Summing Up the Cancel Culture and Political Correctness
When we think of the cancel culture what comes to mind right away is how social media is used to call someone out for their words or actions as offensive to a group. Those offended go on social media and start a firestorm of criticism against the offending party. Before you know it, others have taken to the internet to voice their views. The result may be to cancel the offending party by denying them the status they may have achieved or blacklisting them in the mind of the public. It some respects it is like ostracizing a person or group.
Now that I have created a series of blogs on the cancel culture and its effects on society, I finish off the series by looking at some of the celebrities who have been cancelled recently. The list is too full to cover everyone so I have restricted it to most well-known people.
- Mike Lindell — The CEO of My Pillow said his company was ditched by nearly 20 retailers after he publicly questioned the electoral results of the 2020 presidential election and made his election fraud claims into a movie. Lindell is an unwavering supporter of former President Donald Trump and visited him in the White House on Jan. 15 — five days before Mr. Trump left office.
- Chris Harrison – The longtime host of ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise decided to “step aside” after defending current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell when old photos surfaced of her attending an Old South antebellum party. “While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf,” Harrison explained. “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry.”
- J.K. Rowling — The famous author of the Harry Potter series has faced backlash for voicing her fears that the push for transgender rights will ultimately endanger women’s rights. She’s since defended her comments on her website and joined 150 authors and academics denouncing “cancel culture.” These actions have only further infuriated her critics, who called for a boycott of her books and for her publisher to stop paying royalties.
- Tucker Carlson/Sean Hannity/Laura Ingraham — The prime-time Fox News opinion hosts have long battled with cancel culture and advertisement boycotts for airing their conservative views. Media Matters, a liberal group that opposes Fox, keeps a list of the network’s prime-time sponsors and routinely singles them out advocating for them to drop their advertisements if it deems a host says something particularly egregious one evening.
- Washington/Lincoln/Jefferson — The former U.S. presidents’ names have been wiped from San Francisco public schools after the school board decided to rename 44 schools that had “ties to racism” and “dishonorable legacies.”
- Goya Foods — Liberals called for a Goya Foods’ boycott after the company’s chief executive Robert Unanue praised Mr. Trump at an event at the White House. Mr. Unanue said Mr. Trump’s leadership was a “blessing” for Hispanic Americans. The boycott turned into a “buycott,” according to Mr. Unanue. “Our sales went up significantly since the pandemic,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. “We did well because the restaurant business declined 70%, but we also did well because of the backlash of a boycott to a buycott. We have our traditional customers, we kept them, but we also have new customers.”
- Piers Morgan -- has always been seen as a controversial figure in British TV news, and his derogatory statements regarding Meghan Markle created him a lot of backlash. He ended up getting the spotlight for the wrong reasons and it cost his reputation greatly. Petitions rolled around in hopes to have him removed from Good Morning Britain, and while there were tons of signatures, he stated with pride that he wouldn't be back.
- A video of Jimmy Fallon doing a Chris Rock impersonation on Saturday Night Life became viral because he was wearing blackface. The footage dates from 2000, but soon the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty was on trendy topics, and the The host didn't avoid the subject. Fallon said it was a terrible decision, and there were no excuses. He apologized, and his post got different opinions on the comments.
- Even the billionaire J.K. Rowling isn't strong enough to fight against cancel culture. The best-seller author was accused of being transphobic sue to a post on Twitter. The author later signed an open letter that criticizes cancel culture. She was not alone, and 150 other public figures endorsed the letter.
- Former "Vanderpump Rules" cast member Faith Stowers, who is African-American, revealed that two of the show’s original cast members, Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, had reported her to the police for a crime she had nothing to do with, a Bravo spokesperson confirmed to Variety that Schroeder and Doute won’t return to the show. Two additional cast members, Max Bovens and Brett Caprioni, whose past racist tweets were uncovered also will not return.
Summing it All Up
Intolerance in society is being fueled by the cancel culture. The cancel culture is mainly an internet phenomenon where those offended by the comments of another party become denounced online by those who object to the behavior. It is one form of a cultural boycott that seeks to isolate the offending party by a group with counter views. Taken to an extreme, it can lead to bullying behavior.
While I understand the need to cancel someone for their racist comments, in general I do not think it is a healthy trend for American society. Taken to its extreme, we could all wind up being cancelled for something we did or said years ago. It is an ethical slippery slope with no clear guidelines and seems motivated by a desire to harm others. My problem is ethical values like kindness, forgiveness, and empathy get tossed aside in the name of political correctness. It also seeks to deny the right of free speech, a basic value in American society.
Posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, The Ethics Sage, on May 13, 2021. You can sign up for his newsletter and learn more about his activities at: https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/. Follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenMintzEthics and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ethicssage.