Separating the Art from the Artist

Vivian Whalen


Vivian is in her final year of undergraduate studies at Ryerson University with a major in professional communication and double minor in politics and public relations. She has remained on the Dean’s List throughout her years of study and is passionate about social issues and community. For the 2021-2022 school year, Vivian was elected as the Vice President of the Professional Communication Course Union (PCCU) at Ryerson University, and had previously held the position as the Second Year Representative during the 2019-2020 school year. Currently, she is a research assistant for Dr. Harald Bauder and Dr. Omar Lujan within the Urban Sanctuary, Migrant Solidarity and Hospitality in Global Perspective Project. This year, she is also one of 30 students in the U.S Consulate General Toronto’s Next Generation Leaders Network. In 2018, she was handpicked by Peter Mansbridge to be the recipient of his Innovation Award & Scholarship.

Research Summary

The purpose of this research study is to more closely investigate issues of morality and public values in relation to the consumption of music from male musical artists deemed “controversial” for their personal actions, namely domestic violence and sexual assault. The research centres around the idea of whether or not supporting a musical artist through purchasing or listening to their music is considered to be condoning the artists’ actions. Essentially, the study will shed light on public opinion in regards to the idea of “separating the art from the artist”. It will also paint a clearer picture on why people may justify listening to controversial artists, and if there are any patterns or consistencies with peoples’ reasoning.


music, celebrity culture, musicians, sociology, domestic violence, sexual assault, music consumption

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