Last updated on: 1/22/2024 | Author: ProCon.org

Is Cancel Culture Good for Society?

First used in 2016, the phrase “cancel culture,” also known as callout culture, is the removal (“canceling”) of support for individuals (and their work), a group of people, an organization, or a company due to an opinion or action on their part deemed objectionable to the parties “calling” them out. Those being canceled are typically first called out on social media to magnify the public knowledge of the perceived offense, whereupon the campaign to cancel ensues. The canceling can take several forms, including the exerting of pressure on organizations to cancel the public appearances or speaking engagements of the canceled parties and, in the case of businesses deemed offensive, organizing boycotts of their products. For more on cancel culture, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)

CON (no)

Con

Nikki Haley:

“Cancel culture is un-American.

Our society is built on the values of free speech and mutual respect, but cancel culture rejects both. In place of free speech, it demands conformity. Instead of mutual respect, it tears people down. It basically says there’s no point talking through the difficult questions or trying to work them out through democracy and legislation. All that matters is some people forcing their views on all of society, telling the rest of us how to live, work, and think.”

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Nikki Haley, “America Is Better Than Cancel Culture,” medium.com, July 14, 2020

Con

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

“What you’re trying to get me to do now is to lash out against other Americans. And what I’m saying is: I don’t agree with what those people represent in many parts of their lives. I don’t agree with it, and I don’t like it. But I’m still going to talk to them. I’m not going to cancel them. I’m going to invite them into my tent. If I can get them to support a vision of the idealistic America that I believe in—the same America that my father and my uncle believed in: an America without censorship; an America that fights for our Constitution; an America that is a moral authority around the world, that projects economic power around the globe rather than military violence—if I can get people to support that, I don’t care if they’re Republican or independent, or what they are. These are democratic values…. I’m not a cancel-culture guy.”

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David Remnick, “The Alternative Facts of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.,” newyorker.com, July 7, 2023

Not Clear or Not Found

Joe Biden:

No position as of Dec. 15, 2023

Donald Trump:

“The goal of cancel culture is to make decent Americans live in fear of being fired, expelled, shamed, humiliated and driven from society as we know it.”

Editors’ Note: Trump stated the above during a speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention. Many note that, despite Trump’s dislike of cancel culture when used against himself and allies, he frequently employs the tactic himself. For example, an Aug. 19, 2020 tweet: “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!).”

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Ari Shapiro, et al., “How Cancel Culture Became Politicized — Just Like Political Correctness,” npr.org, July 26, 2021