Recently, Parks and Recreation co-executive producer, Harris Wittels, died of an alleged drug overdose, indicative of the profound and rampant drug problem in Hollywood. Twitter was quick to offer their sympathy and condolences to his family, remembering his legacy of great work.
RIP Harris Wittels, dead At 30. Hear him talk about storytelling and his struggles with addiction on this podcast http://t.co/VfX94m1BNo— Fast Company (@FastCompany) February 20, 2015
Anyone’s struggle from drug addiction is tragic. But the blatant double standard regarding drug addiction between Hollywood’s elite and nameless minorities is disheartening.
LA Artist Plastic Jesus recently displayed a controversial statue on Hollywood Boulevard that accurately portrays the drug problem among celebrities. Apparently this isn’t his first time creating statement art. Last year he made a similar statue with a heroin needle in its arm, following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman from an overdose.
When we think of celebrities and Hollywood addicted to drugs, it is framed as a tragic addiction that they need help with. When we think of the pervasive nature of drugs on the streets, specifically among the black population, it is framed as a thug and gang problem.
@myblackmindd who was a violent drug addict thug already kicked out of school for victimizing others. Gotta love black culture— Bruce Methsteen (@BruceMethsteen) January 17, 2015
White guy pulls a gun on an unarmed black man, then tells him he though he was a 'drug dealer'. Gets offended... http://t.co/GWtNbDooQw— Cindy Gomez-Schempp (@Media_PPP) February 12, 2015
it upsets me how NBC describes a black drug dealer as a "thug" but a white couple who went on a murder spree as "teenage sweethearts"— bruno (@bocadelcieloo) January 22, 2015
Reports of drug busts are usually in poor neighborhoods, not in the mansions of Bel Air. Everyone knows that Hollywood has a huge drug problem, but where are the drug busts? Why do they get an out? Why do they get to be treated as patients rather than crooks?
Whenever a celebrity dies from a drug overdose, supporters flood Twitter with sympathy, and news stations report on their depression. When a black man gets arrested for a non-violent drug offense, it is the expected outcome from a dark and thuggish life.
The War on Drugs is not a war on drugs. If it were truly an initiative against drugs, than these celebrities would be held accountable. So if we are being honest with ourselves, the War on Drugs is a war on minorities and the poor.
Harris Wittels is deserving of sympathy. Addiction and depression is a serious issue which deserves medical help and attention.
Wittels has received an inspiring amount of sympathy from his thousands of fans and friends. But my sympathy goes out to someone else. My sympathy goes out to the thousands of nameless people in jail for non-violent offenses. It goes out to the people who turned to drugs because they thought they had no other option. It goes out to the person in the depths of addiction who has no where to turn for medical help. My sympathy goes out to the people who have no sympathy.