Posted on: August 17, 2020 Posted by: James Merrington Comments: 0

Ahhh, cancel culture. Where do we begin?  Actually, where do we get off? For some people it’s literally at the drop of a hat, and for others, it takes a lot longer. I often wonder how much time people have on their hands to sit online with their anonymous chums, plotting how to end someone’s career. Now, I’m not talking about rightfully outing someone or bringing facts to people’s attention that create positive movements for change. No, my issue is with those who use social media and toxic hashtags to spread misinformation like wildfire. 

Firstly, I want to say that I understand cancel culture has had its fair share of controversy, and although I’m not an avid hashtagger or sharer on socials, I too have got on board from the side lines when cancelling has been rightfully due. However, more than often a new cancel trend sweeps across our screens, generating momentum at remarkable speeds even if they aren’t as positive as they seem.

You may be thinking, where’s all of this coming from, James? Well, I have only just watched Killing Eve for the first time. I actually wasn’t that familiar with Jodie Comer before this, but after watching 24 episodes in record time, and making a few Google searches, I’m glad I am now. Funnily enough, it was during the attempted cancellation of the actress that I first watched her as Villanelle. Luckily, I’m not impressionable enough to read into click baiting headlines and I certainly don’t allow them to warp my opinion of something before I’ve formatted my own. Therefore, I watched the show and did some research with an open mind. 

The first thing I want to say about Jodie Comer is that her performance is phenomenal; her voice acting, delivery and style creates a sympathetic outlook for a character who’s truly sociopathic, and who should have no emotional outlook at all. Secondly, I think that rumour mills shouldn’t give people the right to decide who a woman can date, even if he’s a Republican and a Trump supporter. It’s like going to university and isolating yourself from anyone who voted differently to you, I just don’t get it. 

Now, I’m not American or a part of the LGBTQ+ Community, and although I detest anyone who is against equality for all, maybe I’m not in a position to feel as outraged by who she is dating (like a lot of Twitter seemed to be). However, after seeing comments criticising Comer for playing an LGBT character, speaking out on LGBT issues, and even posting a BLM hashtag, when she may or may not be dating a Republican, I can’t help but think – have people got nothing better to do than think  about the worst in people? 

Maybe I’m just naive to the trend, but I think that rallying behind a hashtag like #JodieComerisoverparty and accusing her of fake white allyship is possibly damaging for any positive movement for change. 

I understand that things might come to light which may make me eat my words, but let’s get a few things clear. Couples agree and disagree on many things, one of which will always be politics. The difficulty with this comes when you’re in the public eye and under constant scrutiny. Now, this may come as a surprise to those of you who have posted stuff to your stories like “if you’re a Tory, delete me now,” but people can disagree and still get along – still love, even.

I could understand it a bit more if Jodie Cromer were American, but she’s not? She has no say in American politics. She can’t vote, she can’t run for office and she certainly shouldn’t be held accountable for her rumour mill “boyfriend’s” political outlook.  

Since Comers attempted cancellation, everyone’s favourite bigot JK Rowling has been trending again for her transphobic comments. I understand the need for Rowling to be “cancelled” to a degree because her views are just outrageous. However, how does that compare to Comer’s cancellation? The answer is: it doesn’t. The issue is jumping the gun, cancelling someone before they have even done anything – regardless of fact – and motivated by personal outrage instead.

What cancel culture like this suggests is that you should only align with people who share your views of life and that mixing, befriending (or even loving) someone else who differs from your political outlook is wrong. It is a toxic trend when unwarranted, and it can be counterproductive for so many reasons.

But let’s be real, I have no actual say when it comes to what people can post online, I just think that some of these trends need to be taken with a pinch of salt, instead of jumping on the bandwagon, trying to ruin someone’s career over rumours.

By James Merrington

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