Image from forbes.com

In today’s world, a lot of people are drawn to conflict and this is seen on the internet, mostly on social media. On different social media platforms, there are people out there saying things that can be seen as controversial and others feel the need to start conflict, or call them out, also known as “canceling” someone. Many people have been in the spotlight for things they have said or done. This is known as cancel culture. In a Quillete article, Noah Carl defines cancel culture as “the practice of pressuring an institution into sanctioning someone because others perceived that they were psychologically or emotionally harmed by something the individual said, or something he did a long time ago in history.” Once an individual is called out, and the conflict gains more of a following, the backlash can be extreme.

Once someone has been considered “canceled,” it isn’t just their reputation that is damaged, but people also lose their employment as well. For example, during the New York Times podcast, a guest, Zeeshan Aleem, on the show studies a case where a man was offended and came at a Costco employee who told him to wear a mask. Once the video became viral, a lot of the public defended the employee because he just wanted to keep people safe and a lot of people publicly shames the customer. But there was one comment on the thread that stuck out to Zeeshan. There was a guy who asked that if anyone had information on the man who wasn’t wearing the mask. He asked if anyone knew him or knew about where he worked because he wanted to punish him. Word gets around quick and no matter if you are on the job or not, someone’s actions or wards can cause them to be fired. However, this is different from someone like a celebrity or a large brand who was a lot of following but it would be hard to really affect them in the same way.

Image from qz.com

Nike is a multibillion-dollar company that was the victim of trying to be canceled. Nike made an advertisement that collaborated with Colin Kaepernick who was the NFL player that stated the scandal of kneeling during the national anthem as a message against police brutality against black lives. A lot of Americans found his actions disrespectful to the country and did not like it and therefore associated Nike with the same views they had for Colin Kaepernick. People wanted Nike to be punished for making this ad with him and ultimately be canceled. Videos went viral of Nike customers burning their Nike shoes and other products. However, there was more a backlash on those doing the “canceling” than on Nike. All these videos going around acted as free advertisements for Nike. According to the YouTube video WOKE BRANDS, hosted by Harris Bomberguy Nike made $6 billion in revenue off of trying to be canceled.

Cancel culture, I think, can be a little extreme at times. I feel like people get harsh punishments for people ganging up on one person for something they may not have meant. Especially those who got called out for something they did years ago. Things that may have been said years ago may have been more acceptable compared to today’s world. Now people are being punished for things they may have tweeted years ago. That seems like people want to go out of their way to hurt someone. The fact that people are losing their jobs over videos of them making a mistake going viral. Everyone makes mistakes but that’s no reason to make them jobless. For all we know the customer in Costco could’ve had a bad day, but no one thinks about that on the internet, they only judge hat they see and don’t think about the things that may have happened in the background. I agree with writer Zach Beaucamp and his article on Vox, The ‘Free Speech’ Debate Isn’t Really About Free Speech, where he says that someone needs to make a boundary between what is bad enough to cancel someone and what isn’t worth public shaming.