Cancel culture has become toxic because it is taking away celebrity and public figures’ right to make mistakes. Everyone has done or said something that they wish they had not. Celebrities and public figures are no different. The only difference is they are in the spotlight and has everybody watching them.
“Canceling” is the act of boycotting a particular person or company after they did or said something to offend or disrespect a marginalized group of people or seriously hurt someone. The actions that are deemed cancel worthy can range from anything as serious as sexual assault to something as minimal and as a uncooth tweet from six years ago. When someone of high status does something that does seriously hurt or harm someone. I believe cancelling them is reasonable and they should be punished (think Harry Weinstein and R. Kelly). However, for the most part, cancel culture has evolved into fake activism that attempts to punish people for ridiculous things.
One reason why cancel culture became toxic is because it ridicules people for things they said a significant amount of time ago. Through social media, people are digging up tweets and post by celebrities from years ago and bringing it to the public eye. Most of the time these old posts are brought up when that celeb reaches a peak in their career. This is ludicrous because people shouldn’t be ridiculed for statements that they no longer stand by. Nobody is the same person they were years ago, why should we expect public figures to be. They should be given a chance to take ownership of their ignorance and apologize.
Cancel culture is also toxic because it fights negativity with negativity. There have been many instances of celebrities making tone-death joke, maybe a politically incorrect statement, or committing accidental cultural appropriation. Some things like racial slurs or hate speech are never excusable. However, for the most part people are getting cancelled for things they probably honestly were just uneducated about. So if they did something that doesn’t directly harm someone of spread hate, just enlighten them on why what they did or said wasn’t cool. Part of activism is spreading awareness and educating people on the issue so why not use this tactic instead of attack them?
I believe at its start cancel culture was a good concept. Some people in the entertainment industry do some foul things but were not punished or held accountable for they did because of their status and money. The masses continue to make them richer while they continue to do these horrible things. Cancel culture was supposed to be the solution to that.
I believe where everything went wrong was when people started to cancel people who did not create a serious threat or spread hate but instead just made some dumb decisions. If everybody was in the spotlight we would probably all get canceled for something. We should not hold these celebrities up to an unrealistic standard of being perfect. At the end of the day, they are just like the rest of us.