Canceling culture clearly doesn’t work


MEL Gibson has a new job. It’s Mel Gibson, who over the years has been accused of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism. It’s Mel Gibson, the man Winona Ryder calls her an “Oven Dodger.” (He denied it). It was Mel Gibson who struck a deal in a domestic violence case.

Gibson landed a role in the John Wick TV spin-off, The Continental. I guess if you’re a big name you can bounce off anything. He was even sentenced to three years’ probation for allegedly beating his girlfriend.

Guys, I’m starting to think that this crop cancellation thing isn’t working.

Meanwhile, Roman Polanski, who in the 1970s fled Los Angeles after admitting he was guilty of illegal sex with a minor, spent the next three decades making films in Europe and working on a new film. . Morrissey continues to make records despite the alienation of half of his fans with his notorious political views. Woody Allen is in pre-production on a new film despite all the allegations of sexual abuse swirling around his name (accusations he has vigorously denied).

The two men have not been canceled as far as I know. They’ve all been criticized, yes, but that’s something else.

We live in a loud, angry place where loud, verbally violent voices get a lot of airtime and social media stacks are a matter of fact. But I am wary of expressions like “cancel culture”. It’s dog whistling language, often used in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of one side of the argument.

Read more: There is no more shame in politics

It is generally used by middle aged white men (and I am all of them) who are a little taken aback that not everyone agrees with them. And who are often offered a public forum to denounce the fact that they have been “canceled”. Jeremy Kyle is the most obvious recent example. He claimed this in September about ITV’s decision to cut the Jeremy Kyle Show in 2019. His show was put on hold, you may recall, following the death of attendee Steve Dymond. , a week after his appearance on the show. A coroner later ruled that Kyle “may have caused or contributed” to Dymond’s death. The interview in which Kyle said he had been “canceled” was meant to promote the fact that he had a new radio show. Is that what you call cognitive dissonance?

The reality is, if the culture of cancellation exists, it is not doing a good job. Are there people who have been attacked because of their opinions? Clearly. Just look on Twitter. Have you lost work? Very probably. Actor James Dreyfus believes he did it for standing up for JK Rowling when she was accused of transphobia.

But freedom of speech surely comes provided that your words and actions can have consequences. It could mean that Smiths fans (like me) aren’t buying your latest record if you champion far-right political parties (well, that and the fact that you haven’t made a decent record since 1994). Or it can mean being abandoned because, frankly, you are hurting potential sales.

Unless you’re Mel Gibson.

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