You’re Cancelled! Cancel Culture as a Tool For Bullying and Harassment


Victoria Diaz

Raisa Barshai ‘22 believes that it is irresponsible for people to cancel individuals based on minor, personal and non harmful incidents.

With the introduction of social media, everyday people now have individual platforms to share their ideas and voice their opinions. Preceding various social media movements such as #MeToo, the cancel culture movement was introduced. When someone, especially a public figure, is “canceled,” that person is essentially blacklisted and shunned by the group of people they are being “canceled” by. While I believe that cancel culture is a great way to spread awareness about a public figure’s criminal activity or abuse, I do believe that it is often misused. 

As seen in the cases of Bill Cosby and R. Kelly in the court of public opinion, many have refused to support their work as a result of various sexual abuse allegations. This is understandable because sexual abuse is an inexcusable crime and should not be supported. “I truly do believe that an artist’s or director’s work should be synonymous with their name, and if you agree that sexual misconduct is immoral, then you shouldn’t be supporting their work,” said Raisa Barshai ’22.

However, canceling is often misused. Individuals who haven’t committed any crimes or hateful acts sometimes end up on the receiving end of mass hate on the internet. Jordyn Woods, for example, was canceled for a short time after rumors spread that she had a relationship with Khloe Kardashian’s ex-boyfriend. While she didn’t hurt or offend anyone in an extreme way, she was endlessly bullied by people online for something that should have remained private. In 2017, Taylor Swift was canceled after being exposed as a “snake,” a term used to describe a liar, via a phone call posted to Kim Kardashian’s snapchat. She was trolled and harassed on social media with the snake emoji. Despite this, she remains the number one female artist globally. “A lot of times, people cancel just to be petty and for things honestly a lot of non-celebrities do all the time and don’t get in trouble for,” said Daniella Lorenzana ’22.

Cancellation often has ties to “stan” culture, which consists of mega-fans. “Stans” of different celebrities sometimes come together to bully and harass people on the internet. An example of hateful fans are “ARMY,” supporters of the Korean-pop collective BTS. While this isn’t true for all BTS fans, many have earned the reputation of being obsessed, rude and delusional. People who simply criticize the band are often met with name-calling and threats by BTS stans. Even fans within ARMY are bullied; black BTS fans and other minorities within the fandom have been cyber-bullied with racial slurs. 

If you have an individual opinion or viewpoint that may slightly differ from those of other people, it looks like you’re on track to being canceled. If you do seemingly innocent things that may not align with some peoples’ beliefs, it looks like you may be canceled, too. The toxicity and prevalence of cancel culture on social media platforms, such as Instagram or Twitter, is unacceptable. Unfortunately, platforms we use to spread ideas and give input will continue to be dominated by stans and internet policing.

While I believe that cancel culture is a great way to spread awareness about a public figure’s criminal activity or abuse, I do believe that it is often misused.