Living on Purpose: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Cancel Culture

“#cancelellen” is trending on Twitter and Instagram. If you aren’t on either of those platforms, perhaps you have seen the articles detailing the allegations of former staff of the Ellen Show, including sexual harassment, intimidation and racism. These are serious allegations but it’s doubtful that Ellen the persona will actually be canceled. She is deeply rooted into Hollywood. Still, it is alarming to watch her be the target of “cancel culture.”

Cancel culture is the act of withdrawing support. Social media is used as a vehicle to generate group shaming, and forced accountability. Usual targets are celebrities and major companies, but considering jobs, scholarships and opportunities lost due to viral videos, everyday people can be impacted too. Cancel culture has been an effective and powerful tool.

One that moves so fast, with so much vitriol, there isn’t time to consider the human component of the individual. While previous staff and guests having their concerns are valid, I am puzzled by the intensity of those of us who have not. Those signing petitions for the next host, etc. Considering the Ellen persona that has been curated for us by the show gives us nothing to #cancelellen. 

The hashtag itself is misdirected as the allegations are directed toward the higher ups in production, and if the goal is to target the one in charge… it’s not Ellen, it’s Warner Bros., yet the fixation remains on tearing down the dancing, giving, comedic host we know as Ellen.

Commenting, and reposting requires so little effort and happens so fast, it’s easy to not even realize you’re participating by casting your stone. Recently a local prosecutor whom I have never crossed paths with was the subject of local cancel culture. I can’t identify the guy in a lineup, but plenty of folks have strong opinions about the direction of his future. It was apparent while watching his character be crucified in the comment section.
I just kept wondering if the target was the man, or his position? Or maybe the way he did his job? That’s the thing about cancel culture, it often mutes people and fails to center the focus on the real issues at hand. Things like ableism, sexism, ageism, etc. For these types of  things I reserve the thought that cancel culture can be a positive thing. It’s swift whereas other avenues can be slower.

Cancel culture is not going anywhere. Why not? Because of the power, the joining in solidarity, and the effectiveness. Cancel culture is not all good or bad. Like everything else it needs to be used wisely. We have all made mistakes and should be allowed the opportunity to grow beyond that moment. One click, and it could be #you.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona Aundrea Sayrie is a firm believer in the power of words, faith and a strong spirit. Her greatest desire is to encourage those around her to discover and honor their truth, and to passionately live on purpose.

Any views or opinions expressed in “Living on Purpose” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.