Political Education

What is Cancel Culture

The act of canceling, also referred to as cancel culture (a variant on the term “callout culture”) describes a form of boycott in which an individual (usually a celebrity) who has shared a questionable or controversial opinion, or has had behavior in their past that is perceived to be offensive recorded on social media, is “canceled”; they are ostracized and shunned by former friends, followers and supporters alike, leading to declines in any careers and fanbase the individual may have at any given time


Cancel Culture is the newest topic of discussion. Considering that the president even used the phrase “cancel culture” to try to discredit the Black Lives Matter Movement and anyone under forty in general.

The first time I remember someone being “canceled” was when an alt-right group found old tweets by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. He was quickly fired by Disney while in pre-production for Guardians of the Galaxy III. These tweets were atrocious. They were about rape, child abuse, and pedophilia. Gunn was reinstated by Disney in March 2019.

Lately, internet celebrities are being called out for old videos where they made racist, sexist, or homophobic content and being asked to address this content. Some YouTubers like Colleen Ballinger have made a video and apologized for her prior bad acts (i.e. making a racist video and sending a minor underwear) and are moving on. Jenna Marbles was called out for her old racist and sexist videos and has decided to leave YouTube.

Cancel culture during the time of Coronavirus has meant celebrities are being called out for prior bad acts because people have the time to research and hyper-focus on the details of their favorite celebrity’s career. Old tweets, old videos, old interviews: nothing is safe from the internet. But this can also apply to us normal, non-celebrities who have had social media for over 10 years.

Is cancel culture a bad thing? What cancel culture can do is increase a person’s defense mechanisms and make them unwilling to change their opinion. Then you choose to not associate with this person, and they do not change. Calling out a celebrity and informing them that the hashtag they used was racist or transphobic when they may not have known this information is one thing, but creating an internet movement to end a person’s career because of the insensitive crap they said when they were teenagers is another if the person has shown real growth and change.

Holding celebrities and companies accountable is a good thing. Their messages reach millions of people and truly influence what others think and believe. Boycotting companies because they support or don’t support things that you believe in is good, it’s voting with your dollars. Taking people, including celebrities, to task and trying to ruin their careers because of things they have done over a decade ago seems counterproductive. Especially when you know they are a different person, just shows others that there is no need to learn, grow or change.

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