Cancel culture is a myth and it’s only a matter of time until I’m forced to listen to another one of Maher’s offensive and terrible bits.
CW: Mentions of racism, sexual assault, fatphobia, and Islamophobia
I am relieved that I live in a world where powerful people face consequences commensurate with the harm they cause, often after being called out on social media.
Scarlett Johansson, famous tree, has been canceled after whitewashing characters, defending Woody Allen, and trying to play a trans man in a movie. Her punishment: a standalone film in the MCU. How will she recover? Thank God we’re through with Lena Dunham and her white feminism. I couldn’t bear it if she was adapting the story of a Syrian refugee woman for film. After admitting to being guilty of sexual misconduct, Louis C.K. is playing several sold-out shows. I am simply giddy that justice has finally been served. Stanford’s star rapist, Brock Turner, is free after only three months in jail. Cancel culture wins again!
That amount of sarcasm frankly exhausted me more than the people on Twitter constantly decrying cancel culture and mourning its many, many victims.
The fact of the matter is that cancel culture doesn’t exist. The same people who lamented the surge of political correctness have moved their target to so-called cancel culture. This group wants free reign to mock or harm LGBTQ+ people, Muslims, indigenous folks, sexual assault survivors, and everyone else without consequence. That’s why they take aim at any perceived loss of freedom of expression, no matter how evident it is that that freedom was never lost in the first place. Marginalized people on Twitter expressing pain caused by powerful—often famous— folks are not depriving problematic people of opportunities, fame, or money. Social media has just given historically silenced people a platform on which to discuss the abuse we’ve suffered at the hands of powerful people.
Even with the ability to rapidly and widely share a person’s wrongdoing, it is immensely rare for anyone with real power or resources to face consequences more damaging than embarrassment. Often, they don’t even have to acknowledge causing harm.
Bill Maher is a frequent “victim” of cancel culture. It seems as though every time I open Twitter I am inundated with yet another instance of him being offensive, rude, disparaging, or vicious toward entire communities. If canceling people was so effective, why is Bill Maher still being paid for his bad opinions and tired jokes?
She’s supposed to be Wonder Woman but she’s not. Her name is Gal Gadot, she is problematic, and she should answer for these allegations.[TW- discussion of sexual assault and victim-blaming] Gal Gadot is on everyone’s radar right now, not just for her portrayal of Wonder Woman but for seeming to be a real life wonder woman due to her hardline stance against continuing to work with Brett Ratner, who has had sexual harassment allegations brought against him. All that is awesome but it seems extremely hypocritical that no one is taking her to task for her own victim blaming past. On Nov 14, an anonymous woman going by the name “Ima Survivor” published a Medium post that detailed how Gadot bullied and shamed her for being raped by a friend of theirs while modeling in Milan thirteen years ago. The post has been removed from Medium but a cached version can be read here. For those who have not read it yet, the first-person account is extremely graphic and details her rape and subsequent mental and emotional abuse by Gadot. The post made very few waves in the media cycle. Where it was shared, its authenticity was called into question immediately. How do we know this “woman” is telling the truth? Wasn’t she in the military? How do you know this even real? And the answer is, we don’t know if this is real. We don’t know if this account is any more true than the countless people who have recently stepped forward to speak up about the abuse and sexual misconduct they have suffered at the hands of Hollywood elites, some of whom are our faves.
Dubbing the sudden absence of predatory men as the categorical dimming of some bright, new era rings of a false equivalency for many marginalized viewers.If you have remained plugged into our daily Hollywood news cycle, it might seem as if each day brings a newly exposed sexual predator. While that may sound like hyperbole, the sentiment is actually not that inaccurate: since news of Harvey Weinstein's history of assault broke via major press in early October, dozens of celebrity abusers have been publicly identified by their victims. As an audience, our responses to the steady stream of stories have run the gamut – especially for those of us who have our own experiences with sexual abuse. Though some remain focused on the specific trauma (and to be clear, the well-being of the victims ought to be our collective priority), others have their sights set on the potential aftermath. What does all of this mean for Hollywood and the state of entertainment, in general? As we witness the rightful takedown of critically acclaimed men like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., many have wondered how this continued exposure of Hollywood's predatory culture will affect the entertainment landscape, especially within television. Recently, TV critic Ben Travers of IndieWire noted Hollywood's current purge as a mark of permanent change to, in his words, “the new golden age of television.” To his credit, Travers is careful not to cite the onslaught of shamed men as the end of premium entertainment, but rather a potential opportunity for a more inclusive industry. That specific hope echoes those of many BIPOC creators who have been working diligently against the very climate that has systemically boxed them out of opportunities.