Dr. Seuss—canceled! James Charles—canceled! Steven Crowder—canceled. The white kid in your class who sang the N word during Mo Bamba—canceled.
And now, the new editor of Teen Vogue.
“If we can’t accept somebody’s sincere apologies for something they tweeted when they were 17 years old. I mean, what are we doing?”
It seems like everyone is either canceling or being canceled. Some of this is a real problem. And some of it is BS nothing-burger. So let’s disentangle this ball of yarn.
Okay, so some cancellations are good. Take Harvey Weinstein, a violent rapist who’s now in jail, as he should be.
Andrew Cuomo complained he was a victim of cancel culture, when really he was just being criticized for covering up COVID nursing home deaths and making women feel uncomfortable.
Criticizing people in power for doing bad things isn’t cancel culture. It’s how the world should work.
Here’s the thing though. There are a whole lot of regular people who are getting mobbed online and canceled. Not because of something they did, but because they hold a problematic opinion. Or because of something they said on social media in their distant past.
Here’s a recent example: Alexi McCammond was a reporter for Axios. You might know of her. She interviewed Ilhan Omar for their HBO show. She was in the tabloids for dating a Biden spokesperson. I was on MSNBC with her a few times. She had recently been named the new editor of Teen Vogue. But then the press “resurfaced” these cringey posts from 10 years ago and called her a racist and homophobic. So she was pushed out.
Here’s the tweet that they found homophobic. First, can I just say, as a gay, that a 17-year-old calling something gay back in 2011, wasn’t great. But it was a pretty standard stupid kid thing. The press calling her homophobic for it, 10 years later, in a headline, is actually more offensive to me than the old stupid tweet.
But then there are other tweets that they found racist. Now these are actually really bad.
But here’s the deal, they “surfaced” already, two years ago. Alexi apologized for them back then. Everyone at Axios says she’s been a great journalist and hasn’t done anything remotely homophobic or racist on the job.
“I’ve worked with her for four years. There’s not a racist bone in her body.”
“Her tweets were racist and indefensible.”
This is the type of thing we all need to be able to work together to solve, rather than have social media mobs handout the death sentence for hungover old college tweets. Cancellation is being weaponized. People are being bullied and intimidated online. And it’s mostly coming from people on the left. A recent poll showed 62 percent of people said that they hold political views that they’re afraid to share because they’re afraid of getting canceled. Sixty-two percent!
We’re making progress on social justice in this country. And that’s encouraging. But progress means change and change means giving people the space to learn and grow and do better. Not go back to a time when we were burning all the witches.
And finally, let’s get to the people who are the actual worst. These fakers are using the problems affecting real people and are pretending like they are the oppressed ones. There’s an entire conservative media ecosystem built around pretending to be silenced, when actually they’re thriving. Listen to Phoebe:
Online and in the media, conservative voices are being silent. I said it on my YouTube channel. Conservative voices are being silent. I said it on Joe Rogan. Conservative voices are being silenced. I said it on Tucker Carlson. Conservative voices are being silenced
Right now, today, conservative and liberal pundits with insane takes have more of an ability to build an audience and profit from it than at any time in history. It’s a golden age for trolls, like this guy: “Equality for white people! If that triggered you in any way, you’re an anti-white racist.”
If we wanna address the real harm from cancel culture. We have to separate out these phony grievance peddlers from the concerning trend of rash mob hysteria.
See you next week on “Not My Party.”