Cancel culture started as a way to quickly de-platform those that people found problematic, such as being racist, homophobic, or any other type of xenophobia. Now, however, cancel culture seems to have gone too far. It went from truly bad people (adults mostly) getting cancelled, to teenagers on Tik Tok and other platforms getting cancelled before they have a time to grow. Cancel culture shifted from educating and rightfully de-platforming, to jumping to conclusions and not allowing people to grow from their mistakes.
Cancelling people like “gun girl” for being racist and homphobic is okay, but deplatforming a 16 year old girl (Emmahlu), for saying the n-word two years ago is not okay. While what she did was horrible, she was a child and there is always room for growth and change. We used to live in a society where saying the n-word was normalized for such a long time, and just recently is it now any different. Since Emma was 14 years old, which she discussed in her long apology video, she was not the same person. “Me being young is not excusing my blatant ignorance and how badly this hurt and disgusted so many people,” said Emma.
“I am not even a sliver of the same person that I was in those videos.” Many of the comments under this video continue to attack her, claiming she is “only sorry because she was caught” and demanding her to “get off this app.” The backlash far exceeded an aggressive comments section, however, people decided to dig the knife in further, sending death threats and releasing her old addresses and phone numbers.
“My parents’ names and phone numbers have been leaked. They’re being called,” said Lu in another apology video. “My old address from New York has been leaked. I don’t even live there anymore — a child and his family live there. Please stop. I was so terribly wrong and disgusting, but please see me.” Instead of bashing on people who made that mistake a long time ago, educate and make sure those who are not informed stay educated.
Another example of toxic cancel culture is Charli Damelio, even though she is not fully cancelled, she got death threats and was shunned for a few months for doing “cosplay moves” on Tik Tok, and was attacked for “mocking the cosplay community.” These are actions that are not considered problematic, but we as a society online have become addicted to bandwagoning on hate and tearing down on others. Sadly, it is easier and more fun to jump to hatred instead of educating those who need to be educated.
The internet has become a toxic place. It started out as true activism, calling out those who needed to be called out and serving justice when the law couldn’t do the job. However, teens on the internet developed some sort of superiority complex, where they dictate who gets to have a platform on the internet and who doesn’t. This serves nobody, and creates an unsafe and angry environment on the internet, when it should be a place of free expression. I only expect culture to get more and more radical from here, but I just wonder how far it will go until people realize the damage it causes.