Cancel culture is a recent internet phenomenon that tends to divide opinion like few other aspects of online life. Even the merest misstep from a public figure sees the social media knives being sharpened and torches ignited, but in the grand scheme of things, these campaigns tend to accomplish absolutely nothing other than generating a few hashtags and a trending topic for a day or two.
When you think about it, has anyone actually been canceled as a result of enterprising Twitter users? Gina Carano was fired from The Mandalorian, sure, but that was a mistake of her own making after she crossed a line in the eyes of the Disney brass. Chris Pratt has been targeted many times, too, and it’s not affected his career in the slightest, while Gal Gadot and Mark Ruffalo have both found themselves in the crosshairs recently, but they’ll be fine.
It’s certainly had a noticeable effect on the world of comedy, though, with a lot of talents now wary of using material that pushed the envelope for fear of offending enough people to harm their career prospects. Seth Rogen recently chimed in on the debate, and he’s essentially told comics to stop worrying about it and just do what they want to do, unless of course it’s deliberately antagonistic.
“To me, when I see comedians complaining about this kind of thing, I don’t understand what they’re complaining about. If you’ve made a joke that’s aged terribly, accept it. And if you don’t think it’s aged terribly, then say that Getting criticism is one of the things that goes along with being an artist, and if you don’t like that, then don’t be a comedian anymore. To me, it’s not worth complaining about to the degree I see other comedians complaining about.
In my Twitter I’ve never made a joke that’s outwardly horrific in some way, and if you have, I would question why you did that. Saying terrible things is bad, so if you’ve said something terrible, then it’s something you should confront in some way, shape or form. I don’t think that’s ‘cancel culture’. That’s you saying something terrible, if that’s what you’ve done.”
James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for jokes that didn’t age well before Disney eventually rehired him, while Simu Liu was called a racist for a joking tweet he’d made almost nine years previously when all it said was that he wasn’t a fan of Nicki Minaj’s music. Indeed, it’s a delicate tightrope to be walking for any celebrity in the modern age, but it seems Seth Rogen just wants everyone to get on with their jobs.