This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.
Last year, I wrote an article about Brock Turner, the “Stanford athlete” who walked out of prison having only served three months of his six-month sentence.
This was a case of a man who took advantage of a vulnerable woman behind a dumpster at 1 am, who violated her as she lay unconscious underneath him, who was considerably less drunk than she was. And yet, he received a mere 6 months for his crime. He was cut some slack because he was such a talented swimmer, because prison would interrupt his studies and ruin his bright future. He given a break because he is a privileged white male who benefits from a morally corrupt system.
That was not what angered me the most. What angered me the most is how he was labelled in the media. Not as a convicted offender, or a criminal. He was the kid who missed out on an excellent future as a celebrated athlete. The poor little Stanford student who made a “mistake.” Why should he miss out on having a good career just because he was found fingering an intoxicated girl without her consent? After all, he’s just having some fun, right?
“After federal authorities took over his case, they realised the sheer number of illegal images he possessed”
And now, we have Mark Salling who’s simply being referred to as the “Glee Actor”. Salling’s history with being in possession of child pornography isn’t something new. He was arrested in his LA home after investigators were tipped off by an ex-girlfriend. He was released on bail for $20,000. After federal authorities took over his case, they realised the sheer number of illegal images he possessed: nearly 50,000 images and videos of children between the ages of three to five, and an additional 4,000 pictures and 160 videos.
Following his trial, he has taken a plea deal, and now will serve between four and seven years, avoiding what could have been a 20-year sentence. After his release, he will be under strict supervision for 20 years, avoid places where children gather and have no contact with anyone under the age of 18.
Despite his monstrous actions, he is still a “star”. He is still that dude with the mohawk and “bad-boy football player” from Glee. For some media outlets, his background, his net worth, and his dating history are still very much important, but his conviction and crime come last. Stills from scenes during his work on Glee and promotional pictures from the show are present within articles, coming across as celebratory of his work, instead of condemning him for his crime.
“I am thoroughly frustrated at the slack white male criminals are cut in the hands of the media”
I cannot emphasise this enough – I am thoroughly frustrated at the slack white male criminals are cut in the hands of the media. I am sick and tired of their crime not being the sole focus. I am irritated that their personal wealth and ex-partners are given the same amount of importance as their crime.
I wonder when mainstream news outlets will stop putting glorified words such as star in headlines for crimes committed by white men and just get straight to the point: “Sex offender Mark Salling convicted on count of possessing child pornography.” His celebrity status, wealth or talents shouldn’t matter in front of his crime. All that matters is the wrong he did, and how (if) it is being righted.