Is Cancel Culture Good?

Is cancel culture good? header

With cancel culture being ever apparent now, I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic.

If you do not know what cancel culture is, it is usually when a celebrity, author, YouTuber, beauty guru, etc. does something that most people would consider wrong and therefore, they are “canceled” and people will stop supporting them by unfollowing them on social media, not watching them on YouTube, and refusing to buy any of their products or books. The purpose of cancel culture is to hold celebrities accountable for their past or present actions, which often leads to them apologizing for their harmful actions.


Examples of Cancel Culture

J. K. Rowling

In December 2019, Rowling wrote a tweet supporting a researcher named Maya Forstater who was fired because she claimed that there are only two sexes, male and female, and it is impossible to change sex. By supporting Forstater, Rowling essentially declared that transgender people do not exist, and since then she has received a ton of backlash. Rowling has continuously made transphobic tweets, and you can read a complete breakdown of the transgender comments controversy, but this month she released a new book Troubled Blood under her pen name Robert Galbraith. The book follows a detective who is hunting a cisgender male serial killer who dresses as a woman to murder cisgender women. Since the main plot is about a man who dresses as a woman and murders women, Rowling has received even more backlash for being transphobic. After the release of her book. Rowling shared a tweet of her wearing a “This Witch Doesn’t Burn” shirt. The shirt itself is not problematic, but she linked the website she purchased it from, which has tons of transphobic merch including a “Notorious Transphobe” mug, a “Transwomen are Men” button, and a “Female Biology is Not an Identity” sticker to name a few.

Since J.K. Rowling has continuously shared transphobic tweets and she openly supports a shop that makes transphobic merch, and she has not apologized for a single one of her tweets, is it okay for her to be canceled? Her tweets nowadays are filled with people who are calling her out for being transphobic while others are supporting her and using the hashtag #IStandWithRowling.

 

Ellen DeGeneres

In March of this year, Kevin T. Porter made a tweet asking for people to share their stories about how Ellen has been mean. There were comments from some sharing their stories whereas others commented saying it was wrong for Porter to start the thread to slander Ellen. After the thread, numerous articles came out where former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show were interviewed, and they claimed the talk show masks a toxic work culture. Employees were told not to talk to Ellen, they were fired for taking medical and bereavement leave, and another employee left after she experienced racist comments, actions, and microaggressions. Then another article was released where former employees stated the executive producers engaged in sexual misconduct and harassment. After these allegations were made, many viewers stopped watching her show and there were rumors that her show would be canceled because of the drop in ratings. This month, Ellen publically apologized on her show for what had happened to her employees. However, Ellen’s former and current employees were disappointed with her apology and believed that she should not have made any jokes while talking about a serious matter.

Should Ellen DeGeneres be canceled for what took place at the workplace of her show or should her show be allowed to continue in hopes that permanent changes will improve the toxic work environment?

 

Jeffree Star, Shane Dawson, James Charles, and Tati Westbrook

I am going to include these 4 YouTubers and beauty gurus together because they intertwine and they have all been canceled this year and last. Last year, James Charles shared an Instagram story supporting Sugar Bear Hair, which is a direct competitor to Tati Westbrook’s brand Halo Beauty. James made a public apology to Tati on Instagram, and shortly after Tati uploaded a YouTube video called “Bye Sister” where she said James never told her about the Sugar Bear Hair deal and he is also coercive of straight men. Jeffree Star also made a tweet where he claimed James was a danger to society. After James was called out, millions of people canceled him by unsubscribing to his YouTube channel and instead subscribed to Tati. There were more YouTube videos and drama between James and Tati, but eventually everything died down and James and Tati continued uploading content on their YouTube chancels. However, this past June, Tati uploaded her “Breaking My Silence…” video where she claimed that Jeffree and Shane Dawson were behind the “Bye Sister” video and that they gaslit her into making it. She also apologized to James for making the video.

Because of Tati’s “Breaking My Silence…” video exposing Jeffree and Shane, people have canceled them and unsubscribed from their channels, unfollowed them on social media, and refused to buy Jeffree’s makeup and Shane’s books and merch. Others were also canceling Tati because they claimed Tati is manipulative and was blaming her actions on others. Around the time of Tati’s video, Jeffree’s racist past was brought up as well, which he addressed on Twitter, and he also apologized for his actions and behavior to James in a YouTube video, but there are many who still support canceling Jeffree because of his racist past and his involvement in taking down James. Since Tati’s “Breaking My Silence..” video, Morphe cut ties with Jeffree, but Jeffree is continuing to release new makeup collections and seems unphased by being canceled.

