Cancel cultures reach
While cancel culture’s reach is boundless in its pursuit of “social justice” , it has been seen over the years passing over or completely avoiding certain people, mainly celebrities’. For example a very recent event that has transpired over the last few weeks involves makeup YouTuber James Charles where he has been accused of exchanging inappropriate messages with minors. During most of the month of March he didn’t acknowledge the accusations and how they were rapidly gaining attention on social media platforms like Tik Tok and Twitter. Then towards the end of the month he released a video in which he accepted responsibility for the conversations that transpired between him and the minors. During this confession he admitted that what he did was wrong saying” I fully understand my actions and how they were wrong,”. However in the video he claimed that during both conversations he was told by the kids that they were 18(apparently both kids were around 16). This could have been a potential valid point if it wasn’t for the fact that this was just the most recent of several sexually related accusations that have been made against James over the past few years which includes of grooming underage boys(this accusation came very early in the year) which he denied. Despite these and several other accusations James hasn’t been cancelled yet for his actions. True their has been some actions, like him being replaced as host for a show he co-created called ” Instant Influencer” but over all he hasn’t nearly faced the full backlash of cancel culture as many others have had before. No cut ties from his sponsors, no major backlash from his fans, no legal action, nothing.
Another prime example is actor Jussie Smollett. Jussie was an actor on the popular show “Empire” who claimed that back in early 2019 he was attacked late one night by two white racists in Chicago. He described the assailants as have been wearing “MAGA” hats and proceeded to beat him, call him slurs, pour bleach on him and even placed a noose around his neck. His story took off as huge called to stop racism and he received support from thousands of people calling for justice. However as time progressed it became more apparent that nothing was a clear as it seemed. Eventually Chicago police were led to the Osundairo brothers, former extras on “Empire” who claimed that Jussie paid them to beat him up in an attempt to earn more fame. After searching the the brother’s apartment and finding a significant amount of evidence, Smollett was arrested on “16 felony counts of ‘false report of offense'” Instead of cancel culture tearing Jussie to pieces and the law charge him based on the overwhelming evidence, on March 26,2019 the Chicago/cook County District attorney’s office dismissed Smollett on all charges. While if this were to happen to almost any one else the Media would have a field day dragging not only them but the Attorney’s office through the mud. But surprisingly the opposite happened. The media buried it with the idea that “hate crime hoaxes are vanishingly rare”. That Smollett’s actions don’t excuse the idea that hate crimes don’t happen or that for one extremely bold title from the website “Quartz” ” The Jussie Smollett Case Shows Exactly Why We Need to Take Hate Crimes More Seriously.” The media used his lie to push the discussion of hate crimes, then when he got exposed rather than put his lie on the spotlight, they gently shuffled it to the back where it would be forgotten.
How are some people able to avoid the wrath of Cancel culture? To be honest their isn’t a solid answer for it, but their is a potential idea as to why. It should important to note these ideas aren’t backed by sources but based on observations that I have noticed over the last several years of seeing these incidents unfold. The potential reason as to why these people along with a few others have escaped Cancel culture is due to political affiliation. The one underlying factor that hasn’t been mentioned about Jussie, James and the others which weren’t mentioned is that they are all openly Democratic. Not to mention these people tend to file into certain groups that the Democratic party are pushing for their “rights ” (LGBT ,POC ,Women ,etc.). It’s possible that these people escape cancel culture due to the fact that if they are pushed into that kind of scenario it could either hurt the party itself, or the movements that back these celebrities. So the media will instead turn a blind eye towards these actions in an effort to cover it up. But then again it could also be that they so happened to get lucky and through chance avoided being cancelled.
While some people may avoid the wrath of Cancel culture. The rest of us aren’t as lucky. The idea behind it is to cancel the offender in order to fix the problem. But rather than fix it. It makes it much worse. A example as to why can be seen in smokers. In a study conducted by researcher at UCLA two groups of smokers were brought in and given several tasks to do. The goal of the research was to see how long the groups could do the tasks and see if they would smoke or not. The only difference between the groups is that group 1 was given a neutral message about their participation in the experiment while group 2 was randomly exposed to negative stereotypes about smokers culled from antismoking campaigns. Through the research it was determined that ” Participants exposed to the stigmatizing messages lighted up(smoked) sooner, on average, than participants in the control group. ” In fact after 40 minutes almost all of group 2 started to smoke, while only 20% of group one did. One of the underlying reasons this happens is a psychological phenomenon known as stereotype threat were”… people are so anxious about being identified in a negative way that they end end confirming the behaviors they are trying so hard to disprove. ” This kind of behavior isn’t solely restricted to smoking either. This can be seen by the Human rights groups who use shaming as a tactic. In an article published by Cambridge university about rights groups shaming people it was stated that ” ..shaming is likely to produce anger, resistance, backlash, and deviance from outgroup norms, or denial and evasion.” Meaning that through the efforts of shaming people the human rights groups are getting farther from their goals rather than closer to it. Cancel’s cultures attempts to quell racism in people instead add more fuel to the flame, leading to more conflict down the road.
Reilly, W. Are Hate Crime Hoaxers Above the Law? . Acad. Quest. 32, 553–561 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12129-019-09829-x
Snyder, J. (2020). Backlash against human rights shaming: Emotions in groups. International Theory, 12(1), 109-132. doi:10.1017/S1752971919000216
: Shaming Smokers Can Backfire — Journal Report – ABI/INFORM Collection – ProQuest (rowan.edu)
Vujić, K. (2021, April 05). A guide to the many, many scandals of James Charles. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://www.thecut.com/article/james-charles-allegations-and-accusations-explained.html
Holding myself accountable. (2021, April 01). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsjwRp8_lWA