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Friday, October 19, 2018

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#Canceled culture holds celebrities accountable


When news of XXXTentacion’s death flooded the Twitter feeds of America, war broke out. The nation’s reaction was fueled by “canceled” culture, and the comments that followed are evidence of a divided digital world.

Some hailed him as a hero who helped provide comfort through his music. He was unafraid to address mental health issues, and loyal fans mourned the loss of an open artist.

Others were less indulgent in honoring his life. He had, after all, been accused of rape, stealing and battery. 

“Canceled” is a cultural divestment from a person, company or any entity that has acted in an insensitive manner.  What can be said about a blooming online culture that holds artists accountable for every action and doesn’t easily forgive? Canceled culture definitely has its faults, but it pushes society into having moral standards that have been disregarded for far too long.

Our generation has molded the internet into a hearth of knowledge where comedy, current events and sociopolitical injustice can be addressed in a single sentence or meme. In a world of rising social tensions, minorities are getting a voice through social media. The LGBTQ community and victims of assault have a means of expressing the challenges they face to the world.

This overall increase of discourse has made our generation raise our standards. We don’t forgive others who use excuses like “We were young, so we didn’t know,” because we ourselves are young. We understand the importance of political correctness and respecting others despite differences.

We expect others to do the same.

While the unforgiving nature of canceled culture may seem cruel, it is actually beneficial. Celebrities and influencers in the public eye should understand that being respectful to others isn’t something they deserve praise for, it is expected. If they fail to do what is expected, they will be weeded out.

When the story of Melanie Martinez sexually assaulting her friend became exposed, she was immediately canceled. ABC canceled, figuratively and literally, Roseanne Barr after her racist tweets sparked public indignation. More recently, Laura Lee, a beauty blogger, was dropped by the internet and her sponsors because of racist tweets that had resurfaced.

Ultimately, the seemingly cut throat reactions of the internet set an example and a standard. Through “canceling” we are taking charge of who we idolize and showing celebrities that if they want respect, they need to earn it. And it works.

More and more celebrities are supporting the BLM and #MeToo movement. Singer Alex Gaskarth was under fire when he tweeted in support of All Lives Matter. Fans were quick to let him know that his music wasn’t enough to save him from scrutiny — he had said something offensive and was going to be held accountable.

Months later, Gaskarth tweeted, “I didn’t know about the movement or the meaning, but learned quickly and obviously didn’t mean to offend anyone. If you know me, you know where I stand and who I stand with on this. Hope you can forgive.” 

Some say that canceled culture leads to the capitalization of social movements, but it’s better that way.  Through canceled culture, we can enforce the importance of respecting others and make it a norm.

Opinion editor Wafa Kazmi is a communication sciences and disorders junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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