Shane’s older YouTube videos and tweets were also brought up. In the videos and tweets, Shane appeared in blackface, said racist remarks, and made inappropriate comments about children. Shane apologized for his older content in a “Taking Accountability” video, but an inappropriate video clip of Shane with a poster of the then-11-year-old Willow Smith resurfaced. Both her mother Jade Pinkett Smith and her brother Jaden Smith called out Shane for the video, which further supported the canceling of Shane and even more people unsubscribed from his channels and social media accounts. After Shane was called out, Target removed Shane’s books from stores, Morphe removed Shane’s makeup range, and YouTube suspended monetization on all 3 of Shane’s channels. Since Shane was called out and canceled, he has not been active on any of his channels or social media accounts.

Did all of these YouTubers deserve to be canceled? James Charles does seem the least problematic whereas Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson certainly seem the most problematic especially when their past harmful actions are taken into account as well. Shane has also experienced the most repercussions with his books and makeup collection being removed from stores and his YouTube channels being demonetized.

 

Jenna Marbles

This past summer, videos from 2011 and 2012 were brought up again where Jenna impersonated Nicki Minaj and had noticeably darker skin. People claimed it was blackface, but in her apology video she claimed it was just a spray tan. Additionally in 2011 she made a parody rap video where she appeared in yellowface and made a racist joke against Asian men, and in 2012 she made a video slut-shaming women. The videos have been privated for a long time, but people wanted Jenna to address her past harmful videos whereas others were supporting her and telling her an apology was not necessary. However, at the end of June this year, Jenna apologized for her past videos and decided to quit YouTube.

Jenna’s YouTube content has changed since 2011 and 2012 and the offensive videos are not up on her channel. Recent comments on her channel and social media accounts are mainly from those that miss Jenna and want her to come back to YouTube. Should those harmful videos have been brought up again and should she have quit YouTube?


My Thoughts on Cancel Culture

I believe that cancel culture can be good for those celebrities that repeatedly do harmful actions and refuse to accept and apologize for their wrongdoings. J.K. Rowling has repeatedly made transphobic comments and she openly supports a transphobic shop. By doing so, she is harming a vulnerable population by invalidating transmen and transwomen. Others may disagree and say that Rowling is entitled to her opinion, but if her opinion is that transwomen are men, I believe that it is not okay for her to share her opinion to her millions of followers. I also grew up reading the Harry Potter books, and I know the Harry Potter series was an important part of childhood for many others, but I can no longer support an author who is openly against transgender people. I love the world of Harry Potter and the fandom, but I must separate the author from the books.

With that said, I do not think cancel culture is appropriate for those like Jenna Marbles who shared offensive videos years ago and due to the current backlash she apologized for the videos and quit YouTube. Yes Jenna was wrong for making those videos, but she should not be canceled for them. She delisted them a long time ago and since then her content has changed, which shows she has realized her mistakes and became a better person. Many of Jenna’s followers also claimed that she was one of the nicest people on YouTube and she did not deserve the backlash she received for the videos.

However, I feel like there is a huge grey on whether or not a celebrity should be canceled. Yes celebrities need to be held accountable for their actions, but who determines who gets canceled especially when everyone will not agree on the decision? Like I said, there are some who believe J.K. Rowling should not be canceled because she has the right to share her opinion and there are others who wanted Jenna Marbles canceled for her past offensive videos. Also, cancel culture can lead to canceling anybody regardless if their wrongdoings were in the past and the person has since changed or if their wrongdoings are presently happening. Is it possible to call out celebrities for their wrongdoings without canceling them and having an #isoverparty? More and more celebrities are being canceled and it seems never-ending. When a celebrity’s wrongdoing is exposed, I often find myself jumping on the bandwagon and hitting the unsubscribe button without waiting to hear what the celebrity has to say for themselves. When a celebrity does apologize for their actions, it does not seem like it is ever good enough, and if you happen to still support one of those celebrities who have been called out and canceled, you yourself may receive backlash for supporting a transphobic author or a racist YouTuber. So is cancel culture good?


What are your thoughts on cancel culture?

 

Is cancel culture good? Pinterest pin

26 thoughts on “Is Cancel Culture Good?

