Over the past year, I’ve been shocked and uncomfortable with the amount of celebrity cancellations.
Ellen DeGeneres was cancelled for creating a “toxic” work environment. J.K. Rowling was cancelled for allegedly transphobic comments. Chris Pratt was cancelled for going to a church known for being anti-LGBTQ+ as well as rumors that he supported former president Trump in the last election.
These three people are just some of those on an extensive list of cancelled celebrities.
Now, it’s one thing to cancel Netflix or Amazon Prime or Music, Sia’s controversial movie, but to cancel a human being for an action they probably already regret and apologized for is just disrespectful. It shows that you have no regard for them and their privacy, which, as a celebrity constantly being scrutinized by the public, they have very little of.
Yes, these people have made mistakes. I’m not saying they do not need to be held accountable for their actions. They messed up. They were insensitive and spoke without thinking, perhaps even with thinking. These cancelled celebrities acted with disrespect toward other humans, offended cultures and communities, and should apologize at the very least.
Sure, many do apologize, but even they are cancelled because they didn’t apologize earlier.
Let’s talk about what Jesus would do.
Whether or not you believe Christ was the Son of God, you must admit that Jesus Christ exemplified complete respect and kindness toward everyone he met, and the result was that those people he interacted with completely changed. They reflected his benevolence and turned their lives around.
Exhibit A: Zacchaeus, a crooked tax collector in Jesus’ time paid back four times the amount he cheated off the people around him to right the injustices he’d created. This happened not because Jesus cancelled him but because Jesus went into his home and spent time with him. He showed Zacchaeus some grace, and that’s what improved the situation.
Perhaps we could talk about Buddha. His kindness and benevolence is almost equal to that of Jesus Christ, with the same outcome.
One day, as Buddha was teaching his disciples in the shade of a tree, a man came up and spat in his face. Buddha’s reaction was not one of anger or offense. His disciples wanted to punish the man, but Buddha didn’t.
The result? This man apologized without being prompted.
We could apply this philosophy to those celebrities who make mistakes and intentionally or unintentionally offend others. Cancellation is cruel. It doesn’t just mean you stop watching their shows, listening to their music or reading their books, it means their good reputation, any shred of dignity they had left after years of standing in the spotlight goes down the drain.
Furthermore, Gen Z is the generation that claims to care about mental health the most, but they really don’t show any regard for the mental health of the celebrity to beat them down and tear them apart for one mistake. Showing grace and kindness, even giving them some privacy would actually help their mental health and overall well-being.
Chris Harrison was cancelled for speaking in support of Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant on The Bachelor, ultimately trying to defend her actions as a young, naïve adult. He was doing his best to protect her from the painful blows of the public, showing his compassion for her.
Cancel culture removed him from the show entirely, doing the complete opposite, acting without any compassion and understanding. Perhaps if we had shown him some grace, there would have been less damage..
In Harrison and Kirkconnell’s situation, Harrison was understanding and owned up to the effect of his words and actions. Gina Carano, cancelled for her social media posts attacking cultural and religious identities different from her own, didn’t apologize for her tweets and the impact they had on others. Instead, she joined a conservative news network, fighting back in anger without responding to the negative effect of her words.
Perhaps a little grace would encourage the celebrity to be more understanding in their response to being called out.
Cancel culture is toxic and more harmful than it helps. Of course, there are situations in which drastic measures should be taken, but when it comes to a normal, human celebrity, everyone makes mistakes, even in the spotlight.
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