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Friday, April 01, 2005

American Idiot??

Well, my friends, it seems as if we have a little situation on our hands. I was just starting to get into this season of "American Idol" after slacking with season 3. Of course, just when I start to enjoy something, an element of it goes terribly wrong. I have officially began my AI boycott...unless the country sees things my way.

Thanks to this, it was discovered that contestant Scott Savol has some issues. In 2001, he not only threatened to kidnap his 3-week old son, but he also threw a phone at his girlfriend, and mother of his child, so hard into her chest that the phone broke. His girlfriend was successful in getting a restraining order on behalf of herself and the child. Good job, Mr. Savol. What a great guy.

As if Savol's actions weren't bad enough, AI producers have taken it one step further down the chute by saying that because he was "honest about his past" and "showed remorse", he isn't going to be asked to leave the show.

Watch out folks, I'm pulling out the soap box. Being an advocate for victims of domestic violence, I am appalled that a show like AI would allow such a situation to remain ignored. If Savol had killed his girlfriend, would the situation be the same? If he were also honest about that and told producers that he was sorry? Some things just can't be forgotten.

Another concern is that the target audience of AI is obviously females, young females, in fact. By allowing Savol to remain on the show, the seriousness of the incident is letting these girls know that violence against women isn't a serious enough crime when it comes to talent. Is a violent man really the person that you believe should be given the chance to become an IDOL for these girls or anyone?

If you recall, two past AI contestants, Corey Clark and Jared Andrews, were dismissed from the show after it was discovered they had assault charges against them. Frenchie Davis was given the boot after it was discovered she had appeared topless on an adult website while she was in college. This, of course, was her choice and it didn't harm anyone. Still, if these three people were not seen as fit "Idols" for the public, then what is Savol still doing living in the big house and getting weekly airtime? I'm quite certain that if you asked Clark, Andrews, and Davis, they are all sorry for what they did in the past just as much as Savol.

Scott's actions are much more serious than just having an "anger management" issue. Abusers don't have "anger management" problems. They are fully aware of what they are doing. Note that when abusers get angry, they don't just punch the first person they see on the street, they direct that anger and violence toward their partners and children. This is clearly a choice that is being made. No one is forcing them to injure another person.

Unfortunately the producers of the show and FOX aren't seeing this as a serious enough problem to make him deal with the consequences of his poor decisions. Not only is this incredibly scary, it's also incredibly dangerous and incredibly unfair. It's unfair to all of those others who deserve to have his spot in the competition and it's unfair to all of those victims of domestic violence because they are being shown that those who inflict pain upon them, can still be an "American Idol." Personally speaking, I can honestly say that I hope to God that my children never ever idolize someone like Savol. When I think of the word "idol", I think of someone who is a positive role model, respectful, interested in doing what's best for themselves and others, and someone who certainly has earned the title and worthy enough to represent what it stands for.

So, what happens next? Yes, letters will be written to American Idol producers, FOX, perhaps even Savol himself by disappointed fans, victims of dating violence, even staff members who work for domestic violence agencies. Will these letters be enough to make a difference? Every week Seacrest tells us that the decision is up to us, will America do the right thing this week? Will the news of his violent actions make a difference? I suppose we shall find out on Wednesday...

Scott Savol, your next American Idol??


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