It seems like everyone is ‘cancelled’ these days. From Kevin Hart’s Oscars’ scandal, to Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian’s feud and to YouTube stars James Charles vs. Tati Westbrook. Here is a look at the biggest ‘cancelling’ done by citizens of the internet and their repercussions on celebrity culture.
Cancelling at the Oscars: Kevin Hart
In 2018, the Academy Awards announced that Kevin Hart would be the host for the 2019 Academy Awards. But Kevin Hart soon stepped down after a series of homophobic tweets resurfaced from 2009 to 2011, as well as homophobic bits from his stand-up. Twitter users began to argue that Kevin should not be hosting the awards since he has never publicly apologised for those Tweets.
The Academy gave him an ultimatum: if he wanted to host the awards he would have to apologise. However, Hart refused to apologise saying that he had already apologised, addressed those matters and would instead step down as host. Thus, the 2019 Academy Awards did not have any main host.
At the end of 2019, he released a 6-part Netflix documentary about his rise to fame, and the things he had done wrong in the past (including his Oscars controversy).
While canceling celebrities denies them the chance to grow and expand as a human being, it should be known that anything said online remains online forever, in perpetuity, even if you do delete it. Screenshots and snapshots will be taken. This is a lesson learned well for Kevin Hart and in his documentary he acknowledges that “Sometimes it's very valuable to stop for a second and assess [...] I have no problem in saying I was wrong.”
Cancelling Celebrities: Taylor Swift & Kanye, Kim K.
In 2016, Kanye released his song ‘Famous’ that had the line “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bi*ch famous”. Taylor Swift took offense at this line and mentioned it in her acceptance speech at the Grammy Awards.
But later on Kanye West’s wife, famous influencer Kim Kardashian posted a Snapchat video which showed her husband calling up Taylor Swift and asking her permission for including a lyric in the song. Taylor Swift consented to him using a lyric, although it was not clear what lyric this was in the Snapchat video. But Taylor later on revealed that she did not know he would use the phrase “that bi*ch.”
What started off as a feud between three very influential celebrities soon became a news and media spectacle. This was expected because of the social media monopoly that the Kardashians held over the internet. The media and citizens of the internet went against Taylor and painted her as a mean liar and a snake. While Swifty fans and other citizens of the internet reproached Kim and Kanye for spinning a false narrative.
The media shattered Taylor Swift’s “good girl” persona and was used as successful fodder for the pop singer’s 2017 album ‘Reputation.’ Reputation went on to become the highest grossing tour in the United States and North America. Furthermore, in 2020 Taylor Swift released her Netflix documentary Miss Americana which received much love from critics. The pop star offers insights into her real life, finding a political voice, and moving away from living for praise. Whether you’re on Kim’s side or Taylor’s side, there is no doubt that cancel culture fuels a space of fandom wars and toxicity, diminishing celebrities to their mistakes, while also revealing to the public that celebrities are human.
Cancelling on YouTube: James Charles & Tati Westbrook
In 2019 one of the biggest Youtuber feuds was between James Charles and Tati Westbrook.
This drama started with Tati Westbrook uploading a now-deleted video called ‘Bye Sister’. In the video she alleges that James Charles did not support her vitamin brand ‘Halo Beauty’ despite her continually supporting his ventures in the beauty community; whether that is releasing makeup palettes, clothing merchandise, or appearing on her YouTube channel.
Their history goes right back to the beginning with James Charles even attending her wedding and doing her makeup, as well as the times her husband has helped James Charles with his contracts and deals. Additionally, she also lays claims about James Charles as a manipulative and fame-hungry person whose “ego is so bad he thinks everything is about him.”
In response James Charles released an apology video that was not received well. In response to this backlash, he released another called ‘No More Lies’ which is still on his channel. He goes in depth and breaks down every single allegation that was laid against him by Tati, with receipts to prove his points.
The reason that the James Charles/Tati Westbrook feuds is one of the biggest feuds is because of how quickly the internet switched. Firstly, the internet cancelled James Charles when Tati released her video, and then cancelled Tati when James Charles released his video, and then cancelled Jeffree Starr (another beauty YouTuber) when he got involved without knowing what was going on.
This goes to show the toxicity of not only the beauty community in which these three are intertwined but also the toxicity of cancel culture where fans and followers jump on bandwagons too quickly without any factual evidence.
Furthermore, cancel culture denies the ability for celebrities to grow and change. But on the other hand, cancel culture helps citizens keep celebrities accountable. So, what do you guys think about cancel culture?
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