By PEYTON MAULSBY
Ariana Grande, Kevin Hart, Logan Paul, Taylor Swift. What do they all have in common? They’ve all fallen victim to what’s come to be known as “cancel culture.”
The official definition of cancel culture is “an agreement not to amplify, signal boost
It seems many people on social media these days don’t have a line to draw. Kevin Hart has made homophobic comments in the past that he has apologized for again and again, and yet people won’t let him forget. What does this aim to accomplish? Celebrities are people just like you and me, and they make mistakes and change their viewpoints over time just like you and me, they just have to do it in the spotlight. Why does this mean that we don’t give them the opportunity to change and get better?
In January 2018, YouTuber Logan Paul posted a video of a corpse he found in the Aokigahara forest in Japan, commonly known as the suicide forest for the amount of people who go there to commit suicide. This video wasn’t live, so he would have had a chance to exercise better judgement before including this horrific scene in his video, but he decided to show it anyway to garner more views. #LoganPaulIsOverParty and other hashtags trended afterwards, and yet he still gets millions of views on his videos. Can he be forgiven, or has this gone too far?
Even more recently, Ariana Grande has come under fire for seeming to fetishize lesbians in her new music video. Some say that she baited her LGBT fans with the expected same-sex relationship in her music video, but the video itself was said to only cater to the male gaze. She also has a history of making her skin look darker than it actually is, and some equate this to blackface. I doubt cancel culture will affect her very much since she has such a large fanbase, but is it ethical to let these mistakes define her?
And what role do apologies play in this? Can a strategically worded apology by a celebrity and possibly their public relations team ever be genuine? Many of these apologies follow the same structure, seemingly down to an exact formula on how best to get audiences to forgive celebrities.
It’s hard to say at what point an apology can be taken to heart, but generally, the ideal situation would be to let everyone decide for themselves on an individual basis. If one person can forgive a celebrity for something offensive, that’s their own predisposition, but they shouldn’t force others to forgive the celebrity, too. And on the other end, people who can’t forgive the negative action can’t force others to cancel the celebrity as well.
That would be the ideal situation. But in a world run by hashtags, will it ever be realistic?