Cancel culture is a pretty pervasive type of political, social, and economic action in our
world today. As you probably know (and if you dont, Google it!), it involves canceling persons who
engage in particularly horrendous behavior, especially involving sexual assault on women or other
at-risk minorities. In this way, cancel culture dovetails (or joins forces with) the Me Too
movement, where women in Hollywood (and in other workplaces) have spoken out about their
experiences with sexual harassment, assault, and rape.
Canceling someone usually involve suppressing their presence, and their power, in various public
settings. For example, a Hollywood producer convicted of sexually exploiting their employees (like
Harvey Weinstein), might find it impossible to find further work, and theaters and streaming
devices might stop playing their artistic products. Actors might get kicked off movie sets; comedians
(like Aziz Ansari) might have their shows pulled off air or boycotted. Usually, a person gets
canceled after it is revealed that they have abused their poweras a man, as a person with
celebrity, or otherwise.
As philosophers, how should we evaluate this phenomenon? Using Audre Lordes
understanding of speech as a form of power, which can form an objective social and cultural climate,
how should we judge whether someone should be canceled