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Opinion

Why Cancel Culture Is Not Only Toxic, But Biased Too

Certain celebrities appear to have a get-out-jail-free card.

CREDIT: viarami/pixabay

In a world where social media influences our every move, there’s no denying that it can either make or break a person’s career. But some famous faces seem to be escaping their fate.

Cancel culture has been described as a modern form of ostracism, in which an individual is rejected from society and its members as a result of their actions. It can happen both online or in-person, but is still just as harmful either way. 

You can get cancelled for quite literally anything: your political views, supporting someone who has been cancelled themselves, being unvaccinated, liking pineapple on pizza, having too many/not enough children and basically just sharing any personal opinion you have. You really can’t win and let’s face it, there’s going to be hate regardless of whatever you say.

There’s a long list of celebrities who have faced backlash as a result of what they’ve either said or done, leading to many social media users claiming that they have been ‘cancelled’. The likes of TV host Ellen Degeneres and Glee star Lea Michelle have been criticised for their treatment of costars and were therefore ‘cancelled’ online, whereas Chrissy Teigen and JK Rowling came under fire for their harassment and homophobic comments that were dug up from the very bottom of their Twitter feed. So why are people going to so much effort just to berate these individuals?

https://www.instagram.com/p/CM1PEyAFZBc/

Well there are certainly no excuses for the accusations made against all of the above celebrities, and their actions were ones that should face repercussions, but there are online trolls actively seeking out comments made by famous individuals in order to suspend their careers and give others a reason to dislike them. And that’s the main issue here. Just like the general public, celebrities make mistakes too, the only difference is that they are in the public eye. Racism, homophobia and any other form of hate speech is never okay, but neither is purposefully finding comments with even the slightest hint of negativity that can be spun into a name-bashing story.

There’s an endless supply of toxicity radiating from the internet already, but to dig into a person’s past and somehow make it relevant to today’s society is uncalled for. Let bygones be bygones and focus on the present, a time where everyone is admittedly more woke than they were five years ago and we all have to watch our tongues in case we say something that will be interpreted the wrong way. But still, it’s better than being spiteful.

Now cancel culture is never okay, but there is a list of celebrities that no matter what they do or how badly they hurt an individual or culture, they can’t seem to face even remotely the same amount of backlash as the likes of their friends or fellow industry workers. The name on top of that list? Ariana Grande

The singer has previously been accused of ‘blackfishing’, the act of a white individual presenting themself in a way that alters your skin tone to be darker and essentially changes what ethnicity you appear to be. Recently, singer Jesy Nelson was called out for blackfishing as photos across her ten-year career showed her skin tone gradually getting darker, as many social media users expressed that they didn’t realise she was white.

Miss Grande has once again been accused of cultural appropriation and presenting herself as a different ethnicity, although this time it falls under the category of ‘asianfishing’. One Twitter user took to the platform to highlight the difference between a photo of her from 9 years ago and one uploaded to Instagram this month. She has since deleted the photos, but the images remain on the photographer’s page despite the comments being turned off due to the number of hateful comments that were being posted.

This isn’t the first time Ariana Grande has appropriated Asian culture – her Japanese hand tattoo translated to ‘Barbecue Grill’, not the ‘7 Rings’ reference to her song that she had hoped for. The actress and most recent ‘The Voice’ coach didn’t even apologise for the misuse of the Japanese symbols, nor did she explain the importance of her song title being in Japanese, she simply said “it still looks tight. But this spot also peels a ton and won’t last so if I miss it enough, I’ll suffer thru the whole thing next time”. And her new album still hit the number one spot even after that controversial statement. Talk about bias.

Cancel culture shouldn’t be a thing, but neither should not dismissing evidently harmful and appropriating action. Instead of ‘cancelling’ these celebrities, they should be held accountable for what they have done, but not have their careers ruined. Even Vladimir Putin wants to end cancel culture, so there you have it. Let’s just agree to treat everyone with the same level of scrutiny but also the same level of respect. They have bills to pay too!

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