In the month since the first Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd’s death, the “Cancel Culture” mobs have been very busy. They’ve claimed Aunt Jemima, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, the “Splash Mountain” ride at Disneyland, and have even attempted to cancel the national anthem. Jimmy Kimmel has somehow escaped being fully canceled despite repeatedly wearing blackface and making pervy comments about a 15-year-old Megan Fox (and apparently the cancel mobs are totally ignoring all of the other episodes of The Man Show, or he’d still be in hot water).
Kimmel issued a half-assed apology a few days after the blackface videos “resurfaced.”
“I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us,” he said per CNN.
He added: “Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices.”
That Kimmel’s past was brought up at all rubbed certain progressives the wrong way. Cancel culture is their weapon, not the GOP’s. A Newsweek writer pounced on Kimmel’s use of the phrase “become a weapon” to pen a column entitled “Conservatives Weaponize Cancel Culture to Tame Anti-Trump Celebrities.”
Excuse me? There is no evidence that any anti-Trump celebrities are being tamed in any way. Aside from being offended that Kimmel was called out for his hypocrisy, the writer seems to believe that only progressives are qualified to point out such things.
“While the majority of the discourse around the controversy comes from people predominantly concerned with calling out racism and dismantling systemic racism in the media, some of the criticism comes from notable right-wing figures who are weaponizing the current discourse….”
Her examples of the terrible scourge of conservatives “weaponizing the current discourse” and attempting to participate in cancel culture? Conservatives hitting back against Kathy Griffin, Bette Midler, and Alyssa Milano when they made either violent or absurdly racist (and false) claims.
Milano tweeted this, referencing the Covington Catholic boys.
The red MAGA hat is the new white hood.
Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself. #FirstThoughtsWhenIWakeUp
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 20, 2019
Of course, Milano didn’t revise her take after additional information/videos came to light showing that the incident wasn’t at all like the media portrayed it. Newsweek portrays Milano’s tweet as “controversial” and claims that responses were overwhelmingly from conservative accounts. Still, how is that an example of conservatives “weaponizing” cancel culture? What negative consequence did Milano suffer because of these responses from conservative Twitter accounts? Jeez.
Kathy Griffin, who should have known better considering the backlash she faced after she participated in a photo shoot in which she held a “replica of Trump’s bloodied, decapitated head in her hand…
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 29, 2017
… wished death upon Trump in May 2020. Newsweek’s characterization of the newest episode:
In May, Griffin tweeted that Trump should be injected with air, prompting expected outrage from the president’s supporters.
“Prompting expected outrage”? The woman said that the President of the United States should be killed. And here’s their example of the “expected outrage” – Charlie Kirk tweeting a question about why liberals continually get away with wishing death upon elected officials and asking the Secret Service to look into it.
Kathy Griffin just advocated for injecting President Trump with a syringe full of air—which can be fatal
Why do Democrats get away with “joking” about killing the president?
Hey @SecretService, you should be looking into this.
RT so they can’t ignore!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 27, 2020
Poor Kathy Griffin. Her career must have taken quite a hit from that most recent controversy and Charlie Kirk’s tweet.
And then there’s Bette Midler, who intentionally misquoted President Trump. Trump, on brand, tweeted that she was a “washed up psycho.”
Washed up psycho @BetteMidler was forced to apologize for a statement she attributed to me that turned out to be totally fabricated by her in order to make “your great president” look really bad. She got caught, just like the Fake News Media gets caught. A sick scammer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2019
As President of the United States Donald Trump definitely has more power than the average Twitter user, but he doesn’t have the power to cancel Midler’s career since the “overwhelming” majority of decision makers in her field agree with her assessment of Trump.
While some conservatives might wish to weaponize cancel culture against progressives, the reality is that it’s impossible to achieve. As the Newsweek writer’s examples show, progressive celebrities rarely suffer any consequences when conservatives point out that they said or did reprehensible things, and when they do (Kathy Griffin with the severed Trump head), they rebound fairly quickly. No, cancel culture is almost exclusively an exercise in self-flagellation by progressives.