Commentary: Overrated Cancel Culture


Briana Shelvin, Staff Writer

Cancel culture is defined as an act of public shaming that’s based on either something that is perceived or confirmed on social media like racism, misogyny, transphobia and the list could go on.

Cancel culture was first introduced when people on the Twitter app would look for old tweets or videos of someone doing something that is inappropriate or not right-minded.

Some of the most trending public figures of 2020 and 2021 who were cancelled were Ellen DeGeneres, Shane Dawson, and Lana Del Rey. Users on Tiktok, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter all felt like these celebrities and influencers were supposed to take accountability for past comments or actions and ‟expose” them.

Recently, Ellen DeGeneres was exposed by a large number of employees at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for her mistreatment of workers. Some people described the work environment as being toxic as well as  racist. Many of those people take issue with her “be kind” persona on the show and how, behind the scenes, she does everything but. For many of the people trying to expose her, it’s not only about racism, but also respect and human decency.

Celebrities like Nikki Tutorials and Mariah Carey have all said that their interviews with DeGeneres were awkward and uncomfortable. Tutorials in particular spoke later on a Dutch TV program lamenting the fact that things were not nearly as friendly backstage as they seemed on camera.

There are those that have been targeted by the cancel culture for reasons that some disagree with. For example, R. Kelly,  Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby — that’s when cancel culture becomes warranted and makes sense. Another example of cancelling someone can be digging up something from that person’s past and not having the correct facts or context. It can sometimes involve people being too quick to judge and can even be considered bullying.

Shane Dawson, an American Youtuber with over 30 million subscribers, was cancelled for doing blackface, saying racial slurs, insulting people with disabilities and joking about pedophilia. He later apologized, but things worsened for Shane after he posted the apology. The video on YouTube received 19 million views, but he lost millions of subscribers. His career should go downhill from this or be tarnished.

Another person wrongly targeted by the cancel culture is Lana Del Rey, an American musician who debuted in 2010. She came out with a statement on Instagram that made a lot of people angry. The post itself, which currently has 150,000 comments, discusses artists like Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, and Nicki Minaj getting chart-topping singles by singing or rapping about sex and cheating. She wonders why she is getting harassed or “hated on” for singing about dancing for money, struggling with abuse, and other issues that big-name artists rap about as well.

In terms of explaining cancel culture, it’s infiltrating everywhere. The whole topic is problematic and could actually be fixed. I have also come to the conclusion that cancelling a person can be a good cause.