David Bowie

David Bowie performs in Hilversum, Netherlands on February 13th, 1974. Image by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Today, on the day of David Bowie's death, people have been discussing an upsetting issue: Early in his career, David Bowie statutorily raped young teen girls—the underage "baby groupies" who were an open secret in the rock scene of the 1970s. This was despite the age of consent being 18 in California. (Their scene was the Sunset Strip.)

It's difficult to receive this information while mourning Bowie's death. It's particularly complex to negotiate for those fans who are aware of the complexities of rape culture and who have made a conscious decision to believe women.

The idea that Bowie is a rapist (albeit a statutory one) places him within a broader behind-the-scenes pattern that is not uncommon enough among male stars. Bill Cosby. Roman Polanski. Woody Allen. Mike Tyson. R. Kelly. Michael Jackson. John Lennon. The list of famous men who have raped or battered women or children seems endless. Though these cases vary in significant ways, they all reflect the same underlying problems: criminally predatory behavior and entitlement in men's celebrity culture.

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