By Lorin Alukonis
For the past few years, the ideology of “Cancel Culture” has boomed across all social media platforms, taking out well-known celebrities and essentially destroying their career. This trend, as some may call it, is the action of digging up a celebrity’s past secret(s) and mistakes in order to basically ruin their life. Many people aren’t sure what side to take on this phenomenon since there are positives and negatives that come with it. Should society forgive an individual’s mistakes, and let them learn from them or hatefully ostracize them with no chance at redemption?
Many cancel-worthy situations arise from accusations, whether true or false, and are immediately brought to the public’s attention. The goal of this trend is to permanently destroy someone’s reputation; this means an anonymous account can simply write a statement and spread it through social media platforms, such as Twitter, to make sure everyone sees it. Examples of cancel situations can be as petty as a toxic ex-girlfriend wanting to get back at her ex-boyfriend or something serious like an A-list celebrity having racist tweets resurface.
Most likely makeup guru Jeffree Star comes to mind when the topic of racist tweets pops up. In 2017, tweets from the beginning of the decade resurfaced of him using racial slurs and stereotypes towards the black community. He has made numerous apology videos over the recent years trying to convince his viewers that it was something he didn’t realize was wrong, yet some people still aren’t convinced he has changed.
“I think Cancel Culture is immature and stupid,” junior Armen Festekjian said. “Everybody is going to make a mistake, and in today’s society, everyone has become softer than Charmin. It’s good to give people second chances and let them grow from mistakes. Just because you don’t agree on what someone says or does, doesn’t mean you have to ruin their life.”
However being able to anonymously call someone out can be a good thing as well for people who don’t want their identity revealed. There have been many instances where sexual assault victims have been able to come out and speak about their experience in a way where they can stay hidden from people they know in real life. Whether it’s because they’re embarrassed or not ready to talk about the topic in detail, sometimes keeping their identity hidden is necessary. By anonymously telling their story, they can have justice for the crime committed against them.
Although it is a great thing to call someone out on their horrible mistakes, there is a possibility it is completely false. When the whole world wants to see the fall of a celebrity, it can be extremely difficult to prove they are innocent. Typically, someone who is cancelled will release screenshots of messages, aka “receipts,” between the accuser and themself to prove what they did was not true. However, there is also a possibility that the screenshots can be completely fake on either party involved. Clearly, there are many sides to a story, and if an individual is on the wrong one, they most likely can’t come back from it. At that point, it is up to the internet to determine whether or not they can live a normal life or be shunned endlessly.
“Cancel Culture is a bad thing because it seems more for the entertainment of others,” junior Juliana Oliver said. “We shouldn’t be messing and ruining others’ lives based on one thing they did. Although there are exceptions in some cases, people who put their entire lives online for us are bound to make a mistake.”
In general, some topics that can cancel someone involve being offensive or insensitive to certain groups of people. For example, those who mention anything negative about groups or individuals regarding LGBTQ+, any race/minority, disabilities, and more are prone to immediately being cancelled. Currently, we live in an age where we preach that everyone is equal no matter what they identify as, and if someone comes along and speaks down to them, then obviously they would receive plenty of backlash.
Another purpose of cancelling someone is to call out their mistakes and make them realize what they did was wrong, and they can improve from it. If a famous youtuber says a slur without being told it is unacceptable, then they would continue to use it until it is brought to the attention of millions. In a way, bringing someone down can be a positive motivator to change their insensitive actions and improve them as an overall person. One of the major examples of this type of situation was back in 2017 when Pewdiepie, a youtuber with 110 million subscribers, accidentally said a racial slur during a livestream. Shortly following, he posted an apology video on the platform which addressed the incident thoroughly and saved him from being cancelled. This is a frequent occurrence in the Youtube community where an influence would post a low quality video whilst most likely crying, trying to explain why they are sorry. Of course, this leads to many people not accepting an apology since it seems too fake or even scripted because of the lack of any true meaning behind their words.
“I remember when the whole Pewdiepie situation happened,” freshman Bella Morris said. “He is still one of my favorite youtubers, but all the hate he got from saying a word made me second guess. I think he has redeemed himself and grew from the person that was shown in the video.”
Once someone’s mistakes are revealed online, big news sources such as TMZ and Daily Mail spread the message even further across the nation, leading others to follow the cancel train. Through the power of the internet, people’s true nature and biggest secrets can be exposed for the entire public to see, leading to the downfall of many fan-favorites. This phenomenon gives influencers a chance to change their old ways or eradicate any future that is left.