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Is Rex Orange County “MAKING TIME” to heal from a recent scandal? 

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Recently, musician, Alex O’Connor, known as Rex Orange County, released the rest of his tour dates after canceling his “Who Cares?” tour towards the end of 2022 due to sexual assault charges. In October 2022, O’Connor broke the internet after the news came out, dividing his fans, with some eager to protect his name and others willing to never hear from him again. With six charges made towards him by one accuser, O’Connor’s trial date was set for Jan. 3 this year.

As a big Rex fan, myself hearing the news took a toll on me, thinking your favorite artist might have committed one of your worst fears towards other women left me bawling to my best friend as to why “It’s not the same anymore”. Although the charges were dropped against O’Connor on Dec. 22, 2022, fans still did not believe he was completely innocent.

In his statement made on Instagram, O’Connor announced he was to cancel his tour for this year stating, “Due to unforeseen personal circumstances, I am having to spend some time at home this year”. So why is it he bounced right back into the game after the charges were dropped? On Feb. 27, O’Connor took to social media and posted a photo celebrating the first anniversary of his album “WHO CARES?” and announcing a one-night show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on March 10. So, it would mean that it took him 55 days from his original trial date to his announcement to let his fans and himself heal. 

When I started listening to Rex Orange County in 2017 after his album “Apricot Princess” was released, I would have never imagined how concerned and confused I would be about how O’Connor turned the next page from a heavyweight issue. Although, I will always strongly believe in victims first, because I know how horrifyingly common it is to have sexual abuse cases to be neglected or settled by personalities like O’Connors, I also believe that there are a lot of people who take advantage of the sensitivity to these cases and use it to ruin someone. In O’Connor’s case, video and testimonial evidence was proving the contradiction of the accusations being made. 

There must be some sort of resentment or guilt O’Connor must feel towards this, with his whole reputation tarnished. That is why I strongly believe he should have taken the rest of the year off for his mental health. The industry and internet will make it nearly impossible to have this erased from someone’s past. Is it even safe for him to actively travel around Europe with such hateful rhetoric toward him? Will he take extra precautions while being on stage for the whole tour? As much as I and other fans would like to go back to appreciate the music and performance that O’Connor would bring to the stage, there will always be a side to him that will be tainted by this. 

An example of a case where there have been circumstances in which someone’s life was instantly changed after being charged with abuse, was Johnny Depp back in 2016. After the news broke that Depp had been charged with domestic violence, he lost long-term partnerships and deals with companies such as Disney, which they dropped from his movie series “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Depp was strongly criticized and antagonized by the industry, affecting his career. In 2022 Depp later sued for the defamation made to his name and won with a ten million dollar settlement, according to the Guardian. 

I respect both sides to this story, but as a fan who was genuinely obsessed with this artist, it’s hard to see him risk his reputation and safety for fans who might still have a hard time wrapping their heads around the whole issue of it all. Is it that he was too eager to go back to the big stage, he had to go face to face with an audience, or did he genuinely have no remorse for the case and decided that his career was more valuable than what people were saying about him? It’s a one-in-a-million chance that he would be able to go back to the Rex, everyone knew him as. It just goes to show how there’s always a different side to every person and a façade to every public personality.  

Fatima Alvarado is the designer and may be reached atfnalvarado1@miners.utep.edu  

 

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About the Contributor
Fatima Alvarado
Fatima Alvarado, Designer
Fatima Alvarado is a sophomore at the University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in Communications with a focus in Marketing. She is the layout editor for the Prospector. She plans on pursuing her love in design in journalism and hopes to continue to learn more about working in the field of journalism.
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Is Rex Orange County “MAKING TIME” to heal from a recent scandal?