Can we undo “cancel culture?” –Loquitur

Olivia Jade. Kevin Hart. LoganPaul. Rachel Kirkconnell.

What do they all have in common? They were all canceled at some point in their careers.

But what is different between them? Some have been welcomed back into the spotlight and are thriving, while others continue to be ridiculed for their past mistakes.

There are many ways to examine and define cancel culture, but Voice offers the definition that being canceled means being “culturally inhibited from having a prominent public platform or career”. Many celebrities are canceled via social media and experience the most backlash on these sites.

the New York Post defines cancel culture as “the phenomenon of promoting the ‘cancellation’ of people, brands, and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies”. Image created on Canva by Angelina Halas.

My problem with the cancel culture is that it doesn’t seem logical. How do we select and choose who can return to society? How do we know that one excuse is more important than another, especially if the excuse is just text on a screen? Does it show what we appreciate the most?

Olivia Jade is probably a name that many students know. She is the daughter of the actress Lori Loughlin and was involved in the famous 2019 college admissions scandalwhere it was discovered that Jade’s parents were involved in bribery and forging documents to get their two daughters into college.

As Jade’s parents faced jail time, Jade herself lost friends, some of her followers, and her connections to the brand, which was her career. As she returned to social media, she began to make her habits youtube videos once again and received offers from different brands, she constantly faces continued hate and backlash in the comments of everything she posts.

Examples of comments that Olivia Jade receives on her Tik Tok account. Screenshot taken by Angelina Halas of Olivia Jade’s Tik Tok.

While I can understand many people’s outrage at what happened, is it really fair to blame an 18 year old girl [at the time of the scandal] about what really happened? How many of us had made major mistakes at that age? Yes, she’s old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, but on her Red table discussion, she opens up about not knowing the full extent of what her parents did, but also apologizes for what she was a part of. Yet she still receives hate. Why can’t she get a second chance?

I know people who barely did an ounce of work on their own as students. Just because they don’t have a huge following, why aren’t they held accountable? Why should they be in college?

Kevin Hart was supposed to host the Oscars in 2019, but faced backlash after the announcement due to him posting homophobic tweets between 2010-2011. He eventually resigned from organizing the ceremony.

Hart originally did not post an apology as he claimed he had spoken on the matter before and noted that he acknowledged what was right and wrong. However, the next day he tweeted his apology and said he was moving on.

Hart had a successful career as a comedian and actor before those tweets resurfaced and continues to be successful after the fact. The issues have not been publicly discussed since 2019.

Many people held Hart responsible for his tweets made in 2010-2011 and yet he still has a successful career. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have a successful career because I think he should, and it’s smart for us to step away from the past and allow people to grow from their mistakes. But why do people accept his apology more than Olivia Jade’s? Why was he so quickly committed to other films if these scandals can be so destructive?

There are other people who are constantly homophobic and who are not punished for it. Why?

Another celeb who was canceled, but well received, is Logan Paul. Paul came across a corpse in a forest in Japan, recorded it, made jokes and uploaded the video. Paul posted an apology and took down the video, saying he should never have posted it. However, many people believed Paul knew exactly what he was doing and his excuses weren’t real.

Logan Paul’s last boxing match was against Floyd Mayweather. Screenshot taken from @loganpaul Instagram by Angelina Halas.

Although Paul lost followers due to the incident, he continued to make TV and film appearances, and recently started boxing. Again, while I think everyone deserves a second chance and we all make mistakes, what is it that Logan Paul doesn’t get as much hate as someone like Olivia Jade? So, as a society, we okay with someone making fun of suicide and not okay with the parents of someone bribing colleges to get their kids into college? At what level can we compare these two things and put them on top of each other?

A former The Bachelor contestant, who is now dating a Bachelor alum, matt james, Rachel Kirkconnell has been under fire for a long time during his season. In 2018, while at university, she took a plantation themed fraternity party. She publicly apologized for the photos that resurfaced, for attending the event, and for being blind to how it must have made others feel. She has openly discussed her apology and how she has worked on herself and constantly receives supportive comments.

Again, how do we value one excuse over another? How do you know if you are more authentic? How is it fair that some people don’t get reprimanded for their past mistakes and can move on, while others will suffer backlash every day?

These are just examples of a few celebrities who have been canceled and the effect (or lack thereof) it has had on their careers. I don’t understand why we are unwilling to forgive some of these canceled celebrities. We all make mistakes. Our friends and families make mistakes and we forgive them. We forgive ourselves when we are wrong.

Just because celebrities have more followers and a larger audience doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to make mistakes? Celebrities are human like the rest of us, and we don’t seem to treat them all like human beings.

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