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To Kill or Not to Kill the Messenger?

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

Hands down we would all agree that human trafficking is a very important issue to raise awareness on because it is destroying our families and tearing apart our communities.

However, when it comes to who is delivering that message - a chosen spokesperson, per se - does it matter who they are in terms of character?

src: It's a Penalty,

Let’s take a PSA message example from It’s a Penalty where Liam Neeson has been chosen to speak out on human trafficking.

Thousands of people have praised his efforts to come forth and be a public advocate on this horrific issue.

I mean, he is the person people typically think about when they think of human trafficking because of the heroic role he played in the movie Taken.

However, there is some interesting history to be had with Liam Neeson. In 2004, he portrayed Alfred Kinsey in a nominated role for the movie Kinsey.

If you’re unfamiliar with Alfred Kinsey, he has been named the father of the sexual revolution - "a sexual pioneer" - who has influenced the way we think about sex today and how sex education is taught in schools.

Kinsey was also a pederast, who compiled the data meticulous recorded by a serial child sex abuser of the hundreds upon hundreds of children he molested to “scientifically prove” that children are sexual at birth.


Liam was quoted in a 2004 New York Times article saying that he “did not hesitate “ to the play the role of Kinsey nor did he not “find him nasty.”

Do we really want actors to be center stage as the voice box for protecting our children when they clearly don’t live out those principles for being selective of the roles they choose to play on film?

Should we kill the messenger in this case or not?

Does the message take precedence over everything else because it's just simply too important not to share, no matter the means and who is delivering that message?

Maybe I’m too idealistic and have too great of expectations for the character of people today. But for me, I know where I stand.

I stand for integrity.

I stand for clear, strong messages from honorable people.

Yes, we are not perfect and yes we make mistakes.

For all I know, Liam could have totally changed his opinion of Kinsey from when he made the film over 15 years ago. And maybe I’m just being too critical and harsh.

But consider this...our youth today are very serious about social justice. They are serious about change.

Should we continue to muddy up the waters with strong messages and weak messengers?

What if we had Ice T do a PSA for trafficking despite the fact that he was a known pimp back in the day?

Should we give people the benefit of the doubt? A second chance?

Does it all really matter in the end?

What’s more important to you - the message, the messenger who speaks the message, or the integrity of both the message and the messenger?

New Hope Foundation International
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