Comments are fair game if you’re ‘one of them’

“Cancel culture” has struck again. This is not a new trend but it is certainly a disturbing one.

Shane Gillis was hired as a new cast member on SNL but was fired within days of a video surfacing from a podcast in which he made racist comments. Cancel culture claimed another.

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Before I take a deep dive into this rant (and you lobby me to get fired… from the company I own), let me clarify that I’m not justifying hateful comments. But there seems to be a grey area if you are “one of them.”

Gillis made comments about gay people and Chinese people and described the latter as “nice racism.” Again, does that justify it? That’s always up for debate. Perhaps if he had given the disclaimer, “And I have Chinese friends” he might have been given a pass. But what if he was “one of them”?

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The consensus seems to be that as a gay man I can call others a fag and a homo but it’s not OK for you to (if you’re not “one of us.”) It’s no different than the N-word being fair game for people of a certain skin colour.

I can casually, almost flippantly, call someone a queer, or a cocksucker but I don’t understand why others can’t. (Because when I say it it’s with love?) If they do it, they’re suddenly homophobic. People don’t think as a gay man that I can be a homophobe. Somehow I’m immune from the wrath of the mob if I’m, you guessed it, one of them.

Let me give you a for-instance: I could be completely intolerant of flamboyant gay men to the point where I’m disgusted and thrash them every chance I get. I can mock them, berate them and drag them through the mud… because I’m one of them (gay, not flamboyant). People wouldn’t assume I’m homophobic because, yup, I’m one of them. Admittedly, the outrage would be louder if I were doing that as a straight guy. Correct? Absolutely.

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After SNL announced the firing and apologized for not better screening Gillis’s hiring, Gillis himself said he’s sorry and understands why NBC gave him the boot from its late-night show.

The reaction was mixed, however, about the firing. In fact, some comedians came to Gillis’s defence and said that cancel culture has gone too far.

Comedian Jim Jeffries said, “The guy shouldn’t have been fired. It’s just a couple of things back in his history – are we going to go through everyone’s history? Or are we going to get every sketch that SNL has done that involves race?”

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I wrote a column about how we’re all guilty of harassment. Each of us as kids said or did something when we were showing off to our teenage friends and flapping our mouths when we learned how to “burn” someone with a joke. With today’s mindset, I guess it’s fair game for someone to come forward all these years later and claim they have been emotionally scarred by the “abuse” and “bullying” we inflicted.

I’m not taking a stance on when or if someone should be fired and seemingly have their life destroyed because of comments they made. I’m not defending or destroying Gillis, nor am I sticking up for anyone else whose fate was sealed because of their words or actions.

I’m suggesting that we take a look at the selective outrage and examine if it’s justified.

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Is the intent to hurt? Is the intent to demean and belittle? I’m not arguing that people can’t be offended because you “didn’t mean to” but take a pause and think before reacting.

As people say, “Perception is reality” but perhaps things have become too blurry to accept that phrase as the norm. Too often decisions are made because of mass outrage and the result is a subsequent bowing to pressure.

I wonder if in some cases the more cowardly thing to do is give in and let the mob have control. Power is an incredible thing. The bar has been set that if you shout loud enough, change will happen. (Why doesn’t that seem to work with American politics though?)

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