“Cancel” Culture

POSTED November 1, 2019

What is “cancel culture”? If you search for a definition you will find little information, but it does have a meaning. Cancel culture or (callout culture) is basically a large number of people attempting to ruin someone’s career (usually a celebrity). This mob mentality has become a huge part of our culture and media, being talked about every day now. This mob mentality can spark from a comment, questionable morals, or actions someone has taken. So, the question arises, who gets to decide who or what gets “canceled”? We all do questionable things, we all may have said some insensitive things, so why are people destroying careers over this?


Cancel culture was really never intentionally created but came into being over time. Throughout history, people have been canceled in different ways. If you were doing something bad or offensive, people would team up against you, but this is different. Even the internet didn’t really talk about cancel culture until two back to back public situations, the events of James Charles and ProJared. 


James Charles is a makeup tutorial Youtuber with around 16 million subscribers. The drama all started April 22nd 2019 with James Charles doing an ad with Sugar Bear Hair. Why is this a big deal? It was a direct competitor of the Tati Westbrook brand Halo Beauty. Tati and James were very close, not just as friends but almost as a mother-son relationship. Because of James doing this, Tati was very upset and talked about it on social media. The drama seemed to die until Tati uploaded a now privated video “Bye Sister”. This video took the internet by storm. If you are curious about the video, it has been re-uploaded by other accounts. At any rate, the canceling of James Charles had begun, having 16 million subscribers at the time quickly turned to 13 million in one week. To give you an idea, in a single day he lost over a million subscribers. Hate was being sent his way, people were telling stories about him and the horrible things he has done. He made his first response that was 8 minutes long and it was memed all over the internet.


To say the least, James was getting beaten up by the whole internet, until he clapped back. He uploaded a new response called “No more lies”. Although not perfect, it returned on some points, cleared the air, and had a good amount of evidence compared to Tati. All of a sudden the cancel culture that was mauling James Charles had stopped and turned on Tati. Many people who subscribe to support her were unsubbing. There is way more to this drama but there are too many details for me to explain it all here.


So what can learn from this? Well, this definitely does not put cancel culture in a good light. With little evidence, people were quick to assume just because Tati had a good reputation that she would be telling the complete truth. But really if you go watch her video there is very little evidence and the evidence there was taken out of context. Also, notice the high use of pathos or emotional manipulation showing times where she and James were happy, used to make the audience feel bad for her or be in her corner. As a result of the video, people made memes, created horrible accusations and spread lies about James Charles with very little proof. And when we realized that much of Tati was not true, then we turned on her. But the bigger issue is many of us were not using common sense and only listening to one side, the one that struck first.


Alright, it’s time for the so-called other side, what about ProJared?


ProJared is a game and D&D review channel with around 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube. The owner of the channel, Jared is also part of a group/brand called normal boots. This drama started around the same time the James Charles drama started. It started on Twitter where Jared tweeted that he and his wife Heidi were getting a divorce. The internet seemed a bit shocked but didn’t seem to do much with the information until his wife, Heidi started posting tons of incriminating tweets. We will not be going over the 100 and 100s of things posted as its way to much to read through, but you can find this online. The main thing she posted about is that Jared had cheated on her, even had screenshots that showed that he had indeed been spending time with another woman. This again seemed to be the peak of the drama. 


It wasn’t.


A few hours later Jared’s nudes started being posted all over the internet and allegations started that Jared was a child predator. Basically, many different stories claimed that he tried to get nudes from them and didn’t care that they were minors. Some had screenshots and bits of evidence, many stories did not though. With all of this information coming out that he cheated on his wife, and the sketchy things he did with his fans, the internet started clowning on him. He left Normal Boots and many of his friends tried to defend him but stopped people started attacking them. This clearly affected his channel losing near 300,000 subscribers to his channel, which was a bigger hit then James Charles percentage-wise.


But isn’t this weird?


With little evidence showing up about these situations, doesn’t it feel like we are jumping the gun, like the James Charles situation? It doesn’t help if he remained quiet, but from several months of silence had uploaded a video.  “YOU’VE BEEN LIED TO” had finally shown his side of the story which was a very strong narrative. Mainly debunking that he sent nudes to underage fans and had screenshots and evidence to back this up. This video is still available online and it’s around 40 minutes long. 


So, with Jared and Heidi’s prospectives showed which person was the victim? Well, it’s hard to tell, both have done some bad things from this drama. Even if Jared wasn’t sending nudes to children or teenagers, he definitely was sending nudes to fans that were 18 and up. He’s not sending nudes anymore stating that it was inappropriate. 


There are many other examples of cancel culture in recent years such as Alinity, Logan Paul, Kylie Jenner, Brooke Houts and many, many more. And many of the situations above have their own layers to it. Like Brooke being canceled for hitting her dog in a youtube video. The main reason to bring this up is it showed definitive proof that she did a bad thing, which might make cancel culture be not as bad. Please if you find this whole thing interesting, do some research, plenty of more stories with different stories.


 When I began researching for this article, my intent was to show the good and bad of cancel culture, with James Charles showing the bad side and Jared being the good side. When the canceling started, we did not see the full truth, going off of the character of the accuser and the one being accused. That’s why we believe James Charles would do something like this. Tati had a good background when James Charles didn’t. If you don’t know James Charles before this got into plenty of controversies, he was new and pushing the market, and when given the right situation or story we turned on him without much thought. And then take the other situation, Heidi (Jared’s wife) said a bunch of things with little proof, riding off of accusations and a few selected screenshots. And we were even warned by Jared in that first tweet about the divorce that this was likely to happen before it all started.


Cancel culture isn’t a bad or good thing by itself, but it does require all the facts. However, it is still mob mentality. Now the internet tries to cancel people who have “done wrong” but before we try to cancel anyone we really need to listen to both sides. If it’s a one-sided story then does it have definitive evidence or is it riding off of emotion? Is this a thing done to make money like ads or product placement in their video. And if it’s a he said she said scenario can we really take aside. Let us start asking these questions instead of making fun of someone that may not be able to defend themselves. And if nothing else, don’t become part of cancel in culture.

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    Mekiah KreminNov 4, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Dude! This is really well written! I like it a lot and I think a lot more people need to keep this in mind when using the internet.