Opinion: Cancel culture needs to end

I’m beginning to get sick of my TikTok “For You” page. 

It seems that every video I watch includes someone joining in on a hate train that serves no beneficial purpose. There’s a new name being dragged through the mud every day; whether it’s a politician, celebrity or an influencer. Most of the time, that hate is understandable, but it’s taken to the extreme. Though cancel culture strives to do good, it needs to end before more lives are ruined forever. 

Being “canceled,” a phrase that’s been gaining popularity since 2018, refers to celebrities or other popular people being stripped of their influence by invalidating them through social media. While this has been around for a long time and called a multitude of different things, it has become drastically easier to do with the boom of technology, and society has lost sight of its original purpose: to hold individuals accountable and promote growth and education from their mistakes

Recently, the “Try Guys controversy” has been all over the internet. One of the four members of the popular YouTube group that stemmed from Buzzfeed, Ned Fulmer, had a “consensual workplace relationship” while still married to his wife of 10 years, which has caused an uproar of fury from their approximate 8 million fans. While I believe there should be consequences to his horrible actions, the death threats sent toward him that litter the internet are too far. He did a bad thing, and he should face the necessary consequences, but there should be room for growth. With cancel culture, a person is defined by one thing they did for what could be a good portion of their life, which can lead them down a road of depression or loss of self-worth. 

At this point, it’s not even people who do something wrong who get canceled. Whether you’re one of their fans or you hate them, you have to admit that having a face is a stupid reason to cancel someone, yet that is what’s happening to popular Minecraft youtuber Dream after his highly anticipated face reveal. While it’s true that haters come with the territory of internet fame, making videos to criticize someone for their looks is cruel and pointless. If it’s gotten to the point that people are canceled for simply existing, then the culture of the internet seriously needs to change. 

I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s an expression of our freedom of speech to spew this type of hate, but it is simply the opposite. That amendment was made to protect our rights against corrupt people, not to unnecessarily hurt others with it. While I agree wholeheartedly that people who did something wrong deserve to be stripped of their influence and, in necessary situations, face punishment for their actions, they should not be stripped of their right to live in society. There’s a difference between making people aware of something bad that happened and actively attacking someone online, a line we have forgotten about as cancel culture has evolved. 

At the end of the day, cancel culture does more harm than good. Defining someone off one mistake is unfair, especially when half the people prosecuting them have done things just as bad, if not worse, in private. If every role model in the media is not allowed to be human, what standard of perfection are we setting for ourselves and future generations?