On The Resurgence Of Cancel Culture
Predatory animals often go after the weak member of a herd. Right now, there is severe weakness among some people in the public eye. And the destroyers have taken this opportunity to make some easy kills.
On Monday, the showrunner for CW’s “The Flash,” Eric Wallace, released a statement that actor Hartley Sawyer will not return for the seventh season. Sawyer plays Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. He is a fan favorite character and the most recent season introduced the character’s future wife from the comics. This iteration of Dibny is a former crooked cop who turns his life around and decides to be a hero, growing more selfless after getting the metahuman power to stretch great lengths.
The reason for Sawyer’s dismissal is a barrage of resurfaced tweets from Sawyer that were described as “racist and misogynistic.” Never mind the fact that Sawyer deleted his Twitter and apologized immediately on his Instagram. Or that he had been parroting the Black Lives Matter narrative these past few weeks. He had to pay for his sins.
These tweets only resurfaced because 18-year-old former Disney Channel star, Skai Jackson, has recently decided to take up a hobby of highlighting negative pieces of people’s’ pasts and destroying their careers with a concentrated attack. According to CNN, somebody else found the tweets and sent them to Jackson to post. Jackson has argued that she is using her platform for good and that it isn’t as these people were innocent of wrongdoing. Or in this case, wrong-tweeting.
Here is where this diverges from the rational. To cancel culture devotees, there is no such thing as forgiveness. If a person sins, there is no way to atone. Never mind that the tweets Hartley Sawyer made were from years before he was even hired for The Flash.
It is important to distinguish the difference between cancel culture and freedom to disassociate. Sometimes people claim to be cancelled when they aren’t and oftentimes when it is happening, the people doing the cancelling defend it as bringing about new information to allow people to make association decisions. The major difference is that when somebody is cancelled, the person is not given a chance to explain or apologize. Oftentimes the cancellation stems from an old statement. But people are not allowed to grow or change. A more rational course of action would be to evaluate whether a person has changed and how terrible the sin was.
Take Michelle Malkin for instance. In another article, I mentioned how she has claimed to be a victim of cancel culture. This is inaccurate because most conservatives did their damndest to give her a chance to explain her recent choice to loudly support an alt-right movement. I think that right now, most conservatives would forgive her if she apologized. Even now. The rational viewpoint is that people can change. There are numerous people who used to be involved in violence, or some who have believed this kind of nasty narratives, who now educate others why this is wrong. Should all of those people be discounted and swept overboard because we can’t accept that people can mature and change.
Sawyer’s tweets were attempts at edgy humor. I don’t personally find then funny. However it is disingenuous to make him out to be a monster. They are far more tame than James Gunn’s tweets that lost him his Marvel job that he later regained after a backlash. Mike Cernovich purposely took Gunn’s tweets and tried to get him cancelled. That was wrong. Now a similar occurrence is happening with Hartley Sawyer for milder tweets and nobody significant is backing him up.
Sawyer’s Flash costars have largely backed his firing or remained silent. The show’s lead, Grant Gustin, endorsed the termination. Another costar, Danielle Nicolet, posted that it is “heartbreaking” when people she works with are revealed to be not who the people they present themselves to be. Though who’s to say that Sawyer was being truer to himself in those edgy tweets. Maybe his true self could be seen through his years of personal interactions with cast-mates, who don’t dare defend his livelihood, and throw him under the bus. Never mind that there are countless cases of other famous people who have made far more disgusting statements. The woke crowd weighs the sin based on intersectional identity, weakness, and level of political commitment to the cause.
Sometimes the best way to avoid a cancellation is not to apologize, but if you don’t have a large fanbase or actually believe what you did was wrong, you might feel like you need to. There are a lot of people who don’t get the support or have the option of going independent successfully. Disney severed ties YouTune phenomenon, PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg) and his reality show was cancelled following a series of ill-advised, but not ill-intended pranks paying people to display shocking statements. While the notable message was antisemitic, it was used to measure what extremes people would go to for money. Kjellberg has no predjudice toward Jewish people. His fans understood that. He is friends with Jewish YouTubers and has even had Ben Shapiro participate in his “Meme Review” series. PewDiePie recovered, having already made a name for himself on his own so he didn’t have to rely on others. I believe it was wrong for his show to be cancelled since he apologized and his viewers know he’s not racist. It also helped PewDiePie that he didn’t retreat and stop making content like so many other cancelled people. Actors like Sawyer can get stuck because they rely on major studios.
Somebody has to stand up for these people. If people are not allowed to learn and change from life experience, and be redeemed, then they we might as well give up on redemption. People will become incentivized to not try to become better people when they make mistakes. Because people make mistakes. And the grim reapers of cancel culture will come after even more people. Even people who now present themselves as woke and supportive of leftwing causes. Although we may disagree with some of the victims, conservatives and anybody who thinks people deserve second chances, should try to prevent this from happening.