Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Edward Furlong comes to Sydney...or not.

For those of you outside Australia, Supanova is about the closest equivalent we have to the San Diego ComicCon. It's nowhere near as big, and has nowhere near as many stars, but we're essentially an island in the middle of nowhere, so we take what we can get. I personally LOVE going to Supanova - I've been faithfully every time it hit Sydney for about four years now, and have had a ton of fun every time, especially with the cosplayers.

Every year I promise myself I'll get organised earlier, and every year I fail miserably. I realise the con is on the weekend before, and have to scramble to get my crap together. But not this year! THIS year I managed to remember to not only get my cosplay planned out ahead of time (I haven't started on it yet - let's be serious) but also check the guests and the date for the Sydney show MONTHS ahead of time.

While doing this research, I discovered that Edward Furlong was among the guests for the Sydney leg of  Supanova. I remember thinking, "Hunh, I didn't know he was still around," and promptly forgetting about it until the organisers announced this week that he wouldn't be able to make it "given the news of recent times." I had no idea what this recent news was, so I did a quick Google. Turns out Edward Furlong can't make the con because he's going to jail. For violating his probation. For domestic violence. And despite the judge taking into account his long standing issues with addiction to drugs and alcohol and offering him a stint in rehab, he chose jail instead.

I then did some more reading and realised this is actually just the latest in a string of three convictions for domestic violence, against three separate women. By then, my face looked like this.

I'm pretty unimpressed by the organisers of Supanova inviting a repeat domestic abuse offender to a pop culture convention - partially because it's sold as a "family" event, and he's not exactly family friendly. But also because cons aren't really known for being all that friendly to women in the first place - they are getting much better, and Supanova is certainly much more comfortable for me than the average LAN party. However, the last thing women who want to attend need is the organisers holding up someone known for (allegedly) beating the tar out of women as an example. It also probably wasn't the smartest business decision - I'm sure way back when they first booked him, they didn't KNOW he was going to end up in prison. But it didn't exactly come out of the blue either. As I said, this was his THIRD domestic violence charge, and he has been struggling with drug and alcohol problems quite publicly for years. 

Cocaine's a hell of a drug.
On their Facebook page the organisers of Supanova defended their initial invitation by pointing out that "many celebs have had charges over their careers," so it would be unfair to exclude Furlong just because he had some charges pending. Not the most wholehearted statement of support I've ever seen. It's true that many celebrities have been charged for various crimes - in the documentary about the making of Cry Baby, "It Came From...Baltimore!", the cast joke about how there was only one person on set who hadn't been in trouble with the law, and that was the actress playing the good girl, Amy Locane. (Of course, Amy made up for this later on) However, the organisers statement seems to handwave over what the charges were actually FOR, and paints all charges against celebrities as harmless misunderstandings. I don't care for this. Being arrested for having a joint in your car is not the same as being arrested for beating up your wife. Being taken into custody for playing your music too loudly and being black is not the same as having your baby test positive to cocaine after spending time with you. Not all charges are equal, and I don't care for the implication that they are, ESPECIALLY if we're talking about someone with a history of violence against women in an environment where it's already challenging for women to be seen as people in their own right, rather than oddities to be ogled or reviled. Domestic violence is a shitty, shitty thing (from any gender) and those who perpetrate it shouldn't be rewarded. 

However, this has also set off a complicated train of thought in my head, full of 'buts' and 'what ifs'.

I think inviting Furlong at this particular point was a big mistake - he has made no public apology whatsoever for any of his previous actions towards his partners, nor indeed any public acknowledgement of the previous accusations leveled at him. (That I could find - please correct me if you know of any) In order to forgive and forget the things he has been accused of, it would be helpful to have him at least stand up and say, "Hitting your girlfriend is a shitty thing to do." But he hasn't. When you're not even as apologetic as Chris Brown about previous shitty behavior, you really have to take a long hard look at yourself.

Chris Brown and his tattoo which totally does not look like
a woman who has been beaten up in anyway, honest.
But, if Furlong WAS to apologise, how long before he should be allowed to appear at cons, in movies, etc? I mean, it seems unlikely he's going to actually do it any time soon, but for the sake of discussion let's imagine. How long should he be exiled for his behavior before he can be welcomed back into society? If he apologised tomorrow, should he be welcome at Supanova next year? The year after? Never? 

