Cancel Culture is Cancelled?

oday’s cancel culture is extremely harsh on celebrities and is often motivated by uncorroborated or obsolete evidence that severely damages their careers.

Shradha Krishnamurthy, Entertainment Editor

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In the past year, the phrase “cancelled” has burrowed its way into popular culture and become a commonly used term that denotes when people decide to no longer support a celebrity or a venture of theirs financially, emotionally, or in any other capacity. Certain times, cancelling someone is warranted, like in the highly publicized case of R and B singer R. Kelly, who allegedly abused multiple women throughout the span of his long-lived career. In other cases, though, it’s downright ridiculous, such as when “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski served grapefruit alongside guacamole, prompting Twitter users to “cancel” him because they felt the combination was atrocious. While in Porowski’s case it was more in jest, cancel culture is extraordinarily toxic and dehumanizing.

In cases like that of R. Kelly and comedian Lewis C.K Lewis, both abused their power deserved to be cancelled. In certain cases however, it’s unnecessary. For example, James Gunn, the director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, was fired by Disney when his controversial tweets from 2010 resurfaced. He was extremely apologetic and issued a series of heartfelt apologies but still lost his position as director of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, despite coworkers’ character statements and letters affirming a positive change from Gunn. Unfortunately, today’s society has treated like Gunn similarly to Kelly. Is tweeting about controversial topics somehow as horrible as being an abusive, manipulative predator? It’s certainly received the same response. When people commit defamy based on evidence collected many years ago that may not connect with who the person is now, it creates an unrealistic view of the person that can also morph into a mob-like frenzy. Take the example of BamBam, a K-Pop idol who used a Korean phrase to address teammatesteam mates that international fans misheard as a racial slur. The group’s fans and haters alike took over Twitter, “cancelling” him and demanding a lengthy apology. All they received was a tired response and clarification. The issue eventually resolved itself, but he had, albeit for a day, been cancelled over a misunderstanding. When a celebrity is cancelled, it’s almost as if the people doing the “cancelling” forget the celebrity is a person. Their popularity drops, their projects disappear overnight, and their brand value declines. Very rarely are celebrities are able to recover with the help of good public relations directors and a (maybe) sincere apology. But in most cases, the damage is already done.

I’m not saying that people need to keep their mouths shut. If you see something suspicious and off about a celebrity or anyone, really, speaking out should be encouraged. However, calling people out by “cancelling” them based on uncorroborated evidence over social media is extremely damaging and can be considered  character assassination. It’s 2019, and yet the court of public opinion just seems to be growing ever-more fickle.