Over the course of life, our idols change from representations of our childlike innocence from superheroes to astronauts to someone we yearn to be based on a profession like Elon Musk or Gordon Ramsey. We get inspired by their stories, their diligence and their success. Although our idols motivate us to reach new heights, sometimes their actions go against our morals and cause us to reconsider our view and opinion of them.
MVHS students have seen their idols come and go, but for most of them, the change happened when their idol did something that went against their morals or values. The conflict suddenly becomes apparent to many: whether they should turn a blind eye or reconsider their opinion of the person.
Sophomore Audrey Luo: Ryan Lochte
Liar. Attention hog. Drama queen.
That was all sophomore Audrey Luo could hear at swim practice. The whispers and murmurs were starting to make her feel uncomfortable as her teammates gossiped about the latest scandal: Ryan Lochte.
Viewed as a role model by countless swimmers and fans, Lochte’s popularity dramatically fell during the summer of 2016 — the Rio Olympics. Lochte fabricated a story about being held at gunpoint by a group of men dressed as police when in reality, he and two other colleagues vandalized a bathroom and then security demanded money for the repair and drew out their guns at them.
“I think [Lochte] is a really good swimmer and he works really hard,” Luo said. “He was just one of those people who were more famous; he stood out because he was the partner to Michael Phelps and […] matched Michael Phelps in medals until Rio.”
As a competitive swimmer, Luo has always idolized Lochte because of his success and strong work ethic. Over the course of his career, Lochte won 12 Olympic medals and 51 international medals.
“Ever since that incident happened he has a bad [reputation] now and a lot of people dislike him for that,” Luo said. “There still people who still like him. He kind of broke the trust people had in him and people don’t really trust him anymore that much.”
In addition to losing respect, Lochte also lost all four of his major sponsors becuase they did not condone of his actions that tarnished his reputation, including Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren Corp, Airweave and Syneron Candela due to his actions.
The incident caused Luo to consider whether or not Lochte, someone she looked up to her entire life, was actually a good person.
“I guess I don’t idolize him as much anymore because I realized he could do bad things,” Luo said. “Obviously Lochte is still famous but I still kind of have doubts about if he is going to do something like that again.”
The feelings of doubt and uncertainty are what many fans face as they try to maneuver their own standpoints on Lochte. Lochte, however, has profusely apologized for his mistakes and continues to make amends. Luo recognizes this but still wonders if she should expect this type of behavior from him or if he is reformed.
Ultimately, his actions had broken Luo’s trust in him and his morals. She was inspired by his work ethic to train harder, but she now has to separate his personal life from his professional.
“I think it depends on how bad the things [idols] do is because only if it’s bad enough that it goes against your morals, you should consider: should you be idolizing that person as much if they really [did] that bad thing and it wasn’t just an accident?” Luo said. “But you know if you really idolize that person and they are making efforts to change what they did, then you should be able to forgive them a little bit.”
Senior Joshua John: XXXTentacion
Creative and talented. These were the first words that came into senior Joshua John’s mind as
Before learning of rapper XXXTentacion’s history of illegal actions, senior Joshua John thought of XXXTentacion, a rapper, as a creative and talented artist and often listened to his music. John never looked up to him as a person, but he had admired his music. However, this changed when John learned about XXXTentacion’s illegal actions.
In July 2016, XXXTentacion was charged with robbery and assault with a deadly weapon and in October was charged with an aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend.
XXXTentacion’s actions had violated John’s own morals because he considers himself a feminist.
“Mistreating women, I think that’s wrong and it’s time for us to respect women, and they’re [XXXTentacion and Chris Brown] not doing a good job of that,” John said.
Although John’s opinion and views on XXXTentacion did change, he still continues to listen to his music.
“I still listen to his music on occasion,” John said. “But I definitely have distanced myself from him just because I don’t agree with a lot of his ideals.”
John believes that it is important to realize when to stop admiring people. According to him, more and more people nowadays are turning a blind eye to their idols’ problems.
“That seems to be a trend these days […] you have a lot of people just do messed up stuff but they have hit songs or they’ve done something that makes people look up to them,” John said. “A lot of people just ignore whatever they’ve done. But at the same time you have to recognize that there is a limit.”
Personally, John trusts himself to judge right from wrong. If someone’s actions go against his own morals, John will use his own experience and guidance to distance himself from them.
From parental guidance and past lessons, Josh understands when the limit is crossed, whether the action contradicts his own beliefs or his own character.
“[In some cases], I would still listen to [someone’s] music because I enjoy it,” John said. “But at the same time, I don’t support them as a person.”
