Can we support celebrities who have been canceled?

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Matilda Pihart

Two students contemplate Kanye West having been canceled recently.

How do high school students view canceled culture?
In 2023, Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Instagram take up so much of high schoolers’ time and shape the way they live their lives. From popular creators, to celebrities, to friends, we are engrossed with what is going on in other people’s lives. Students spend hours every day looking at videos, trends, and pictures of other people’s experiences. When someone in the spotlight slips up, the internet community is instantly there to end their career, no questions asked. This concept has been coined cancel culture.

Cancel culture is viewed differently by everyone but the basic consequences are usually the same: the community ostracizes a person, their career is over, and they become hated by millions of people. Junior Kate Walesch dislikes cancel culture and the effects it has on a person and community. Walesch believes that we usually don’t know the full story behind the incident, and thus cancel culture can be unreasonable. “Instead of just jumping to conclusions and hating on people in their comments we should educate ourselves [on the issue],” Walesch said.

A big issue with cancel culture is the underlying fact that it can often turn into cyberbullying. By posting anything online you are allowing anyone to see, watch, or comment on the content. So, when someone is canceled millions of people become riled up to slander them and their image. Walesch feels that occasionally celebrities just do bad things but the reactions of fans have been getting way out of control. “Sometimes I think canceling culture is justified, and sometimes I think it’s just people who are chronically online,” Walesch said.

Being canceled comes with a lot of baggage. Whether the individual is famous or not they usually go through career-ending backlash. This has become controversial because canceling someone has become a lot easier. People on the internet have been getting canceled left and right for unimportant nonsense because viewers don’t agree with the content people are posting. Walesch recalled an absurd instance on the popular app Tik Tok where a girl was canceled. “Some girl got canceled just for hitting a golf ball into the Grand Canyon,” Walesch said.

Although many people are being canceled for unimportant mistakes there are still many valid issues worthy of canceling a person. Many celebrities are facing controversy after mistakes they made in the past are resurfacing, or missteps happening lately are being called out. Junior Shale Horning has been continuously noticing that every week different influencers and celebrities are featured in the spotlight of cancel culture. “People that are canceled should be canceled for a real reason, not something irrelevant,” Horning said.

How do students react to supporting canceled artists?
Artist and creator Kanye West, has been repeatedly canceled by different groups. From his drama with artist Taylor Swift, ex-wife Kim Kardashian, and comedian Pete Davidson, West is not going through this for the first time. Although, many fans claim his recent decisions have been his worst mistake so far. His current reason for cancelation has been the repeated anti-semitic tweets and comments made on his Twitter account and in interviews with the press. Many of West’s listeners are disappointed in his actions. Junior Anna Amaris enjoys some of the artist’s older music but is adamant about not supporting him as a person. “I’m definitely not gonna go to any of his concerts or promote his music, but I mean sometimes you have to just separate the creator from their creations,” Amaris said.

For fans wary of supporting artists who have been canceled and not wanting to promote their brand it can be difficult to enjoy their art. For musicians, when fans listen to their work it still brings them a small amount of profit and support. Although, there are other ways that support them a lot more. “Streaming still supports [West] in one way, but it is a small part that isn’t really as effective as buying his actual [merchandise] from stores,” Amaris said.

The idea of an artist being independent of their art has been brought up in discussions creating a unique point of view. Although many people try to disconnect themselves from canceled artists, some fans still enjoy listening, watching, or supporting solely the work of canceled artists. Junior Davis Punchacar enjoys listening to music, but after Kanye West was recently canceled Puncochar had to separate West from the music he creates. “Personally I still listen to the artist if I liked them even though they’re canceled,” Puncochar said.

For music fans, it can be hard to completely stop listening to an artist who has made an impact on your life. The artist Harry Styles has been caught up in controversy surrounding his alleged affair with actress and director Oliva Wilde. For Amaris, who has been a major fan of Styles since his days in the boy band One Direction and has gone to many of his concerts to support him, this was disappointing. She believes that the stars had good intentions and is happy to continue supporting Styles and Wilde. “I feel like sometimes we don’t know the whole situation,” Amaris said.