The With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility panel took place in Panel Room A on the Sunday of Summer in the City 2019. Moderated by Lucy Moon, it featured Hazel Hayes, Jack Howard, Taha Khan and Nathan Zed.
After introductions, Lucy started the discussion by asking panellists whether they believe that all creators have to be role models.
Jack kicked things off my answering in the affirmative, as everyone is inspired by someone in the public eye.
“I think that if you’re doing anything publicly, there is an inherent role model title that just comes with it and you need to accept that,” he elaborated, saying “You have a bunch of eyes on you, especially on the internet where it’s a bunch of impressionable people.”
Nathan agreed, adding that it’s important to consider your audience. “At a certain point it is important to look at what you do and decide whether you’re doing a good job of being a good person,” he explained, “but you also have to look at what your audience is. If your audience is mainly kids, I think it is more important to be careful.”
Moving the discussion on, Lucy asked whether the panellists think they should use their platforms to discuss issues that may be personal to them.
Hazel pointed out that you don’t have to necessarily explicitly talk about issues to deal with them responsibly. “Just by doing something, just by being out there, by representing and being a good person, you’re kind of doing it, without having to explicitly talk about it all the time, if that’s not what your thing is.”
Jack agreed with this, adding that “being myself is enough.”
“For a long time, he didn’t want to talk about it, he wasn’t ready, he was still going through the journey that he was going through. He said that he wasn’t ready to speak about it,” he said, adding that “he’s been through this whole journey and is now able to talk about it.”
Taking this further, Nathan brought up the idea of documenting the journey within mental health. “I really found that it’s not going to be the end, I was just trying to get to a point where I get it and now I can talk about it.
“You can talk about where you are right now, but I do agree that if you’re really going through it, the internet might not be the best place to just let everybody know about it.”
Hazel added to this point that “healing isn’t linear.”
The panel closed with audience questions and an audience member asked how the panellists feel about separating the content from the creator.
Lucy started off by saying that “if it’s a personal experience and that creator has treated you badly, you’re naturally going to stop enjoying their content. But I think a lot of the time when something comes out online you’re not seeing a full picture.”
Taha also mentioned that “You vote with your views, however, if they’re a bad person and you were a fan of them, you don’t have to feel bad for being their fan.”
Hazel brought up the difference in this case between actors and online creators, saying that in the case of the latter, “by clicking, you’re financing and supporting.”
Photos by Jasmine Greene.
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