In the wake of the Me Too movement, many men who’d been “canceled” after misconduct allegations are rumored to be plotting their comebacks, which of course has led to a debate about whether these men deserve a shot at redemption. But the fact of the matter is that we are a forgiving nation, where people deserve to learn from their mistakes and be given a second chance. Unless, of course, you’re an actress rumored to be difficult on set or one who decides to age, in which case you should never be able to work again.
But it’s not just those accused of misconduct. In today’s culture, people are being “canceled” left and right (but mostly right). For example, recently people have been calling for Saturday Night Live to fire a newly announced cast member after his racist comments and slurs were discovered online. But these slurs are from way back in 2018. Should we really be holding people accountable for things they said months ago? It was a different time back then! Everybody is so quick to pounce and make broad, sweeping statements like “a racist person shouldn’t be rewarded with a national platform.” Some say the comments were just bad jokes, in which case it’s not like SNL is hiring a racist person, just a person who is not good at writing jokes. Which is totally understandable.
But this goes far beyond this one example. People today are always so quick to “cancel,” as if they’re NBC when it was time to give SMASH a third season. But what right does the public have to decide which celebrities they like based on their behavior? It’s insane. What they’re forgetting is that celebrities are entitled to their success and people have no right to take it away. After all, since when was success in Hollywood determined by being in the public’s good graces? That’s just not how it works.
These men are being stripped of everything they’ve spent a lifetime building, they aren’t being given a single chance of redemption, and no matter how hard they may try they can’t find any job in this business, much like an actress who just turned 40. Is this really how we should be treating people? Disposing of them like they’re Andie MacDowell in 1998? Have we no humanity?
Some have tried to mount a comeback, like Louis C.K. hitting the road again and banning cell phones at his shows (surely to prevent his audiences from recording thoughtful material that shows how much he’s learned and grown from his mistakes). And more recently, Billy Bush, Trump’s scene partner in the Access Hollywood tape, returned to television. Bush’s incident, of course, wasn’t as severe as others, so looking back it’s rather silly that he lost his job over it. I mean, it’s not like he did something truly deranged like ask for equal pay. You know, the thing that lost Catt Sadler her job at E! News. So I’m glad to see that Extra has given a second chance to the entertainment journalist truly worthy of it!
After all, what are these “canceled” men supposed to do with all that time? Sit around and knit? Do you really just expect Matt Lauer to sit in his Hamptons mansion and NOT be on television? Who is he, Ann Curry? He has a god-given right to host segments on ambush makeovers and three-ingredient frittatas and anybody who says otherwise is a fascist. The man has to feed his family and their equestrian horses. For god’s sake, if his children can’t ride horses alongside Billy Joel’s daughter he’ll be the laughing-stock of Sag Harbor! And how on earth is Charlie Rose supposed to make his savings last for the rest of his life? Do you know how much money that would take? Upwards of hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.
It’s simply wrong to take people’s entire careers and livelihoods away from them in one fell swoop like this without giving them a chance to redeem themselves. Yes, these people have made terrible mistakes, but completely writing them off just because they’re racist, or homophobic, or abusive, or sexist, just seems excessive. “Cancel culture” results in people losing their entire careers in an instant, which is something that simply has no place in the entertainment industry. I mean, it’s not like these men are Katherine Heigl being a diva on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. Or Mo’Nique not campaigning for her Oscar like Lee Daniels wanted her to. Or Catt Sadler asking for equal pay. Or the Dixie Chicks speaking out against the Iraq War. Or Ellen DeGeneres coming out as gay. Or Rose McGowan and Mira Sorvino speaking out against Harvey Weinstein. Or literally any actress hitting middle age or gaining ten pounds.
After all, this is the land of opportunity.