The wrath of cancel culture

Social media platforms hurl their presence into all aspects of our lives, leading users to find a keen interest in placing celebrities under a microscope. The slightest slip-up by these figures can create a tidal wave of hate and scrutiny.

 This is known as cancel culture, and it is polarizing, exploited and criticized. Cancel culture was created by the masses as a way to hold influential people accountable for their actions. It is only truly effective when bank accounts have been depleted, chances of receiving another job in the public light are thrown out of the window, and the voice and words of the canceled are irrelevant and ignored. Cancel Culture should provide a brutal reality check and show those who are facing cancellation the harsh consequences that come with their harmful actions.  But for some people, like the celebrities listed below, it doesn’t achieve that goal. 

 

Full of magic (and lots of tweets) – J.K. Rowling 

Joanne Kathleen “J.K.” Rowling has built an empire built on spreading magic and hope to young witches and wizards. Undoubtedly full of talent, Rowling has continuously earned money from the Harry Potter franchise, marked by the publishing of her first book in 1997. This catapulted her net worth to over a billion dollars. 

While Rowling’s brain may have catapulted her into billionaire status, it also created a space for her to share her harmful opinions. In a series of tweets, Rowling voiced her anger toward transgender women. In 2020, she responded to an article who used the term, “people who menstruate” with, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Unsettled with the fact that the article did not use the term women, Rowling later tweeted, “TERF Wars.” TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. 

Rowling’s hateful messages were met by disappointed, shocked and angry fans. Despite this backlash, Rowlings’ bank account continues to grow and her Harry Potter empire continues to expand. Rowlings’ growing net worth does not signify that cancel culture is ineffective; however, it does point out its flaws. Even if a person is generally disliked for their offensive views, they can continue to increase their financial success.

 

 

The long and twisted fall down from success – Armie Hammer

In January 2021, the floodgates opened and claims against “Call Me By Your Name” star, Armie Hammer began. An anonymous Instagram account, “houseofeffie” posted screenshots from her and Hammer’s alleged four-year-long affair where he continuously physically and mentally abused her. He sent her messages expressing his desire to drink her blood and explicitly detailing his rape fantasies. Hammer continued to be exposed by the different women he was messaging on Instagram. “I am 100 percent cannibal,” Hammer wrote in a text message that was later posted on Instagram. “I want to eat you.”

Hammer was quickly dropped by his management, as public outrage against his actions continued to rise. Hammer was then fired from movie projects and Broadway shows and is allegedly broke. Despite the universal shock over Hammer’s acts, two years later he continues to have a platform to make his voice heard. Air Mail interviewed Hammer in February, allowing him to share his side of the story where he denies the accused rape. 

Even though his bank account, public image and potential jobs in the future will never recover, Hammer still maintains a platform where fans and haters alike want to hear his voice. This shows a flaw of cancel culture; even though every aspect of Hammer was negatively impacted, people still care about his story.

Cancel culture has a large level of power over the influential people of the world. Many argue that cancel culture has unfairly humiliated those who have made small mistakes, ones that we make on a daily basis. For example, Charli D’Amelio refusing to eat a snail launched a title wave of hate from all sides of the internet. The reaction of hate and disgust towards D’Amelio was not warranted by her actions. 

Social media has paved a way for users to hold celebrities accountable and shine a spotlight on mistakes, and bad intentions, but the underbelly of cancel culture can feed off the smallest of things, like D’amelio spitting out a snail.

The ideology behind canceling culture is just. Why should we not call out bad behavior by those who are placed on a pedestal? Where the power of cancel culture falls short is it fails to educate those who have made small errors and instantly deems them as awful people. Cancel culture is necessary for holding people accountable for their harmful actions, however truly canceling someone is easier said than done.