OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Cancel culture is a phenomenon that has ruined lives and reputations around the country. Politicians, celebrities, and influencers are routinely subjected to “cancel” attempts, although really anyone who dares to speak or act publicly faces the possibility of being “canceled,” regardless of notoriety.
So what is “cancel culture?” As Forbes says,
“it is about unaccountable groups successfully applying pressure to punish someone for perceived wrong opinions. The victim ends up losing their job or is significantly harmed in some way well beyond the discomfort of merely being disagreed with.”
Essentially, the radical left mob has made the public so terrified of their hatred that all it takes is a couple of people (just one, in some cases) to begin a public shaming campaign. Usually, the only way to assuage the raging leftist mob is to resign or fire employees, change products, and usually issue a public apology for whatever was deemed inappropriate.
Sometimes the offenses for which people are canceled are ridiculous. For example, an art professor at Skidmore College very briefly attended a pro-police rally out of “civic interest and curiosity.” Despite the rally being advertised as a “positive, all-inclusive event,” it was enough for students on campus to demand his termination after 31 years of teaching. Students took to social media and said,
“We demand the immediate dismissal of both Skidmore staff members for engaging in hateful conduct that threatens Black Skidmore students.”
At University of Southern California, a professor was placed on leave because, in the course of teaching a communications course about how different languages use filler words, he spoke the Chinese word for “that,” which some thought sounded like the n-word.
The editorial page editor of the New York Times resigned following backlash for daring to print an op-ed written by Republican Senator Tom Cotton about the use of federal troops to quash the violent riots during the summer. Senator Cotton told Fox News,
“The New York Times editorial page editor and owner defended it in public statements but then they totally surrendered to a woke child mob from their own newsroom that apparently gets triggered if they’re presented with any opinion contrary to their own, as opposed to telling the woke children in their newsroom this is the workplace, not a social justice seminar on campus.”
In addition to being canceled for current controversies like these, you can also be canceled for things from years and even decades past, because the cancel culture mob doesn’t allow for human growth and learning.
Back in May, the woke masses tried to cancel comedian Jimmy Fallon for a Saturday Night Live skit in which he wore blackface during a roll as Chris Rock some 20 years ago.
Jimmy Fallon is being canceled by the Twitter mob because he once put on blackface to play Chris Rock in a Saturday Night Live skit twenty years ago.
— Possum Reviews (@ReviewsPossum) May 26, 2020
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
Likewise, comedian Jimmy Kimmel came under fire after it was discovered that he “imitated rapper Snoop Dogg’s voice for a track in a 1996 Christmas album — an original song in which Kimmel used the ‘N-word’ several times,” as well as attempting to imitate the voice of black comedian George Wallace. The outcry led to him taking some “time off.” It apparently doesn’t matter that people can change and grow over the course of decades.
Iconic 1939 film Gone With The Wind was pulled from HBOMax this year. A spokesperson told CNN that the movie would “return with a discussion of its historical context.”
Just last month, superstar Chris Pratt was hit by the cancel culture leftist mob because he apparently “Radiates homophobic white Christian supremacist energy.” Because he’s a Trump supporter and a devout Christian.
Lana Del Rey came under fire because some thought her songs didn’t sufficiently empower women. In response, Del Rey named several other popular artists who have songs similar to hers. To which the mob responded that she was also a racist because most of the artists she mentioned were black.
Best-selling author and outspoken liberal J.K. Rowling was canceled when she expressed her concern that transgender rights are detracting from women’s rights.
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
She was immediately labeled “transphobic” and subsequently canceled.
Katy Perry, a successful Hollywood elite from a conservative Christian background, tweeted a recommendation that people reach out to their families to reconcile after the election because she believes in “family first.”
the first thing I did when the presidency was called is text and call my family members who do not agree and tell them I love them and am here for them. #FamilyFirst. Call your family today. Happy Sunday. ♥️
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) November 8, 2020
Apparently, it’s “white” of her to mend fences with family after a time of turmoil, and she was canceled.
