Cancel culture is now, unfortunately, a phenomenon ingrained into the background of life, politics, branding, social media, small social circles, and the workplace. In this series we look at people, businesses, and movements that have been cancelled. The first installment gave us some insight on the origins of cancel culture and the Witch Hunt it has become. Our last installments told us about how MyPillow CEO, Demi Lovato, and even Dr.Seuss have been affected by the movement. We also looked at a letter from Harper’s Magazine which criticizes cancel culture. Cancel culture, which former President Donald Trump called “the very definition of totalitarianism,” describes the phenomenon of frequent public pile-ons criticizing a person, business, movement, or idea. In this installment we will look at Meyer Leonard, Mr. Potato head, and Jimmy Fallon.
NBA Cancels Meyers Leonard
The Heat has removed Meyers Leonard indefinitely after he made offensive comments on a twitch live stream. Leonard was then traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and was dropped from the team as of yesterday. He was using foul language and used remarks that are offensive to the jewish community. Leonard, who was already out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, apologized with a statement that read in part: “I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday. While I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong.” Some members of the Jewish community dont believe Leonard should be cancelled. New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, was among those who reached out Wednesday in hopes of educating Leonard — even inviting him to a Shabbat dinner when Edelman is in Miami. “Today we need to be about building bridges and not tearing those bridges down and throwing that person on the other side and saying, ‘I’m done with you,’” said Rabbi Andrew Jacobs of Ramat Shalom Synagogue in Plantation. “It’s an opportunity not to eliminate this player, not to sweep the situation under the rug and pretend it never happened, but to give him an opportunity to learn. And in turn, all of those fans of his can learn from him, and we can teach a whole new generation of people this important lesson.” The Jewish community seems intent on mending the bridge with Leonard and educating ignorance rather than completely writing him off. What happens when someone does something openly racist and isn’t cancelled for it until years later? This is the situation with our next case Jimmy Fallon.
Jimmy Fallon Cancelled For Black Face
Jimmy Fallon’s return to The Tonight Show began on a serious note addressing controversy after a 4video resurfaced of Fallon in blackface. He wore blackface while doing an impression of Chris Rock in 2000 on Saturday Night Live. He issued an apology on Twitter saying the decision was terrible and unquestionably offensive. Fallon said he was advised “to just be quiet and to not say anything” about the incident for fear of further criticism. Fallon did not follow that advice when he spoke out upon his return to The Tonight Show. “I’m not going to have a normal show tonight. I’m going to have a different kind of show,” Fallon said on air. “I’m going to start this personally and then expand out because that’s where we all need to start: with ourselves and looking at ourselves in the mirror.” Fallon then welcomed onto the program NAACP President Derrick Johnson, who called the opening monologue “powerful.” Fallon later spoke with CNN anchor Don Lemon, who also praised the comedian for his opening. People seem to be open to the star’s apology.
Mr. Potato Head Cancelled?
This seems to be a case of mistaken cancel culture? You be the judge. The media was reporting not too long ago that Mr.& Mrs. Potato Head had been cancelled. Hasbro created the confusion when it announced that it would drop the “Mr.” from the brand’s name in order to be more inclusive and so all could feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.” It also said it would sell a new play set this fall without the Mr. and Mrs. designations that will let kids create their own type of potato families, including two moms or two dads.
Hasbro appears to want to expand the brand, while not killing off its most iconic characters, which appeared in the Toy Story franchise. “While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD,” the company tweeted in response to the confusion. What do you think of Hasbro dropping the Mr. and how they handled the confusion?
Cancelling originally started as a movement in 2017 to take platforms away from people who didn’t deserve them. Cancel Culture, when used the way it has been recently, goes against one of the first layers of our country’s foundation, the first amendment. We shouldn’t cancel ignorance, we should educate it. We should also forgive people who make the correct steps to fix and own their mistakes as long as they learn from them. “We live in the age of cancel culture, but this isn’t something that started this week. It is something that they have been doing to us and others for years,” Eric Trump told The Associated Press. A movement that was designed to make society a more positive place and hold people of higher status accountable has left us walking on eggshells on social media, in the workplace, and within our own groups of “friends.”
Written by: Erinn Malloy