What’s More Powerful? #MeToo or Capitalism?


My favorite singer has had a really rough year or so. Ryan Adams is a soulful singer who honestly is a wreck in his personal life; it’s part of what makes his craft as moving as it is. Recently, he was #MeToo’d; a pretty devastating piece appeared in the New York Times about Ryans’ manipulation and cruelty towards women, including his ex-wife Mandy Moore. The Times reported,

Equal parts punk-rock folk hero and romantic troubadour, Adams, 44, has 16 albums and seven Grammy nominations to his name. He has overseen music by Willie Nelson, written a Tim McGraw hit and recorded with John Mayer.

He has also taken a special interest in the trajectory of female artists, especially younger ones, championing them onstage, across social media and in the studio, where his stamp of approval can jump-start careers.

[The F.B.I. has opened an inquiry into Ryan Adams’s explicit communications with an underage fan.]

Some now say that Adams’s rock-star patronage masked a darker reality. In interviews, seven women and more than a dozen associates described a pattern of manipulative behavior in which Adams dangled career opportunities while simultaneously pursuing female artists for sex. In some cases, they said, he would turn domineering and vengeful, jerking away his offers of support when spurned, and subjecting women to emotional and verbal abuse, and harassment in texts and on social media. The accounts have been corroborated by family members or friends who were present at the time, as well as by correspondence from Adams reviewed by The New York Times.

The Times piece was instantly destructive, and fans of the artist have watched him spiral and lose his label as a result. His posts have become increasingly desperate as his entire career continues to vanish.

On Adams’ social media, he’s been doing jam sessions at night, playing his hits, and then selling custom-designed and limited-edition t-shirts to supplement his income. They’re selling like hotcakes, usually selling out within hours. His Instagram Live jam sessions garner thousands of views each, sometimes tens of thousands. If his other fans are like me, they haven’t stopped streaming his music. That’s not to say that most of us approve of how he behaved in his personal life, but that doesn’t detract from our continued appreciation for his craft.

As with countless examples over the last year, starting with the actual President of the United States of America, it’s been terrifying watching how someone can be “depersoned” by large companies with a great deal of power. While Adams is still on social media (unlike President Trump), he was depersoned in every way by the #MeToo movement, which has removed all of his avenues for making enough money to even live in a rental home. This is an artist who sells out venues and has a proven ability to move albums, and yet, the recording industry has decided to forgo all of that income because of his personal problems. There’s something deeply troubling watching a for-profit company decide to be less profitable to appease a narrative set by a mob.

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  1. David Foster Member
    David Foster

    “There’s something deeply troubling watching a for-profit company decide to be less profitable to appease a narrative set by a mob.”

    Agree.  If someone were to file a shareholder lawsuit against one of these companies, asserting that they have violated their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders (owners) by putting the private political & social beliefs of executives of revenue & profit, their defense would probably be:

    “We needed to do (whatever they did) in order to maintain and improve our reputation with a certain segment of the population, which segment is growing over time and from which we will draw many of our future customers and most of our future employees.”

    Whether this is *really* their motivation, though, is very open to question.


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  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Some would say separating the music from the person is appropriate, like Wagner and his anti-Semitism. But in a sense, Adams is the music. I don’t know of him, so I don’t have to make that decision.

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  3. RufusRJones Member

    Bethany Mandel: it’s been terrifying watching how someone can be “depersoned” by large companies

    I heard Ben Schapiro on Dennis Prager about this. Big companies are constantly wiping out risks that they can’t profit from. They only want to take controlled risks that have upside. This is an easy thing for them to do, even though Shapiro says that the evidence is they should just tell these me too people to take a hike. It’s just not that hard to get rid of them. I forget all of the details. 

    Shapiro isn’t as entertaining as regular talk radio, and he’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose, but he is super educational. He has a mind like a steel trap and he gets every single sentence and word right when he talks. 

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  4. EJHill Podcaster

    No one person is that big anymore. The audience is too fragmented. Bill Cosby was untouchable until he wasn’t. Do you think Michael Jackson would have survived without a major fall?

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  5. MarciN Member

    To some extent, it has always been the case that the public and corporations have shunned people they felt were unethical or immoral for one reason or another. Ingrid Bergman got treated very badly:

    Bergman had greatly admired two films by Rossellini. She wrote to him in 1949, expressing her admiration and suggesting that she make a film with him. As a consequence, she was cast in Stromboli. During the production, they began an affair, and Bergman became pregnant with their first child.

    This affair caused a huge scandal in the United States, where it led to Bergman being denounced on the floor of the United States Senate. On 14 March 1950, Senator Edwin C. Johnson insisted that his once-favorite actress “had perpetrated an assault upon the institution of marriage,” and went so far as to call her “a powerful influence for evil.” “The purity that made people joke about Saint Bergman when she played Joan of Arc,” one writer commented, “made both audiences and United States senators feel betrayed when they learned of her affair with Roberto Rossellini.” Art Buchwald, permitted to read her mail during the scandal, reflected in an interview, “Oh, that mail was bad, ten, twelve, fourteen huge mail bags. ‘Dirty whore.’ ‘Bitch.’ ‘Son of a bitch.’ And they were all Christians who wrote it.”

    Ed Sullivan chose not to have her on his show, despite a poll indicating that the public wanted her to appear. However, Steve Allen, whose show was equally popular, did have her as a guest, later explaining “the danger of trying to judge artistic activity through the prism of one’s personal life”. Spoto notes that Bergman had, by virtue of her roles and screen persona, placed herself “above all that”. She had played a nun in The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), and a virgin saint in Joan of Arc (1948). Bergman later said, “People saw me in Joan of Arc, and declared me a saint. I’m not. I’m just a woman, another human being.”

    As a result of the scandal, Bergman returned to Italy, leaving her first husband and went through a publicized divorce and custody battle for their daughter. Bergman and Rossellini were married on 24 May 1950.


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  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)

    As usual, I’m conflicted when I see a report like this.

    On the one hand, I think that all sex outside of marriage is morally wrong.  So if someone gets in trouble for engaging in such activity, I’m inclined not to care.

    On the other hand, I see quite a bit of hypocrisy in the current #MeToo moral code.  It seems to believe that sex is just fine, between just about anyone at any time, unless there’s been some vague type of “pressure” or “manipulation.”  I don’t find it to be an internally consistent moral system.

    At the moment, I lean toward the “I don’t care” position.

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  7. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and


    • #7
  8. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    At the moment, I lean toward the “I don’t care” position.

    I have two questions that might help me decide how many f**ks I should give about this story:

    1. How much money did Ryan Adams earn between his solo debut in 2000 and his #metoo moment in 2019?
    2. Where the heck did all that money go?

    I wager that the answers to those questions would result in me giving zero f**ks.  I am far more concerned about the mob destroying the lives of kulak cake bakers, and pizza-makers, and convenience store owners than I am about mass media millionaires and billionaires who don’t have enough sense to mind their P’s and Q’s.

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