Trying to keep your family intact is white? What do you want to do? Cancel 70 million people who didn’t vote the way you did? This isn’t a television show that you can just whine about on twitter until its canceled. These people live among you and are here to stay.
— Dstans (@dblock124) November 10, 2020
Some called to cancel any black celebrity who dared to think for themselves and decide to vote for Trump.
All the Black Celebrities going for Trump. You’re still canceled
— Kathia Woods (@kathia_woods) November 7, 2020
Every Black celebrity who supports Trump needs to be canceled by the Black community. No more support from us. No more streaming/buying their products. No more coverage in Black media. NOTHING. Make those traitors pay!
— PragmaticObotsUnite (@PragObots) September 26, 2020
Like we haven’t canceled hella black celebrities for speaking how they feel. Some of us that are “woke” need to educate the people that just don’t know. We talk about how our education system is lacking black history but criticize black people who don’t know. Make it make sense
— 🇳🇬Handsome&Wealthy (@NsaIta2) June 17, 2020
Just yesterday I watched cancel culture twice in real-time on Twitter.
The first incident was a woman who didn’t appreciate that the major chain retailer, Target, was selling a book about a subject with which she disagreed. That’s literally it. She didn’t agree with the book and reminded Target that they’ve bowed to the cancel culture before, saying,
“Historically, harmful products have been pulled from the shelf, and this should be, too.”
In 2016, @Target, you released a statement affirming your support for transgender customers. @AskTarget why you’re selling a book notorious for its harmful rhetoric against us? Historically, harmful products have been pulled from the shelf, and this should be, too.
— 🍁Alexa🍂 (@_Alexa_Bee) November 12, 2020
It doesn’t matter that her book is based in facts and research. Doesn’t matter that professionals across the globe agree with the premise of her book. Alexa on Twitter thinks it’s harmful, so it was immediately pulled from the shelves and Target issued an apology.
Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. We have removed this book from our assortment.
— AskTarget (@AskTarget) November 12, 2020
What if every single person in the world brought everything they personally felt to be hurtful to the attention of Target? Would there be anything left in the store?
https://t.co/NRY9T9nAfA just made my book disappear.
Does it bother anyone that Woke activists and spineless corporations now determine what Americans are allowed to read? https://t.co/dbIbjm96Ll
— Abigail Shrier (@AbigailShrier) November 13, 2020
The next instance was regarding the video game Assassin’s Creed, Valhalla. Courtney Craven (They/Them) wrote a review of the game. On her Twitter, they chastised the game writers for including a character with the description,
“Horribly burned in a childhood accident, Eorforwine is terrified someone will see her disfigured face. She relieves her fury with bursts of violence.”
I didn’t include this in my #AssassinsCreedValhalla impressions piece but it’s equally important to address. This is a character description in the game. It’s absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences this way. Writers for games and otherwise need to do better. pic.twitter.com/jOLpPzD6Oe
— Courtney Craven (@CyclopediaBrain) November 9, 2020
According to them,
“it is absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences this way.”
Which is interesting because the game is literally about violently slaughtering people in whatever way that you can, and it’s the description of a burn victim character that they have a problem with.
But don’t worry, Ubisoft immediately issued a public apology for their use of “ableist language.”
Thank you so much for pointing this out – we apologize for unintentionally reinforcing ableism through this language. We will remove this language in an upcoming update.
— Assassin’s Creed (@assassinscreed) November 9, 2020
Because that’s what you have to do when the cancel culture mob targets you. But not everyone is immediately bowing down to the mob. White House aide Stephen Miller said,
“Cancel culture is a very grave threat to American freedom.”
On the 4th of July, President Trump gave a speech in which he said,
“We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture. We embrace tolerance, not prejudice.”
And it’s true. America is the land of the free, and one of those freedoms is freedom of speech. Not everyone will agree with you and not everyone has to. That’s what makes the freedom in this nation so amazing; diversity of thought is both permitted and encouraged. At least, it used to be.