Serious cases shouldn’t turn into a media circus

Peyton Callanan

One of the biggest superhero movies of the summer is already having to fight off negative press and it hasn’t even opened yet.

Bryan Singer, the director of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” has had to drop out of all promotion for his highly anticipated mutant smorgasbord sequel due to accusations that he took advantage of a minor back in 1999. The alleged victim, Michael Egan, filed a suit against Singer last week and then held a press conference this week naming three more men he claimed where part of a Hollywood sex ring that took advantage of young actors trying to break into the business.

Though Egan’s claims shouldn’t be taken lightly and he deserves to have his voice heard, the timing of the lawsuit and the press conference could cause this case to turn into a complete media circus. Issues as serious as the sexual abuse of a minor shouldn’t be exploited by the media but there seems to be a troublesome trend developing with these headline-grabbing cases.

Back in February The New York Times published and open letter by Dylan Farrow, the adoptive daughter of actress Mia Farrow and director Woody Allen, where she spoke publicly for the first time about the headline-grabbing accusations her father faced in 1993 for abusing her. In the letter she recounted her experience with Allen and then went on to express her disapproval in fans of his work and actors that continue to collaborate with him despite the fact that Allen was never prosecuted and maintains his innocence on the matter.

Farrow’s letter brought the controversy back into the public eye over 20 years later and it continue to grab headlines for weeks. News outlets everywhere were revisiting the story and clamoring for details and opinions from Farrow’s various siblings and the celebrities she name-dropped in the letter. Despite all of the rampant media attention, no new progress seemed to be made regarding the accusations.

Both alleged victims, like all victims of sexual abuse, deserve to have a chance to seek justice, media outlets take these stories and scrounge for any sort of buzz worthy headline complete with every famous name they can possibly connect to the story. Its also easy to question the motives behind the claims because they feature such high profile names and so much time has passed since the alleged abuse. Treating cases of sexual abuse like tabloid gossip detracts from the seriousness of the issue and does a disservice to sexual abuse victims who have been brave enough to speak out.