Don’t Call It Cancel Culture: Plenty Of People Are Simply Uncancellable
Cancel culture is something we are constantly talking about. If we believe the media, people got canceled all the time for small or big offenses, but does it really work? Well, it depends. I am not talking about the Weinstein and Bill Cosby of the world, of course, these guys get canceled because they are rapists, and criminals who belong in jail, but I am talking about people who are supposedly canceled because they have said something on Twitter or done an offensive thing elsewhere.
A few years ago, footage of rapper Travis Scott emerged showing him calling some people ‘a bunch of queers’ and ‘faggots’ at Houston’s House of Blues. He apologized but if cancel culture really worked, this incident could have put an end to his career. However, it didn’t seem to have hurt him a bit. The same can be said of J.K. Rowling: the Harry Potter author received intense criticism after she tweeted a few things perceived as transphobic, but she is still the very successful author she has always been. People even wanted to cancel Taylor Swift after the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West drama. Again, it didn’t work, and Taylor is currently one of our most successful artists.
Tweets and incidents like these sometimes have consequences, especially if you have an employer – comedian Shane Gillis was fired from Saturday Night Live after a video of him making racist jokes surfaced – but if you don’t have an employer, there’s no real problem. Look at Kanye West, after his very public support of Trump and his shocking comment about ‘slavery being a choice,’ he is still doing whatever he wants, from Sunday services to operas at the Hollywood Bowl attended by the Hollywood elite. Even Louis CK was not canceled by his audience after his masturbation scandal. HBO, Netflix may have dropped him, but he also sold out many shows, just a few months later.
We just got another example. A few days ago, country music star Morgan Wallen was officially canceled after being caught on tape screaming racist slurs. His music was pulled from airplay by several major radio groups, he was suspended by his label, dropped by his booking agency, and denied eligibility for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. But was he canceled? According to Rolling Stone, Wallen saw a 1,220% increase in digital album sales, a 327% increase in song sales between Tuesday and Wednesday, a 6% increase in on-demand audio streams, and a 16% increase in programmed streams. Don’t call it cancel culture, it is as if his fans had revolted against the idea, the idea of cancelation based on an unforgivable (but drunk) faux pas. People can complain about cancel culture as much as they want, but some people are truly uncancellable.