Let's look at a similar example of public bad behavior and charges laid, which has ended up quite differently to the way it looks like Furlong will. Fashion designer John Galliano (pictured above) said some horrible, HORRIBLE things in a bar in Paris 2011, while apparently very drunk. He was promptly fired and sent into professional exile for the next two years, which he apparently spent largely in rehab. But when he got a new job, there was still a lot of criticism leveled at his new employer, Oscar de la Renta, for giving him a second chance many didn't feel he deserved. I wonder how long these critics feel he should have to pay for his bad behavior - two years seems like a long time, especially in a fast moving industry like fashion. Of course, I'm not entirely sold on the idea that he should have gotten off so easily - while he was charged with anti-semitism, he didn't actually serve any time or even pay any fine. Galliano's behavior is a bit different to the sort of thing Furlong has been charged with - while what Galliano said was abhorrent, he did actually just SAY horrible things rather than say them with his fists, or threaten to have other people say them with THEIR fists. But if Galliano can be exiled for two years, during which he apologised publicly and went through extensive rehab, as punishment for saying unacceptable words, how long should Furlong be exiled for unacceptable actions?
Really? You're a fashion designer? I NEVER would
have guessed.
I also wonder if celebrities should necessarily have to be accountable to their public for their private behavior. Rihanna (pictured above) has said on several occasions she has no interest in being a role model, despite being so much in the public eye, and I can certainly understand her point of view on that. Just because she makes songs that people like doesn't mean she's someone little girls should look up to, and I don't know if she should necessarily have to be. But is it actually possible to be a celebrity without being a role model of some sort, wittingly or no? I'm not really convinced that you can - and if you can't, surely you should try and be the best role model possible? But then, who can live under that sort of pressure all the time?
No, I'm not going to comment on her getting back together with Chris Brown.
I don't have any concrete answers for this whole tangled mess. I think it's awful that Furlong (allegedly) behaved so badly towards his partners and his child, but I don't know if he should have to apologise to the public for that either. I'm really curious to hear your input on this, dear readers - what do you think? Should Furlong have to apologise publicly? If he does, should he be allowed to pick up the tattered shred of his career, or should he be sidebarred for life? Is it possible to be a celebrity, and not a role model? Hit me with your thoughts!


  1. the news spread that springs to mind is married man Tiger Woods who had wooed the hearts of many a woman..of many very attractive much younger women..and had to publically apologise. When really if your average male was able to pull that off would be all high fives and back slaps at the local pub.

    1. Hmm, I don't know if that's quite the same. I'd like to think that people wouldn't congratulate a friend who was cheating on their partner repeatedly, be they celebrity or not.

    2. But I do agree that it's not totally clear cut whether he should have had to apologize publicly for quite private behavior.

  2. Edward Furlong's life is private so his apoligies should go to the ones he hurt not the media.
    He does not owe you anything. You are not known to him. You are not known to any celebrity so don't take it so personally.
    Why don't you write a blog on supporting people who are sick with addictions and baddle depression and suicide everyday rather than discussing your opinion on something you have no
    concrete proof of.

  3. Edward Furlong's life is private so his apoligies should go to the ones he hurt not the media.
    He does not owe you anything. You are not known to him. You are not known to any celebrity so don't take it so personally.
    Why don't you write a blog on supporting people who are sick with addictions and baddle depression and suicide everyday rather than discussing your opinion on something you have no
    concrete proof of.

  4. Edward Furlong doesn't owe anyone jack shit. Hell .. I wouldn't want him to apologise publicly.. needless humiliation for a man who already has too much on his hands..It's a privet matter. Public apology is for cretins who are only sorry they got caught and now that everyone hates them beg for public sympathy just to cover their ass. Why do you want him to apologise? To whom? To you? The public?? Unless he gave you a black eye.. you can't expect an apology from him. He may not even believe he did anything wrong.. why would you force an apology out of someone?


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