By Breanna Wells
OCT 22, 2020
The prevalence of social media has been on the rise over the past few decades. As new trends and influencers increase in popularity, their audiences look up to them and aspire to be like them. However, despite the fame that many of the influencers have, scandals regarding their personal or early life experiences often arise. Online shaming has been used to publicly humiliate people on the internet and gain rapid opposition towards a person.
Cancel culture, or the idea of “canceling,” began its evolution in the social infrastructure after a 2014 episode of Love And Hip Hop: New York, when cast member Cisco Rosado told a fellow cast member that she was “canceled.” This term was used as a meme for years until 2017 when it turned from a meme to a “cult-like” internet phenomenon. According to an article published by Insider, “cancel culture came into consciousness after the idea of “canceling” celebrities for actions and statements became popular.”
The idea of “canceling” has elevated to epidemic proportions, used by many people on Twitter and other social media platforms. Its effects transcend beyond typical online users to include celebrities who have been “canceled.” An article published by REASON describes 2019, when it was at its peak, as the worst year of celebrities being canceled. Celebrities such as makeup artist James Charles and even famous author J.K. Rowling have been canceled due to past actions and online activity. An article from NBC talks about makeup icon, James Charles, and how he was canceled in mid-2019 over a scandal between himself and fellow makeup artist Tati Westbrook. “James Charles lost over 3 million subscribers in just one weekend” according to NBC. This scandal demonstrates how quickly people obtain information on a celebrity and are quick to unfollow them and, so called, “cancel” them. When the scandal was proven to be false, many online users realized how toxic cancel culture can be and how it can ruin a person’s career in less than 48 hours.
Cancel culture is still an ongoing phenomenon, embraced by Twitter stans and other online users. However, with both positive and negative consequences, users online have been able to educate themselves as to why celebrities may not deserve the platform they have. Unfortunately, it has also caused innocent people to lose their careers and be put on a “blacklist” of hated celebrities. In recent months, many users have drifted away from canceling people and using hashtags such as #isoverparty and #goingtojailparty. This new online epidemic may have reached its peak, but by knowing the right facts, viewers can decide their viewpoint on a person or celebrity without “canceling” them online.
Feature Image: David Klein/Wall Street Journal