Cancel culture leads to little justice for its targets online, social media

Written By August Stephens, Staff Writer

Cancel culture, or what is sometimes known as a modern influencer’s worst nightmare, surrounds social media every day. A fan, friend or possibly even a business partner exposes a person for acting inappropriately towards someone or a group of people, and then that person is “canceled.” A celebrity may lose their premier social status after being publicly ridiculed on the internet, which may affect their ultimate bottom line.

Today’s society leaves little room for explanations in cancel culture. People have the option to jump on the bandwagon without properly educating themselves on why the person in question is being canceled in the first place. There are times where people get canceled for odd reasons, such as when Tyler Oakley was canceled for being a landlord. Comments left hundreds or thousands of times could negatively affect everyone’s mental health involved.

Cancel culture has affected major names in pop culture—Ellen Degeneres, Marilyn Manson, J.K. Rowling and Sia are among the largest celebrities to be threatened by cancel culture. Their professional reputations have been damaged after fans’ negative reactions to their involvement in certain controversies. In J.K. Rowling’s case, according to Bloomsbury, her Harry Potter book sales increased during the pandemic, even after supporting transphobic Twitter comments.

Hashtags often trend on Twitter or Instagram, saying the “#(Name)IsOverParty.” Viewers glamorize the idea of people being condemned for actions they participated in possibly a decade ago or more. The idea of ending someone’s career over an offensive, but potentially arbitrary moment is disappointing and overall controversial in and of itself. Boycotting or openly criticizing a person for their past (or present) can occur without actively sabotaging celebrities or influencers.

Call-out culture gives people who do not usually have the platform to speak their mind to a widespread audience an opportunity to do so. Cancel culture is typically fast and bold, cutting down powerful people from their pedestal in a matter of days, barely allowing proper time for the cancelled person to send out a statement if they choose to do so. The option of whether to speak or not can be left completely up to the decision of the individual. A statement may not be paid attention to if the wave of comments and feedback has flooded the situation at hand.

The response to a person or group of people trying to call out someone could be met with shock, anger, or potentially even agreement . With an overflow of information, it can be overwhelming for everyone involved to witness and respond to. People could get out of hand with their comments as well, which has the possibility of harming others. Bystanders’ discussions also could offend certain individuals who are talking without knowing their background or identity, such as with the David Chapelle Netflix controversy.

Everyone is human at the end of the day, but that does not mean absolutely everyone’s actions are excusable. People who are “canceled” should realize the theoretical weight of their actions and apologize.

Cancel culture brings toxicity and drama into an already unhealthy social environment. “Famous” or “popular” people should be held accountable for their actions in and outside of their creative realm in a different way. The likelihood of such a person changing their behavior for the better in this social climate is a long, painful, and arguably improbable process.

A person being “canceled” also begs the question of whether it’s really necessary. If every Shane Dawson or Jeffree Star consumer were to boycott their makeup, what merit would they have left? A steady internet history sure, but their impact on others may dramatically decline. Cancel culture is an excuse to bombard people on the internet with more negativity than is needed in such a tumultuous time period.

People, including Point Park University students, could stop participating in cancel culture. In order for the accusatory environment to be fixed, the celebrity could be boycotted without exploding on the internet, or for the influencer involved to be able to give a statement that will be seen. It is up to the fanbase as to if their popularity will rise or fall after their possibly problematic actions.