Cancel Culture: At what point can we forgive and forget?


Tony Webster

A picture of a Chick-Fil-A chain, famous for good chicken and homophobic donations

Peter Wujek, Business Manager

It seems so simple. We can just stop eating at Chick-Fil-A. DaBaby’s songs aren’t even that good. They are cancelled.

Cancel culture describes the process of boycotting a celebrity or company because of something controversial they said or did. For instance, people discovered that popular fast food chain Chick-Fil-A donated $1.8 million to  anti-LGTBQ+ charities in 2017. Thus, Chick-Fil-A has been cancelled by people who support the LGBTQ+ community, and everyone should stop eating there. 

Reality check. The drive through lines at Chick-Fil-A are still full every day. Local locations haven’t closed due to a lack of business. Obviously, people haven’t stopped eating there, but why? 

Their products are too good. Because Chick-Fil-A sandwiches are solid quality, people will not let them go. Their transgressions are forgivable because the food tastes good. If Chick-Fil-A made awful sandwiches, it would be unbelievably easy to stop eating there because you aren’t losing anything. For many people, Chick-Fil-A fills a niche that other restaurants cannot, so they can’t stop going there.

At Rolling Loud in Miami earlier this year, popular rap artist DaBaby decided to let out some homophobic remarks regarding the AIDS epidemic. 

“If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two or three weeks, put your cellphone light in the air.”

Backlash ramped up on social media, and he was added to the cancelled list. He was even removed from the Lollapalooza lineup because the festival stands for diversity. He posted an apology on Instagram, then promptly deleted it. It seemed like he was beyond saving.

Then Kanye West came along and dropped “Donda.” DaBaby is featured on the song “Jail pt. 2.” Arguably, he had one of the best verses on the album. But why are people listening to it? Shouldn’t he be ignored and shunned for the rest of his career? He provided no apology and no sympathy for the people he wronged, so why is he getting any attention?

Because the product is good. When many other verses on “Donda” fell short, DaBaby’s verse became a highlight to listen to. And thus, his wrongs were no longer as bad as they had seemed.

Of course, this issue goes beyond just Chick-Fil-A and DaBaby. James Corden acted as a gay man in “Prom,” J.K. Rowling continues to invalidate trans experiences, Sia created an awful movie making a mockery of people with autism. Yet, people still watch carpool karaoke, read Harry Potter, and listen to “Chandelier.” 

It seems so unbelievably easy to cancel an artist or a company, yet we forgive and forget more than we actually cancel. If the product is good, we can ignore the shortcomings of the producer. Should we? I really can’t say. But do we? Yes.