• BEAT! Blog

The Problem with 'Cancel Culture'

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

by David Neff

We’ve all heard the same story, an artist or a brand creates something controversial or offensive, the outrage community comes in protesting everything that is done, and suddenly you’re not to represent the work of either or you’re deemed the enemy.  You’ll see people setting fire to Nike products from shoes to jerseys. Players demanding to be traded or leaving a franchise for reasons that aren’t always clear only to have fans set their jerseys on fire. Movie studios trying to get their money’s worth by casting big name actors without recognizing context of the race or staying true to subject matter. Political representatives who has something come up from the past even if it means doing their actual job, only to be shunned and threatened. Men who were raised to reflect strength among others by becoming a leader even when all the good leaders are gone.  Women who are cancelled for not adhering to each of the new movements and instead become shamed.   This is cancel culture and it needs to be cancelled.

When it truly gained notoriety, cancel culture brought us the beginning of the #metoo movement where women in the industry shared experiences of horrible people from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey.  Yet, somehow it’s turned more into a tantrum-filled, dismissive regressive movement that brings out the worst in all of us.  People become afraid to share uneducated opinions because it simply invalidates their entire existence.  That’s not progression, that’s social stratification to create pariahs. Instead of giving someone the chance to become educated on a matter, we refute the idea of change and claim that we’re “protesting” them.  Somehow we have come to acknowledge that people can’t possibly make mistakes anymore. That if someone made a tragic and dire mistake decades ago, that they’re still that same person.

Cancel culture ruins the opportunity for discussion and education because it simply is too egotistical to know how to properly educate.  It’s rooted into maliciously shaming people for having a foolish thought it completely forgets that people can be ignorant and can be mistaken.  In that sense, cancel culture creates its own version of ignorance by doing so.  This is where the bad of the internet community comes into play. Because in real life, you would sound completely ridiculous responding to someone you don’t agree with saying “Well, you’re cancelled!"

For the record, there are obvious names that should be cancelled.  Harvey Weinstein, Hulk Hogan, Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Kevin Spacey, Logan Paul, Roseanne Barr, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, and many more are all people who shouldn’t be given a chance to come back as this repeated behavior is just something that’s not going to learn. There are always paths to redemption but in some cases, the door should be closed, shut and locked down.

This can all be eradicated by both parties by simply educating the other.  It’s simple, just stop cancelling each other and recognize that knowledge you have can be used to help each other.  Likewise, it’s important for the offender to be willing to learn and listen.  Take the example of Olympic athlete Gabby Douglas. She stated in regards to sexual predator Larry Nassar that it’s a woman’s responsibility to dress modestly in an effort to avoid “the wrong crowd.”  Instead of diving further into her own experiences with Nassar, social media elites chose to verbally attack and spew hatred towards her.  Then it comes out that she also was one of Nassar’s many victims.

So now, all that hatred that’s spewed becomes obsolete as clearly it created an emotional battle within herself to do what she thought was right.  Now every time her name is thrown in a tweet or statement someone has to go out of their way to remind of us of what happened with this statement. That’s an educational moment for her but, instead we just have a vile and toxic culture that’s unwilling to compromise and it’s hurting who we are as people. It’s childish and unproductive to think that we can’t possibly make mistakes as people.  Now it creates a harmful place where people are fearful to be wrong or to voice opinions which was not the intention of the internet in the first place.

There are solutions to all of this but, it will take a collaborative effort to make it better for everyone.  We can’t simply expect that every person we look up to has never made a mistake or misspoken in life. We shouldn’t value becoming a toxic culture simply by cancelling each other. We should be lifting each other up and educate people on what truly matters.  Who knows maybe we can learn something about ourselves in the process. Until then, cancelling each other needs to be shown the door and instead give each other a chance to become better.