Cancel culture is at it again, canceling right and left, and not just metaphorically. Last week the left canceled “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison and contestant Rachel Lindsay, as well as actress Gina Carano, who starred as Cara Dune in “The Mandalorian.”
Carano’s story, however, was different from other celebrity cancellations we’ve seen in the last year.
Cancel culture is a social phenomenon that picked up speed in recent years and snowballed during the Black Lives Matter riots of the summer. It generally involves digging up some long-forgotten pictures or social media posts of a public figure and judging the person based on current “woke” standards. The victim is subsequently wrung out on social media, and despite usually issuing a humiliating apology, is trampled underfoot.
This new version of cultural censorship enables trolls and social-justice warriors to condemn a person for his political beliefs, put him out of a job, harass him at his home, and ensure that his name lives in infamy. It’s dangerous for democracy and our right to free speech, and it’s fatal for the careers of many. Unless, of course, you happen to be a leftist; then, you might be able to come back into the limelight in three or four months.
Carano’s story is different, however, because she was canceled while comparing cancel culture to Nazi persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.
In an Instagram post that has now been removed, Carano reminded her audience that prior to the Holocaust, Jews were silenced from dissent and eventually beaten in the streets by their own neighbors. She asked how that was any different from hating others for their political views.
Many labeled this “antisemitic.”
Well, only “antisemitic” because, for once, the left is being compared to the Nazis, not the right. They don’t like that, and Carano clearly didn’t get the memo.
On Feb. 10, the Twitter mob exploded with demands to #FireGinaCarano, and Disney did just that. Carano discovered that she was fired in a public statement from Disney which called her original post “abhorrent.”
Carano did not issue an apology. She did not grovel before the mob. She moved on.
On Feb. 12, she was hired by The Daily Wire and given an equally, if not better, job than the one she had with Disney. She will be producing, directing, and starring in her own film. Ironically, the owner of Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro, is a vocal Jew. That he hired Carano makes one wonder how antisemitic her post actually was.
Carano’s story ended very differently than the many other cancellations of the last year, it ended with what she called: “a dream come true.”
Compare this with “The Bachelor” stars I mentioned. When Lindsay was canceled last week after a picture of her from a college party surfaced, she apologized. Her apology was not accepted, and Harrison made comments in an interview suggesting there was something wrong with a culture not ready to exchange forgiveness. He was subsequently canceled and has since extended his own unaccepted apology.
So why is Carano’s story so different? Maybe there are a few lessons here for Hillsdale students, who will likely be affected by cancel culture once they have left their college years behind.
The most apparent lesson seems to be “don’t apologize for your beliefs.” As Lindsay and Harrison discovered, apologies won’t change whether or not you’re canceled. Might as well go down in flames of distinguished glory.
Another lesson: our childhood friend, Disney, has been ensnared by the real-life villain of a degraded culture. We largely ignored allegations that Disney praised Chinese police who were involved in human rights violations against Uighur Muslims during the production of “Mulan” in 2019. We’ve turned a mental blind eye to the leftist propaganda being spewed in their newer films and TV shows, such as normalizing gay and LGBTQ lifestyles in movies like “Beauty and the Beast.” Gina Carano’s story tells us Disney is no longer the happy-go-lucky, “the princess finds a prince” company we thought we knew.
This speaks to a broader point: The culture is ensnared, it has become almost impossible to live in the world, have a career, make money, post anything to the internet, without the threat of being canceled hanging over our heads.
The way to fix the problem isn’t to cancel the cancel culture. The way to fix the problem is to transform culture — one conversation at a time.
Aubrey Gulick is a sophomore studying history.