Kate Hawkesby: When will the toxic cancel culture end?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 10:16AM
Ellen DeGeneres is facing intense backlash (Photo / AP)

Kate Hawkesby: When will the toxic cancel culture end?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 10:16AM

As another Auckland restaurant grapples with having to change its name after criticism of cultural appropriation, I was reminded that cancel culture - and the art of offence - is still in full swing the world over.

Aren't we sick of it by now?

Brand names have been in the gun, Universities, statues, pieces of art, you name it, it’s offensive.

Yes, being aware is good, but becoming obsessed with cancellation? I’m not so sure.

I don’t know how erasing history or names or statues does anything more than appease modern day guilt. And some might argue that’s good enough reason to do so.

But the latest target in for a flogging on a personal level is Ellen.

Ellen DeGeneres has been the centre of swirling allegations of disgruntled staff since the beginning of the year and she doesn’t seem to be recovering from it. It appears to be getting worse, with more and more complaints coming out of the woodwork.

I’m not assuming Ellen’s any kind of saint who doesn’t deserve backlash from those with legitimate issues or poor treatment. I know from my own experience on the set of her talk show at a behind the scenes tour with a Warners exec that staff didn’t speak highly of her, that much of what’s being said now was also being said years ago back when we were on her lot in LA.

She has a reputation, they told me, for being harsh, demanding and aloof. She was deeply unpopular with staff. But does that warrant her cancellation?

For all the many stars she showcases on her platform who’ve benefited from her daytime audience exposure, there don’t appear to be many coming out in support of her. Well, not publicly anyway, And that’s the problem.

Cancel culture is so toxic and so large, that even those who may disagree with it, wouldn’t dare say so.

Comedian Kevin Hart, someone whose been the target of cancel culture himself after a homophobic tweet from years ago resurfaced, and his Oscars hosting role got subsequently binned over it, has supported Ellen publicly. He's one of only a handful of Hollywood stars to do so. And I thought what he said summed up what’s happening these days quite well. He said: “the internet has become a crazy world of negativity, we are falling in love with people’s downfall .”

He went on to say: “this hate [shit] has to stop, hopefully it goes out of style soon..”

I know here in NZ a few outgoing politicians may agree with that.Labour MP Clare Curran in her valedictory this week said  'gotcha media' or gotcha politics' has to stop – that the media is too much about catching people out these days and not enough about issues.

But maybe that’s just a mirror reflection of what’s happening on the internet right now?

Toxic cancel culture is in vogue at the moment, it's gotten legs and sadly doesn't appear to be going away. But I think it’s high time cancel culture was, itself, cancelled.