EDITORIAL: So Ashamed of Mark Salling!

I am so disgusted, disappointed, and angry at Mark Salling!

Two days ago on December 30, the Glee Fandom, along with the rest of the Internet was shocked to the core when actor Mark Salling, who played the character of Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman was arrested for possession of child pornography.

Following the report of an ex girlfriend, authorities exercised a search warrant on his home and found over a thousand (some reports are saying 2,000) images of children “significantly younger than 15-16 in sexually compromising situations” on his computer. [ Update: they were actually under ten years old, that was just the legal wording of the charge. ] His other electronic devices were also confiscated to be searched. Typical of celebrities, he has already been released until his january court date. He was arrested amount 9AM local time and posted bail around 2:30 PM the same day. Since there are more than 600 image, he is facing 5 years in prison or more.

Obviously we were all shocked and horrified. Any sane person would be. Regardless of your position on the adult variety, I think we can all agree that child pornography is terrible. And let’s be clear here, these young CHILDREN were indeed victimized. This isn’t a case of some almost 18 child being victimized and posing for porn. These were someone’s sons and daughters, little brothers or sisters, nieces or nephews who were taken advantage of to fulfill this sick man’s (and probably other’s) disgusting fetish. We don’t know yet what role if any Mark played in the production of these images, but it doesn’t really matter. Regardless of who actually created the images, everyone involved, even if they were just end users, are culpable for this terrible crime.

The Glee Fandom had had its share of drama over the years, but other than the death of Cory Monteith two and a half years ago, I don’t think anything has been so devastating.

By doing this Mark has ruined the enjoyment of Glee for many fans; at least temporary. People have the habit of blurring the lines between the actor and the characters they play. Mark isn’t Puck, and Puck isn’t Mark. But Mark is the one who brought Puck to life, and for many the difference is minimal.

We as a society tend to idolize actors and athletes, and with Social Media it’s easy to to fool ourselves into believing that we actually know what the person is really like. But we don’t. We only know what the character is like and the public image that they project for all of us to see. But that isn’t who the really are. When something happens to make us realize this, it’s extremely confusing and hurtful because we feel betrayed.

Across the Internet the reaction to this has been mostly that of condemning the actor and his deeds. Many fans say that they can never watch glee again after this. Most people think he should be going to prison, and it’s almost certain that he will be unless there are some very very extenuating circumstances.

But some fans of actually leapt to defend him. They attacked the ex-girlfriend who turned him in, accusing her of planting them on his computer, reporting him as an act of revenge, or whatever. We don’t know what her story is. We don’t know how long it took her to report what she saw and how long after the report happened that he was arrested. But we should be thanking her, because now this pervert will be taken off the streets and the cyber crimes division will follow the electronic trail back to the source or the images and those responsible can be taken off the streets and punished as well. Investigation of things like this are very meticulous and you can know that they would not have acted until they were absolutely sure that they could build a case against him.

Other fans make excuses for him by saying the fact that he did not actually create the images (as far as we know) somehow makes him less guilty. Again this is a fallacy. Everyone involved in this type of thing is equally guilty, because the people who produced the images would not be doing so if there wasn’t a demand for it from people like Salling. These children will have the emotional damage caused by being sexually victimized at such a young age follow them for the rest of their lives.

Glee is over, and we have yet to get any kind of response from anyone associated with the show as of this writing. But it’s pretty safe to say that if the show was still in production that Salling would have been fired, and that he’s effectively tanked his career. Crimes against children are considered particularly heinous. He’s become an embarrassment and no one in Hollywood wants to be associated with that type of embarrassment.

In the fanfiction world readers and writers of stories that feature his character are all having mixed feelings. Some are able to keep the distinction between the character and the actor. But others cannot help but picture Salling, and what he’s done when they think about the character of Noah Puckerman. Something that has always brought a great sense of joy to some people is now becoming the cause of disgust. Puck is one of the more popular characters in the show and he is in a whole lot of the fan fiction that’s out there.

Writers who are still producing stories face our own predicament. I’ve talked to several writer friends who are now wondering what to do. For most, any change we want to make is minimal because he is such a minor character in our work. But, unfortunately, not all of us are so lucky.

One friend of mine who uses Puck as one of her central characters, and gave him the character development that Glee never did, is now wondering what to do about one of the major characters in her long running story. Some of her fans are urging her to write him out a future chapters. Some fans are urging her to keep the character as is or just diminish his role. She is truly torn about what to do, but regardless of what she does she has to make major changes to her story, and her future plans for it, because she herself can’t stand to write about him right now; and she doesn’t see this changing for at least a good long time. I don’t envy her her her situation.

As for me, Puck has never been one of my favorite characters, and therefore has only had a few minor appearances in my stories; and I don’t really expect this to change much of what I already have planned because I don’t really plan to use him very much. Offhand yes he will still appear at the Britanna wedding in Wildebrams Season Six, and he will probably still appear at the Wildebrams wedding in the end of Wedding Song. But his role will probably be less than it might have been previously.

Thank you Mark, for hurting so many people and making everyone’s lives that more complicated with your sick, disgusting fetish! It pisses me off to no end that you are the custodian of Cory’s plaque! He would be so ashamed of you! Remember that every time you look at it, and I hope they throw the book at you, you sick prevent!

[ UPDATE: 3/19/16 – So what ever happened with this? Mark was supposed to have a late January court date, but there was nothing about it in the media, and going a Google search brings up nothing.  I will be really disappointed if they made this all disappear because he’s a celebrity. If I find anything out I’ll definitely post it. ]

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