Cancel Culture Simply A Chilling Effect?

Graphic by Anirudh Bhattacharya

I’m sure we all have, if not experienced at least, observed people calling out one another on their offensive words, posts or tweets that have hurt certain sentiments or groups. Such people take their offence to social media in order to gain support and make themselves heard, and it’s not too long until others have expressed their views on it and the molehill becomes a mountain. This may result in canceling the offending party by disapproving the status they achieved, blocking or blacklisting them in the eyes of the public. This is what ends up contributing to the cancel culture.

The Cancel culture is a new-age expression of expulsion, where a person is excluded from social and formal circles. This can take place personally, online or even on social media! This culture is an adaptation of the popular ‘Call-out Culture’. This is an idea comprising forms of expelling, snubbing and banning of an individual who has supposedly behaved or expressed their unpopular opinions in a contentious and disputable fashion. 

Many times these call-outs have been debated as the right to free speech and to encourage responsibility. These ‘cancelled’ people are generally celebrities and reputed people from various professions. Significantly, most of these individuals usually persist their positions continuing their profession ordinarily. But wait, how is this related to the Chilling Effect? Let’s read on to find their connection!

The restraint or hindrance of the licit exercise to valid and authorized rights by the menacing of legal approval is known as Chilling Effect. This can be due to litigations like a lawsuit threat, a new law coming into force, amendments in old acts or the court passing their decision. Any such actions can cause uncertainty in a citizen as to the usage of their rights dreading its consequences. This is why numerous people have criticized the cancel culture claiming it to be a form of the chilling effect.

The cancel culture has mostly received negative and adverse responses which are commonly used in discussions and debates on free speech and censorship. This culture is practiced more on social media than anywhere else, as it provides the advantage to not meet the individual in-person. 

In most scenarios, the goal of this culture is to manoeuvre the public away from the  profession of the individual or from buying the products of the company that is being called out by giving it a negative light. In this view, this is a form of boycott and an exhibit of capitalism. At bottom, making a company or individual pay for their controversial words or actions has been going on for several years in the past. 

A couple of famous examples of people who have had to face the cancel culture are J.K. Rowling, the author of the famous ‘Harry Potter’ series has faced a backlash for voicing her opinion that she fears the pushing for transgender rights will eventually jeopardize women rights. Gina Carano, the popular ‘Mandalorian’ actress was instantly fired by Disney on social media when the voiced her thought that being a Republican in the 21st century is no less than being a Jewish during Nazi Germany. Such acts have only led to further infuriation among their critics, who have gone to the extent of calling for boycotts.

I think that the ‘cancel culture’ itself should be boycotted. If the critics have the right to express their disagreement to an individual’s opinion, in this case the celebrity. The celebrity too has equal rights to voice their opinion and express their view. None of them should be held guilty or be ‘canceled’ as the same rights apply to all and giving them the bad light and  provoking other people against them is mere injustice.

However, critics say that the cancel culture has over empowered certain individuals to challenge the state of affairs, fame and personal opinions of those in power by demanding their accountability. Whereas, others simply feel it promotes free expression, reduces the exchange of views and helps people to go astray from their secure zones. 


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4 thoughts on “Cancel Culture Simply A Chilling Effect?

  1. Salma Maher

    It’s such a privilege to see youngsters are already thinking on such deep and very real subjects and are not hesitant in sharing their point of view…. these young minds are already exhibiting such maturity, depth of thoughts, ability to understand and comprehend the seriousness of a subject, that just has me appreciate their talent… i m sure with constant encouragement, nourishment and guidance they will strengthen their wings of thoughts and soar high where only sky will be the limit!!!
    Wishing the author S.K.Auberon all the very best!! good job done, waiting for more 👍🏻


    Very well written. This is a topic that needs serious attention, just because it’s easier to use social media and galvanise people to go against an individual or thought, this cancel culture is thriving.
    We all need to be accepting of differences of any kinds in people for positive outcomes and a happier society. And not chase nos to be popular.
    Interesting viewpoints from the author, well done!!

  3. S.K. Auberon

    My sincere Gratitude from the bottom of my heart! The fact that you took out time to read my article and give such constructive feedback means the world to me! Thank you once again! Hope to treat you with more soon!
    – S.K. Auberon


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