John believes that many celebrities have done controversial things, and so everyone has to make their own decisions when deciding how to deal with an idol’s negative actions.
John ultimately thinks the attention to an issue lies with the traction of the news, how many people have heard of it and how many are talking about it.
“It’s just about how much exposure that gets, John said. “In this case, these two cases [Chris Brown and XXX] got a lot more exposure than others, so a lot of people pay attention to it.”
When cases attract a lot of publicity, fans are often exposed to shocking information about their idols. It’s hard to listen to negative things about someone you admire so much, but according to John, this is vital to understanding an idol as a whole.
“I think it’s good that [personal and professional life are] getting meshed into one now because people can really see who these people really are,” John said.
Freshman Shashank Adloori: Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert.
Freshman Shashank Adloori hears his music everywhere — while doing his homework, throughout school and even in his own home.
Lil Uzi Vert, an American hip hop artist is known for rapping about real-life problems and has collaborated with Migos, a popular hip-hop trio, to create the summer hit song “Bad and Boujee”. Adloori came to love Uzi through his debut song, “Money Longer,” approximately two years ago. Through Uzi’s talents with beats and words, Adloori slowly started to admire him.
Although Adloori likes Uzi’s music, he doesn’t always agree with Uzi’s actions, like fleeing from the police on Dec. 8, 2016. Uzi is allegedly fascinated with the devil has even posted the number 666 and an upside cross , both symbols of the devil, on his Instagram..
Some of his more blatant actions involve wearing an upside down cross, a symbol often associated with the devil, as a necklace and on his T-shirt to the Billboard awards.
Although Adloori is Hindu, Uzi’s religious beliefs to do not contradict any of his beliefs or influence his overall image of him.
“I just listen to him, his music,” Adloori said. “His personal life can be his own life; you can’t force someone to like someone or [act in a certain way].”
Adloori believes that Uzi’s personal life is irrelevant to the side of him that fans see.
“People only listen to him because he is an artist,” Adloori said. “If people liked him for his own personality, then everyone’s views will change.”
Sophomore Rachel Millar: Johnny Depp
Ever since sophomore Rachel Millar saw “Pirates of the Caribbean” six years ago, she’s idolized actor Johnny Depp. Millar is actively involved in drama, which fuels her dream of pursuing an acting career, and Depp always stood out to her amongst other actors.
“I idolize him because what he does, his acting, it’s always different,” Millar says. “He varies a lot and he has such a great range, and that’s kind of what I want to do.”
Although famous for his witty character Jack Sparrow, Depp has been accused of abusing his ex-wife, irresponsibly spending huge amounts of money, being hard to work with on set and using drugs and alcohol.
Learning about some of his more negative actions put Millar in a precarious situation. Although she didn’t completely discard him, she did reevaluate her image of Depp as an idol.
“He’s a talented human being but he’s not a generally good human being if those things are true,” Millar said. “I think that both of those aspects have to be pretty big for me to idolize someone — they have to be a generally good person and have good intentions.”
Millar admits that it is hard to hear negative things about one’s idol, and often times the more personal connection results in a tendency to overlook an idol’s shortcomings.
“If it was someone I didn’t necessarily like or didn’t know and I heard those things, I would immediately be like, ‘Oh that’s an awful person. Crazy. He abused his wife and that’s awful,’” Millar said. “But I think because [...] I idolize him, I might be a little bit more willing to forgive, which is conflicting.”
According to Millar, being more forgiving towards an idol is natural, but it is important to understand when to draw the line. Millar objectively had to step back from the situation and reconsider her opinions on Depp. She believes it is vital to acknowledge when an idol’s actions go against one’s personal morals and values.
Although turning a blind-eye to an idol’s negative actions is a common problem for many, Millar explains, it is also quite possible to turn to the other end of the spectrum and get too wrapped up in negatives.
Millar experienced this herself with singer Taylor Swift, who she had closely identified with her entire life. The two share many similarities, such as their blonde hair and body type. However, when Swift was in the middle of a controversy with Kim Kardashian, Millar found it hard to separate others’ opinions from her own.
“When all the news came out about her with Kim Kardashian, everyone hated her,” Millar said. “That was such a group mentality that I was like, ‘I hate her too,’ and I don’t think I ever really did … [but] that group mentality is too much to handle.”
Overall, Millar thinks the dilemma of how to act when your idol does something against your morals is up to the individual. Personally, she thinks idolizing someone who did something wrong is acceptable as long as one can recognize and remember their own values.
“I think that it’s still okay to look up to parts of them,” Millar said. “It’s that conflict of whether [you’re] willing to overlook those things and just appreciate [the good] part without focusing on the bad things.”