Taking the ‘Cancel’ out of Cancel Culture

Zoe Goldman, Staff Writer

Your day is just like any other. You go about your normal life and do the things you would always do. Suddenly, one seemingly harmless tweet turns all the fans, supporters, and people who had previously respected you against you. This is the case for many celebrities who are “canceled” by society in what is called “cancel culture”. 

Cancel culture, stripped to the bone, is when a person (often a celebrity) is ostracized from society due to an action or statement of theirs. These cancel worthy offenses often range from mildly rude and not intended to hurt anyone to things that are flat-out meant to be harmful. Depending on the scenario and the hurt these actions have caused others, cancel culture is a good method to use when it is well deserved.

One of the larger celebrity cancelations more recently was James Charles in May of 2019. Charles was called out for his multitude of harsh and discourteous actions. This led him to lose the most amount of YouTube subscribers over a short amount of time in history, losing over 3 million subscribers in one weekend.

Many large celebrities have had their careers ruined or close to it all because of their actions and opinions, in both the past and present. Some of these popular celebrities include Shane Dawson, Ellen DeGeneres, Vanessa Hudgens, Lea Michele, and J.K. Rowling; all receiving various levels of hate from the public for their less than ideal actions. Many of these canceled celebrities should not have been shut out from society nearly as much as they were. Calling them out for their actions and then moving on would be acceptable, however, refusing to let them post on social media without receiving backlash is too far.

Cancel culture has been very controversial in society since many find it too harsh while others find it fair and a solid way to serve justice. While in certain mild circumstances, like one tweet with slightly racist undertones that were not intended, cancel culture can be too much. A person should not have their life ruined and be hated by an abundance of people just because of one mistake in their life. The countless amounts of negative comments these people receive never go away. They are consistently reminded of their mistake and are never able to fully redeem themselves in the eyes of society. Mistakes do not define a person, and this should be held true in terms of canceling people. 

A case where cancel culture might have been too much is actress Vanessa Hudgens. In March of 2020, Hudgens went live on Instagram where she appeared to have doubted the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. She mentioned how, “Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible… but inevitable?”. After receiving lots of backlash from people all over the media, Hudgens posted an apology to her Twitter account where she acknowledges that her words were not appropriate given the scenario and recognizes that this whole situation has made her realize just how large of an impact her words can have on her fans and viewers. While she deserved the negative comments she received, canceling her altogether was far too much. 

Vanessa Hudgens’ apology was posted to her Twitter account in March 2020 after being canceled.

There can be extreme circumstances in which a person knows that what they are doing is wrong and still chooses to continue on regardless. In this scenario, canceling this person would be more appropriate.

A situation where cancel culture might have been more necessary was in regards to Shane Dawson. Previously a big YouTuber, Dawson has been canceled for a multitude of reasons including, but not limited to doing blackface, sexualizing children, many racist videos and comments, and joking about other highly serious topics. Dawson has done numerous inexcusable things and does not deserve the love and respect he previously received. He now lacks many of the fans he used to have and is getting the more than well-deserved hate for his horrible actions. This was a good way to handle his situation on his fans’ part.

Although normally the reasons a person is canceled for are valid, the idea of canceling people and ruining their careers and lives can be harsh when used too excessively. Society should only cancel celebrities and other people when the situation is completely unforgivable. Everyone is capable of learning from their mistakes and deserves another chance before being entirely ostracized from society.