This article looks into why cancel culture is happening and questions its activism.
Cancel culture is happening to businesses of every size, impacting companies’ cultures, financials and creating legal concerns; it is even costing employees their jobs. This all can happen without any relevant proof that an indiscretion has occurred. Join us in part 2 of our series as we discuss why is cancel culture happening?
Some people say cancel culture has developed as a result of people feeling a sense of responsibility to hold public figures and brands accountable for their actions. The goal is to cancel the brand by expressing public concern on social media platforms and cause them to be punished for the disagreeable action or statement. The result is usually advertiser boycotts, public protests or public humiliation and exposing contact information on social media to cancel a brand or person.
This movement represents a shift in the values of Canadian culture and society, but this doesn’t just stop at politics, religion, values, or demographics. It creates a form of censorship that can nullify the best efforts of businesses based on historical actions that may have occurred many years ago and puts them on the defense of everything they have or will publicly say and post. Essentially every brand runs the risk of being publicly shamed for any real or perceived wrongdoing, left apologizing for something they never even meant and was interpreted negatively by the individuals involved.
The cancellers see themselves as activists bringing social justice, by using social media to bring attention to the misdeeds of the people or companies involved. They believe that the time of doing whatever you want without consequences are over. The intention is to actually use public shaming to ultimately get people cancelled based in some form of personal righteousness and moral code. The problem is the question of whose moral code guides theirs or who is watching the watchmen? Critics would say this is equivalent to letting an angry mob determine someone’s fate. Some would even call it censorship that stifles free speech, preventing people from voicing their own opinions with fear that they too will be attacked.
Even Former U.S. President Barak Obama at an event for the Obama Foundation is speaking out about cancel culture stating that it was “not activism”.
At the heart of the debate is that cancellers feel that calling attention to actions they don’t agree with is the only way they can create change or consequences for those who have more power in society. This power comes from influence or money but often extends into race or gender. Where perceived issues start and what they blow up into remains one of the biggest threats cancel culture poses in business and society.
Join us for Part 3 in our series on Cancel Culture as we discuss what are the implications to you or your business.