  1. This was a really interesting read. I have an issue with cancel culture for some of the reasons you have identified. I don’t think there’s a person alive who hasn’t done things in the past that they’re not proud of. Times change. Rules of acceptable behaviour change. People change. I think if someone sincerely apologizes and doesn’t repeat the behaviour, we should give them a second chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes exactly. We have all done something we aren’t particulary proud of, but with social media, you can go back years & find something a celebrity said that would be considered offensive today. I agree that they deserve a second chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely loved reading this post!! Cancel culture is such a sensitive topic I find. I don’t necessarily support it but I do think it should be applied on celebrities like JK Rowling, exactly like you mentioned. I don’t care if it’s her opinion, her opinion hurts a whole community and that’s not okay. Also, I canceled Tati, James, Jeffree and Shane cause I am so done with their stupid drama 😂. But also, I highly believe Jeffree is a vulture but I don’t think that’s a secret. He even admits it. On another note, I totally agree with what you said about Jenna Marbles, I truly believe people can change and I don’t think she deserved that much backlash

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I don’t really support cancel culture either because people should be allowed to make a mistake, learn from that mistake & become a better person, but with cancel culture they’re immediately canceled without being given a second chance.
      It’s good to hear you feel the same about JK Rowling & Tati, James, Jeffree & Shane always have so much drama. Jenna Marbles didn’t deserve the backlash especially since she showed that she learned from her mistakes & became a better person.

      Like

  3. I never have really understood cancel culture so thank you for this post. Poor Jenna Marbles 😦 Her videos gave me many laughs in tough times and I loved her as a person. I agree that she had changed and it’s so sad she’s no longer on YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome. Yes it’s sad what happened to Jenna Marbles because she showed that she learned from her mistakes & became a better person, but she still received backlash for her old videos. She is a good example of how cancel culture can do more harm than good.

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  4. Great post and thank you for going into the details with each specific person. I agree with Jenna Marbles, she did NOT deserve to be cancelled. But as for the likes of J.K Rowling and Shane and Jeffree in particular, I totally think they deserve what they got. With such high influence, they need to be held accountable. Cancel culture is a funny one but I think it definitely depends on the individual situation. You can’t just lump everyone together under one umbrella!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It really depends on the situation & if the person has apologized, learned from their mistakes & became a better person like Jenna Marbles whereas others who repeatedly do wrong like Rowling deserve the backlash

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  5. Cancel culture has its place, but like most things in life, it is nuanced, multi-layered and complex. We as consumers can cancel our support for someone but how it is applied to different people and different circumstances needs to be considered — that being said, I will withdraw any support for someone who is advocating things that harm specific groups of people or ideas that perpetuate harm (like Rowling). Great post — very thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I completely agree! We do need to take into account the situation & if the person has apologized, learned from their mistakes & became a better person like Jenna. However, those that continuously cause harm like Rowling deserve the backlash.

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  6. I would say cancel culture is required for CURRENT and REPEATED actions. And we should allow growth. If a person realizes they’re wrong, apologizes, and takes visible steps to correct their mistake—we should allow space for that to happen. JKR seems to have 14M followers on twt and more elsewhere even with all the cancelling which makes me question if the culture is just steeped in the few of us who are in these circles. It doesn’t seem to fully cancel someone at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree canel culture is needed for current & repeated actions, but for the most part it seems like cancel culture doesn’t allow someone to recognize their mistakes, apologize & grow from them (like the case with Jenna Marbles).
      Yes exactly. Rowling doesn’t seem affected by being canceled b/c she still has millions of followers & Troubled Blood sold 65,000 copies in 5 days.

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  7. I think it is SO important to recognize the possibility of growth and change. While some people simply prove time and time again that they are capable of hateful or disgusting things, others truly DO grow. We were all young and stupid once. We’ve all done things that we may not be proud of or things that we wish that we could change. Jenna Marbles showed, in removing the videos, accepting responsibility, apologizing for her actions, and changing the content that she was creating, that she is now a different person. I am a firm believer that she should have had that chance. That being said, there are others who have exhausted all hope that they are going to turn a corner – J.K. Rowling is an example. Her transphobic actions have happened time and time again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree! We have all done things in the past we regret, but we learned from those mistakes & grew as a person. Jenna Marbles definitely didn’t deserve the backlash for the mistakes she made b/c she showed that she became a better person over the years. However, I agree Rowling has repeatedly shown she is transphobic & she accepts no responsbility for her actions.

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  8. I’d like to live in a world where we can all continue to believe and KNOW that the majority of people can change, grow, learn, and do better. We are all human and all make mistakes. I always go by the general rule that if you make a mistake, learn, and then change that behavior – I don’t think that person should be cancelled. Instead, they should be an example of a person that heard the voice of others and changed their view. That’s the point of all of us sharing our view points, right? But, on the other hand, if people knowingly continually commit the same behavior even though they are fully aware of their actions and the hurt it causes, then that is totally different and I agree with cancelling them in that situation.

