Can art and artist be separated?

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Media captionWill Gompertz talks about artists who have been caught up in controversy, including Eric Gill (pictured), and whether this affects the way we view their work

A US cable TV station has decided to pull repeats of the 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show from its schedule, following allegations of sexual assault against actor Bill Cosby.

More than a dozen women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse Cosby of sexually assaulting them.

The comedian has not directly addressed the accusations, but his lawyers have described them as "discredited" and "defamatory."

How does this affect the way we retrospectively view his work? Can we judge an artwork purely on its own merits - be it a film, painting, play or sitcom - or do we inevitably take its creator's character into account?