Cancel Culture is possible without Twitter or company. One angry Facebook or Twitter post. You can multiply the number of shares by hundreds (or thousands) in a relatively short period of time. You’re done! It’s easy to make a single complaint and have the target look for another job or apologize. Often, it’s both.
There’s another component of Cancel Culture, though, one that amplifies that social media messaging in profound ways. Mainstream media. The mainstream media is very pro-Cancel Culture. They haven’t collectively said as much, and some may be uncomfortable admitting so in public. Their actions prove otherwise. For more details, shout.
Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious, like TheWrap.com’s four-part audio series on the topic. Listen closely, or just sample a few sound bites, and it’s clear where the far-left Hollywood site stands on the matter. Let’s get it going.
Other times it’s more subtle. It’s amazing how many reporters rush to comment on a star when they are in the middle of cancelling a film. Do you remember Halle Berry, Oscar-winning actress and producer who agreed to portray a transgender character in a feature movie for five minutes? After quitting her gig, she went on an embarrassing Apology Tour. USA TodayWe tried to push the buttons further.
The liberal news outlet printed Berry’s hostage-style apology:
As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories … I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake. As a cisgender woman, I pledge to support better representation in the media.
The reporter wasn’t done, though: “USA TODAY has reached out to Berry’s rep for further comment.” “Further comment?” What else could she say? Plus, there’s little doubt the actress’ rep told the Monster’s BallStar about additional media inquiries.
It’s one thing for a star to be besieged on social media. A star may also receive calls from a dozen people. New York Times or other legacy outlets, the pressure to respond in the only “approved” way grows exponentially.
You can call it polite bullying. Or more evidence that the editor or journalist wants to embarrass even more of the star. Cancel Culture’s infuriation would make the entire industry cry. Today’s news editors behave otherwise.
And we’re seeing it again, courtesy of Dave Chappelle. The comedy icon released his latest Netflix special, “The Closer,” Oct. 5 on the streaming giant. Chappelle gives an explanation and almost doubles down about jokes that have been deemed unsuitable by woke activists in the special. His critics dubbed the material “transphobic,” just like they did two years ago when he uncorked similar barbs on “Sticks & Stones.”
Reporters use these terms as though they’re undisputed. Note many of the same outlets will deploy the scare quotes around terms like “woke” and “Cancel Culture” as if neither may only exist in the minds of their critics. It’s laughable.
Multiple media waves attacked Chappelle. Sometimes reporters weaponize a modest number of social media posts – as little as three – to build the narrative that the comedian had stepped out of bounds.
Other outlets gave major coverage to a fierce Chappelle critic who happened to be a trans female – the Dear White People show runner who “boycotted” Netflix over the special.
Some reporters tried to blame Chappelle when a trio of far-left activist Netflix employees, including a trans worker who complained about the comic’s special, got suspended for barging into a corporate meeting unannounced. It’s not officially Fake News, just purposefully deceptive.
Andrew Sullivan is a well-known pundit, who skews from Trump paranoia to right-leaning bon mots. He attacked the media for their Chappelle attacks. “The way the elite media portrays us, you’d think every member of the BLT community is so fragile we cannot laugh at ourselves,” says Sullivan, a gay man.
The veteran scribe wasn’t done with the media yet:
The current debate, in other words, is not about being pro or anti-trans, in the lazy formula of woke media…it’s about whether a tiny group of fanatics, empowered by every major cultural institution, can compel or emotionally blackmail other people into saying things that are not true.
CNN is where the ratings die. A CNN contributor and the guest host used the platform for Netflix subscriptions to be cut off. The closer
The media will quickly resurrect any offenses committed by a celebrity and ask if the star should be permitted to carry on their work. Morgan Wallen was the country superstar and was fired for once using the n–word against a person of color. He had been drinking, and was accused of saying something indecent. He broadcast an extended apology on ABC, a major broadcaster.
Wallen was suspended by his label and lost radio time across streaming and traditional stations. So when Wallen dared to pop up on stage with fellow singer Eric Church earlier this month Billboard couldn’t just report that event as is. They recalled that Church and Wallen were both friends and collaborators away from the stage. It then moved on to retelling the story of the cancellation, every detail being recited as though it had just happened. Is that the point? Church might need to take more care of his professionals friends. Or Wallen hasn’t paid proper penance for his thought crime quite yet.
It is clear that the bigger message is very important. Cancel Culture is wanted by mainstream journalists, regardless of the fact that its victims often die young and fail to prosper.
[Cross-posted from Hollywood In Toto]