    One important aspect of this is mental health. Some people may do things that others say, “they HAVE to know that what they are doing is wrong”, when with some conditions in mental health, the illness may prevent you from seeing that what you are doing is wrong. So what happens when that person seeks treatment and is now stable and living a normal life? We have to take this into consideration as well with cancel culture because there is enough stigma on mental health these days. Should it be used as an excuse for bad behavior? No. Can it explain bad behavior so when that person commits to change, others support them? I think so.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we have all made mistakes & it is important that we learn from them & grow as a person. For those like Jenna Marbles who made mistakes years ago, learned from them & became a better person, she shouldn’t have been canceled, but others that repeatedly do harmful actions after being called out, they deserve the backlash.

      You bring up an interesting point about mental health & I agree that an mental illness shouldn’t be used as an excuse for bad behavior, but if they do seek treatment & commit to change, their mental health should be considered before people call for them to be canceled.

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  9. very insightful post. I personally think that we should hold people accountable for their wrong doings specially if it’s repeatedly done. For some personalities, I think calling for their cancellation is deserved but there are those who are willing to change and grow. As for the cancel culture itself, sometimes I think it’s got a tendency to be abused, you know? One misstep and people start calling for you to be cancelled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree people should be held accountable for their actions, but at the same time they need to be given a chance to learn from their mistakes & grow as a person, but for the most part with cancel culture they’re not given that opportunity & like you said, 1 mistake & you can be called out & canceled!

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  10. The problem with canceling people like J.K. Rowling is that they are too big to cancel. So is Sam Harris, Ben Shapiro, and Joe Rogan, just to name a few more people the social justice left would like to cancel. The folks who really are at risk are the lower-tier influencers and Youtubers who can be canceled for a mistake. I was only half-following the Rowling controversy, but I finally went and read what she wrote and, to be honest, it was not the epitome of hate and evil that I had been led to believe it was. I didn’t agree with everything, but it was more nuanced and measured than I expected. Her quip that “people who menstruate” used to just be called women seems like a pretty solid critique of the absurd linguistic gymnastics that has to take place these days to pass the PC purity tests. That’s a point that resonates with a lot of people, me included. I know some don’t like to acknowledge it, but there is an irreconcilable tension between certain strands of feminism and the trans community. In other words, there’s a real debate to be had here. But if one side wants to cancel the other, that can’t happen. I’m against it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Rowling and others are too big cancel because even with people wanting to cancel her, she has over 14 million followers on Twitter & in 5 days Troubled Blood has sold 65,000 copies. No debate will be able to happen b/c Rowling believes everything she has said & done is right so her followers will support her while the others want to cancel her.
      Also, I agree that cancel culture makes low-tier influencers & YouTubers like Jenna Marbles most likely to actually be cancelled

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  11. My position on this, I think, is the same/ very similar to yours. The concept of cancel culture is something that I fundamentally disagree with. All it does is encourage people to put others on a pedestal and essentially say you’re never allowed to make a mistake if you’re in the public eye. It allows no room for personal growth, or to adjust as times change and we move forward with what is and isn’t socially acceptable. Certainly, in cases like Jenna Marbles, this is wrong and totally unwarranted when time has passed and sincere apologies have been made. However, for people who repeatedly make the same ill judgment calls and don’t seem to have any issues with that, like Rowling, I think the backlash is warranted. Really interesting read!

    Sophie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree with you! The only way to avoid being called out is if you haven’t made a single mistake in your life, but pretty much everyone has done something they regret, but we learned from those mistakes. Those in the public eye should be allowed to make mistakes, learn from them & grow as a person, but with cancel culture anybody can be called out and canceled, which normally does more harm than good especially for people like Jenna Marbles.

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  12. This is an interesting analysis of Cancel Culture, which by the way I don’t agree with. Mainly because it has a name, to be honest.

    As consumers, we have the right to decide what we want to buy or what kind of entertainment we want to consume and from whom and who we want to support. And I think it’s important calling people out for their actions and their ideas if they are harmful. But there’s no need (I think) for such massive backlash as if we didn’t have our own faults and flaws.

    You have the choice to consume someone’s product, whether this is makeup, books, or YouTube videos, but the Cancel Culture is harmful to everybody. Since everybody can, potentially, start an #isoverparty, comments can be taken out of context, and things that happened ages ago can be brought up again by someone who could easily just be a bored troll who just wants to set the world on fire (as it may have happened with Jenna Marbles).

    It’s just a way for people to feel better than others and behave as judges in things that sometimes don’t concern them. I don’t know, I just don’t like it very much as you can tell haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t really agree with cancel culture either & I agree with everything you said. It is harmful b/c it leads to people being cancelled for things they’ve done years ago like with Jenna Marbles. We’ve all done things in the past we probably regret, but as long as we’ve learned from those mistakes, we shouldn’t be judged for our past actions.
      & I 100% with you that we have a right to choose what makeup & books we buy, YouTube videos we watch, etc. & it makes people feel like they’ve done good when they call you out for who you support.

      Like

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