The content, quality and quirks of an author’s output should never be confused with the author’s personal character strengths, their own foibles and flaws. Except, perhaps, when they should be.
Some authors are absolute arseholes but produce some classic works. Should this colour our perceptions on the work itself?
Should Roman Polanski’s personal history – the drugging and anal rape of an under-age girl – allow us to watch The Ghost Writer or Rosemary’s Baby without taking part in the crime? Orson Scott Card has a disturbing degree of homophobia – can sci-fans read his work with a clear conscience? Dave Sim, creator of the long-running Cerebus, has had some profoundly misogynistic utterances in his time, and now makes people sign ‘Dave Sim Is Not a Misogynist And I Won’t Call Him One’ contracts before they speak to him. Is he right, wrong, somewhere in between, or just a bit of a wanker?
Does taking part in the art, by consuming the media that they produce, condone their work? Are we active or passive participants?