But what is cancel culture?
Cancel Culture Today
Fast forward to the 21st century and the phrase cancel culture, has fast gained popularity. Old wine in a new bottle perhaps?
For decades, human rights activists have lobbied for free speech and succeeded but this recent cancel culture phenomenon seems to be pushing back hard.
Comedian Bill Cosby was jailed for 3-10 years and fined US$25,000 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault including costs to prosecution. When allegations against him first came to light the backlash was fast and furious. The fallout saw organisations revoking honours and accolades bestowed on him. Some universities rescinded honorary degrees conferred on him. The media darling went on to become a virtual outcast with many sponsors and networks pulling out of his syndicated The Cosby Show.
Harvey Weinstein, who was called out for being a sexual predator by several top Hollywood actresses, went from movie mogul and maverick to zero and now serves a jail sentence of 23 years. The Harvey Weinstein saga spawned the rise of the “Me Too” movement.
Among those who gained notoriety were actor Edison Chen who was caught in a sex scandal with leaked photos going viral on the Internet. Then there was Jaycee Chan, scion of Jackie Chan, who was arrested in a drug bust that went viral and which led to the loss of lucrative endorsement deals from Adidas, KFC, etc.
Closer home there was the case of Singapore permanent resident Amy Cheong, an assistant director at NTUC, who made offensive comments about Malay weddings. Her employers were swift in terminating her employment and she went to Australia. MediaCorp was fined after it was called out for depicting an actor in blackface.