Compulsive cancellation

With the rise of social justice on social media, different celebrities face cancellation


Photo by Kristina Colburn

Celebrities are “canceled” for the things they say or do everyday. This form of protest has become common in today’s technology reliant society.

Story by Blaise Larry-Cox, Staff Writer

“Being Canceled”, the fear ubiquitously shared in the modern era. The fear of being canceled has impacted what people feel comfortable doing, saying, and participating in. Even a slight chance of public outcry has made political correctness an undeniable facet of how individuals think.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines cancel culture as “The practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.” But it has come to mean many things to many people. To the liberal left it’s necessary for social accountability , to the conservative right it’s the biggest threat to our democracy.

Canceling can be for a variety of reasons, but the most common reasons are words and actions that offend an often marginalized group of people; such as women, LGBTQ+, or religious groups.

The Amber Heard and Johnny Depp case is one of the most prudent examples of cancelation, with both actors being cancelled at one point. In 2017, the couple divorced after a year of marriage.The following year, Heard wrote a op-ed in which she considered herself a survivor of sexual violence and domestic violence against men, never naming Depp by name, but heavily implying him.

 He was labelled a “Wife beater” by the Sun Newspaper, and dropped from deals worldwide. Heard on the other hand was praised for her ability to speak out and hold him accountable in the #MeToo era yet months later he sued her for defamation stating that he never abused her, she abused him.

 The lawsuit was full of surprises but In the end the jury ruled that Depp had been defamed by Heard with malice, and she was then publicly slandered and canceled, for ruining his career with allegations.

Being canceled can interfere with or ruin entire careers, decades of dedication thrown away by one single quote, a lifetime of work destroyed by a tweet.

Rapper DaBaby is also a big name that has had his career derailed by controversy, in his case for homophobic remarks. During his set at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami, Florida,with a crowd of thousands listening, he made many hateful comments about HIV/AIDS, women and the gay community in rapid succession, telling them to “Put your cellphone light in the air” if it didn’t apply to them.

He was promptly dropped from many other summer music festivals such as Lollapalooza ,and Austin City Limits. He released an apology on Instagram, but then went on to say in his comments that the remarks did not apply to his gay fans, as they are not “nasty gay junkies”.

His hateful rhetoric and opinions did not blow over lightly, he was pulled off the air on nationwide radio stations with his most popular song ‘Levitating’ being rerun with the version not featuring him.

Dababy was then in his words ‘Blackballed’ from the music industry, with many rappers no longer associating with him. Causing his next album to sell just 17,000 units in the first week, where the one sold before had  124,000 units in the first week.

He had fallen from one of the most listened to rappers of 2021, to insignificance.

This is an example of cancel culture working as it should, to hold people accountable for things that they say, now starting to become a consequence culture.

The most recent name to be canceled is Kanye West, the polarising rapper and celebrity. After his recent remarks on the Jewish and Black Community, he’s been condemned worldwide. The infamous tweet “When I wake up I’m going death con 3 on Jewish people,is where the spree started. Leading to an overwhelming majority of his brands dropping him, blockbuster deals with Gap and Adidas went up in smoke. 

His partnership with Gap, ‘Yeezy Gap’ to be specific, was engineered with Balenciaga ,and estimated to generate 1 billion dollars a year. However, nothing hurt West more than the Adidas deal crashing and burning, losing him billions in net worth.

People are not the only thing that can be canceled, however, as businesses and corporations aren’t free from persecution as well.

In November 2022, the fashion house Balenciaga started their fall campaign, “Balenciaga Gift Shop.” It featured suggestive products such as teddy bears in bondage and models with wine glasses, which would be on theme for a high fashion house in normal circumstances, but these were not normal circumstances. These models were young girls.

The backlash was swift and unrelenting, with the company having to pull the entire campaign, and the company, CEO, and artistic director all issuing apologies independently of each other, and many high profile individuals ceasing their partnerships with the company.

 It was society coming together and collectively stating that this would not be stood for or go unpunished, society working together to put an end to hurtful ideology. Cancel culture can be used for ridiculous reasons but the views and points behind it are necessary in a growing social climate.