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You’re Canceled

Why Cancel Culture Needs to Go


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash


When asked about which aspect of social media is the most toxic, the most common answer is cancel culture. Cancel culture is when a celebrity or notable public figure is “canceled” or ostracized on social media for something, ranging from past comments to simply associating themselves with someone who has been “canceled.” The debate on whether this phenomenon is helpful or harmful will never truly be settled, but it is clear that the severe damage caused by cancel culture far outweighs any of its positives.


Because most “canceled” victims are celebrities with established reputations and careers, cancel culture rarely accomplishes real change. The need for serious societal change, such as racism and homophobia, will not be accomplished by teenangers demanding someone be “canceled” behind a screen. Often, the repercussions of cancel culture have no lasting effects. In May 2019, popular Youtuber and makeup artist James Charles lost several million subscribers on his channel after another makeup Youtuber, Tati Westbrook, accused him of sexual misconduct, leading to him being “canceled.” Once more evidence was exposed, it was revealed that the situation was far more complicated than originally thought and that Charles’ allegations were not true. Charles quickly regained his previous subscriber count, and the drama was dropped, with the only true result of the drama being the newly damaged mental health of Charles.


In today’s society of quick news and social media, we are inclined to hastily engross ourselves in public drama, no matter how reputable it is. There are people in this world who will do the unspeakable to simply gain attention, and many times they get their wish through cancel culture. In October 2020, “Harry Potter” star Tom Felton was accused of sexual misconduct by a young fan. While some fans were hesitant to believe the accusations, many social media users swiftly “canceled” the celebrity. Not long after, it was revealed that the “evidence” was fabricated, and Felton was innocent. The damage had been done, however, as Felton took a break from TikTok, his friends citing that his mental health had rapidly declined because of the scandal. From the beginning, the evidence could be clearly identified as fake, but through cancel culture, the situation was blown out of proportion and left an innocent star traumatized.


When people dive deeper into cancel culture, it is easy to see that the trend is a form of cyberbullying. It is a way for people behind a screen to feel better about themselves by denouncing others in the public eye for making human errors. Even Former President Barack Obama believes that everyone has done something they are not proud of, and it is not right for people to vilify celebrities, especially young ones, for making mistakes. “Stranger Things” star Noah Schanpp, for example, was “canceled” because he reached out in kindness to TikTok star Chase Hudson. Hudson himself had been “canceled” earlier for saying a derogatory racial slur in a viral video. While this language should never be condoned in any circumstance, a young Hudson was receiving backlash so extreme that Schnapp extended his sympathy. This simple act of kindness was twisted and reviled, and Schnapp became a victim of cancel culture. Thankfully, his “canceled” status did not last, and he did not face long-term repercussions, showing that cancel culture is in most cases ineffective and only results in more bullying and harassment.


While cancel culture is extremely harmful, there are aspects of it that can be helpful to society. In some cases, there are celebrities whose actions go beyond being simple mistakes. Cancel culture can bring these to light and can rightfully put someone unworthy out of work. The phenomenon, when handled correctly, is good at holding powerful people accountable. The #MeToo movement, in which women spoke out against Hollywood men who had sexually assaulted them, is an ideal example of what cancel culture should be: a unified fight against people who deserve to be “canceled.” With how the trend is currently being used, however, it is evident that the time has come for cancel culture to be #canceled.

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Andy Poll

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