John Legend should speak out about his wife, and say this

There are a handful of things that you are not very likely to ever catch me doing. At the top of that list, right alongside watching a soccer game, is riding to the defense of a Hollywood/entertainment elitist who routinely relishes the opportunities his platform gives him to lecture ordinary Americans on culture and politics.

But alas, just as my children's unfortunate interest in participating in a youth soccer league forces my hand with the former, the online hordes of faceless virtual signalers are doing the same when it comes to singer and leftwing progressive activist John Legend.

Legend, who has never shied away from castigating conservative causes as hateful, racist, and immoral, has found himself facing the fallout of his wife Chrissy Teigan's bullying scandal. Teigan was recently outed as being an objectively terrible person, having encouraged one person to commit suicide, suggested another physically harms herself from jealousy, and cyberbullying a third, scoffing at the imminent end of his career. It's bad stuff.

But in a piece that has received broad attention across social media, several outlets are suggesting Legend has a responsibility to disavow and call out his own wife publicly.

"During a period in which Chrissy was going through media scrutiny for mistreatment of people like Courtney Stodden, Legend said nothing. In the process, what that did is it caused him to further his brand to align in many ways with his wife's," Reputation Management Consultant Eric Schiffer said.

"John didn't do the conduct. But he is stuck in this bitter choice between his love for his wife and either his disgust with her behavior or him privately being ok with it. Because he didn't speak out right away it causes the public to wonder, was he OK with it?"

What a bunch of nonsense. That's his wife. That's the mother of his children. That's his partner. That's his other half. Since putting on that wedding ring he has never been, is not now, and will never be expected to become a participant in the public prosecution of his bride's reputation. I know as a society we don't get into gender roles or even the sanctity of marriage anymore, but if there's ever to be a person who is always on your side, it's your spouse.

In fact, the only thing that I find alarming about Legend's silence is that he hasn't publicly defended his wife. To be sure, there's nothing defensible about what she did. But personally, I'd love to see him put his own reputation on the line to say something like this:

"I know the woman I'm married to is not the woman who wrote those messages. The woman I see raising my children to choose right and compassion is not the same person who once trafficked in shallow insults and petty online banter. We all make terrible mistakes, she made some that she has acknowledged. She's apologized, she's contrite, she's committed to showing the world that isn't who she is, and that's more than good enough for me. I love her with my whole heart."

I don't care if brand managers warn against that approach. This isn't about a damaged brand. This is about the dignity of your wife, and there's nothing more precious than that.

Is there irony that all this is unfolding right in the lap of a man who once boastfully condemned President Donald Trump for character flaws? Yes, of course. And I think it's more than appropriate to hope that Legend and his wife learn some much-needed humility from the entire episode.

But expecting a man to turn on his own wife to save the street value of his own name and brand? Never in a million years.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

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