Last week, I wrote about how I was called racist because, well, I am white. That’s all. I didn’t have to say or do anything. I was convicted without ever having muttered a word.
It was in response to criticism I faced over being a white “influencer” or “celebrity” who doesn’t use his or her platform to condemn racism or intolerance. By saying nothing, apparently it means we condone hatred. My argument to that was: I condemn it, however, I just don’t need to turn my channels into a soapbox that preaches at people.
Last year, my company, SpeakFree Media, supported five Pride events by giving money and being on the ground to celebrate. Yes, I met wonderful people in Winnipeg, Calgary, San Francisco, Palm Springs and Phoenix. Did I feel the need to publicly wave a rainbow flag and applaud myself for supporting the LGBT community? No. By today’s logic, I risk being called homophobic for not doing it.
This leads to the discussion about “cancel culture” — something I’ve commented on several times. It’s destroying lives (perhaps rightly so, depending on the offence and who you ask) and it seems more like a challenge now when the mob sets its sights on someone. There appears to be no other motive than to get someone fired or blacklisted forever.
The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon recently fell victim to this, forced to apologize for a blackface skit on SNL 20 years ago. Radio host Howard Stern was called out days ago for his antics dating back several decades. Neither has lost his job but you can only imagine that was the intent when people dug up these clips from the past.
The only reason these scandalous stories break is because people are looking for drama. One of my contacts at NBC said Fallon “was blindsided” that this came to light. “Obviously he knew about the sketch but it was so long ago,” she said.
There should almost be a statute of limitations when it comes to issues such as this. I realize that’s a legal term referring to criminal charges but this is nearly the equivalent in the court of public opinion.
If you were an offensive idiot last week, sure, get called out for it and lose your job. If it’s something that dates back decades and was long forgotten about, then let it go because times have changed and so have people and their opinions. Does the argument of “it was so long ago” make their actions acceptable? No, and that’s not what I’m suggesting.
If you won’t let time pass, then have everybody associated with the “bit” take the heat. Condemn and fire the writers who penned the content, the producers who had the final say, the executives who hired the people making the bad decisions. It’s a never-ending list at that point.
For a society that allegedly needs to progress and move forward, people certainly aren’t allowing that to happen while living in the past and rehashing things on social media.