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Cancel Culture: Should We Cancel Someone’s Artistic Works, Too?

Oh, cancel culture. It’s a term made up of two words that didn’t fit together 10 years ago. But now, it’s knit into the fabric of our society. Anyone can be canceled, from politicians to business owners. But most of these cases have happened in entertainment. Entertainers and executives alike may do or say something that doesn’t sit right, and when it comes to light, they’re swiftly and publicly canceled. But what of their works? Young Voices contributor Jen Sidorova and Executive Director of Feminists for Liberty Kat Murti discuss if the culture should cancel the art along with the artist.

Mel Gibson – Cancel his films?

Some of us may be too young to remember Hollywood staple Mel Gibson’s initial fall from grace in 2004. But there have been many more instances over the years that led to him being shunned in the industry. So should people boycott films with the Gibson name such as The Passion of the Christ, Hacksaw Ridge, and Braveheart? Sidorova says that canceling one person connected to a film is detrimental to entire casts and crews made up of possibly innocent people. She points out that when the Olympics gets canceled, people feel bad for the athletes. But do people feel the same for cast and crew members from a canceled film?

Taking away support from musical artists

Murti agrees that cancel culture shouldn’t undermine the entire credits list of a film. But what of music? She offers the example of R. Kelly. “Ignition” used to be her jam, but it’s now overshadowed by the artist’s dark history. So, she made the personal decision not to stream his music so streaming services won’t have more incentive to support his work. How is this different from canceling films? The attached crew wasn’t as expansive as on film sets, and Murti doesn’t want to offer her support to the producers who worked with the musician after his actions.

Is cancel culture too extreme?

Sidorova and Murti agree that cancel culture can be extremely negative and toxic, sometimes doing more harm than good. Yes, people have the freedom to stop watching or listening to whatever they want. And they can share with the world their reasons why. But they believe the issue arises when the artist has shown remorse, regret, and change but the culture still punishes them. Murti says it’s important to remember that people can change, and it’s our responsibility to watch for their growth.

What do you think? Should we cancel the art with the artist? Let us know in the comments.

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