Nowadays whenever someone who has a lot of fame, or is regarded highly in society, slips up with either a controversial opinion or action they are “canceled”. Now what does that mean? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary “to cancel someone (usually a celebrity or other well-known figure) means to stop giving support to that person. The act of canceling could entail boycotting an actor’s movies or no longer reading or promoting a writer’s work”.
With this in mind several questions come to mind. Is this morally correct in our nation that preaches freedom of speech? Who has the authority to cancel someone and who gave them that power? And finally, what would happen if the celebrity in question does not care and continues with their day, should being canceled matter in the long run to everyone? In this I will try to add my opinions to the matter to clear this discussion.
On the topic of the morality of canceling someone I believe it’s quite hypocritical especially coming from a nation that prides itself on diverse people with diverse thoughts and even having freedom of speech as a cornerstone of the original rights given to us. Though someone may have an opinion that differs from what the majority thinks, in my opinion there shouldn’t be any serious repercussions if the opinion said does not physically impact anyone or has any negative connotation that could result in the law being broken.
This leads me to the question on who has the authority to launch this “canceling”. When going on social media it seems like it’s the public who gives the order to cancel when a celebrity is going through a controversial spell, but the thing that really hits the nail in the coffin is when the corporations that support the person turns their back on them. Now the canceling goes from social dislike to now affecting the person’s hard earned finances. An example of this that occurred recently is when a controversial figure named Andrew Tate was canceled from social media and even to the extent of his emails being deleted. If big corporations can go to this extent against someone that breaks the narrative and has a differing opinion to what some people agree with. This has me scared for the future because now the big companies can bully anyone into submission if their ideas do not correlate. I agree with the idea that social media companies can choose to restrict some aspects of free speech but to completely remove the person speaking from all platforms goes too far. It hampers the overarching free speech that is granted to us. For companies to even have both the power and the audacity to this, the blame falls on us, the users, for allowing ourselves to be slaves to the influence of social media to the point that we can give up our rights and security for a better experience. Also, even when a celebrity is canceled, if they don’t care about the “punishment” and move on with their life (as we all should) what do we do then? I believe if they don’t seem bothered by it at all then the issue should be left at rest. An example of this being Dave Chappelle. He was apparently canceled for his takes on the Trans community and yet a few months later he is still selling out shows an.
The cancel culture method of trying to ruin someone’s life does not work in the long run and seems to be a negative response to something that could be better handled. In my opinion instead of trying to “cancel” someone, we should be open to more talking points that differ from our own safe spaces to challenge our perspectives even more. All in all, this is to say the true way to “cancel” someone is to not cancel them at all. By this, I mean if someone has a problem with what someone says the best way to handle the situation is to have a discussion and either prove whose side is correct or to agree to disagree. With this no one’s livelihood has to be affected and a conversion can spark, and different perspectives can be heard rather than dismissed on a whim.