re entitled to do these things, because they support these artists and “know them”?

I don’t think so. Celebrities are vulnerable like everyone else and deserve to be treated with human decency. It is important that we don’t put these celebrities on a pedestal simply for being in the spotlight. The only thing celebrities can do in these situations is to shut the harassment down immediately and address the issue. After all, it is up to those fans to know that they cannot touch anyone without their consent.

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