Monday with Ms. Marvel: cancel culture


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Staff Reporter

In the last few years, the internet has developed a sort of justice system of their own, brewing what some have referred to as a “cancel culture”. This fairly recent trend has been a divisive topic, with some calling it a witch hunt, while others believe that this is justice long overdue.

So what is this new cancel culture?

Well, many celebrities, politicians, and other public figures with internet presences have been “canceled” or deemed problematic, after being exposed for racist, homophobic, and or xenophobic tweets or comments from their past. Once they are canceled, that means that people will boycott their movies or music, or call for their removal from certain jobs or positions.

The act of canceling is fairly new, and it begs the question, is “canceling” someone right?

While there are certain cases in which canceling is called for and appropriate, this new culture has forgotten to take empathy and compassion into account, something that might make this movement’s attempts futile. 

Actor Kevin Spacey and musician Chris Brown are just two of the names who have been “canceled” on the internet and in their cases, it makes perfect sense as to why. 

Brown has been convicted of multiple counts of domestic abuse, and Spacey has been charged with sexual assault of a teenager and is currently under investigation for more than thirty accusations of sexual assault or harassment. Brown’s music has been banned from numerous awards shows and Spacey has lost multiple roles. It’s high time for abusers to be held accountable for their disgusting actions because in the past they haven’t been. 

In fact, before canceling took over on the internet, Chris Brown continued to be invited to award shows and played on the radio even after photos came out of his attack on then-girlfriend Rihanna. In cases like this, convicted abusers and rapists should not be revered, so “canceling” is deserved. 

However, many other celebrities have been “canceled” for tweets or comments made from over a decade ago, and while many have shown growth and made sincere apologies, the internet has been ruthless in its rulings. 

There have been instances where someone will bring up old tweets from several years ago, and even after the person in question apologizes, they will suffer blowback from being “canceled.” 

Take Kevin Hart for an example. The comedian was supposed to host the 2019 Academy Awards, but after old homophobic tweets from 2010 emerged, he was “canceled” and was forced to resign from the host position. 

Although Hart immediately apologized and gave a statement on how his old mindset was wrong and not his beliefs anymore, the internet didn’t budge and the Academy was forced to go on without a host. 

It seems as though this act of canceling someone comes with the stipulation that whoever is canceled will have to stay that way, regardless of any apology or statement.

This sentiment is incredibly dangerous because it promotes the idea that we need not have compassion or empathy for others. Human beings are capable of growth, and if someone shows that they have taken steps to change themselves and apologized to the community they have hurt, then forgiveness should be on the table.

I’m not saying that we need to coddle racists who have repeatedly used slurs and show no intention of stopping. I’m not saying that we should forgive those who constantly make or have made serious homophobic or transphobic jokes. 

However, I encourage you to understand the nuance of these situations because nothing is black and white. These matters are difficult and complex and as the internet continues to become a larger part of our lives, we need to keep an eye on the mentalities it facilitates.