How ‘cancel culture’ quickly became one of the buzziest and most controversial ideas on the internet

origins of cancel culture 2x1
origins of cancel culture 2×1

Samantha Lee/Insider

  • “Cancel culture,” or the idea that people too often pile onto others for bad behavior, emerged only in the past few years but has become a ubiquitous phrase among English speakers.

  • President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump have both criticized a culture of relentlessly calling people out for alleged wrongdoing. In an address at Mount Rushmore last month, Trump said it was “the very definition of totalitarianism.”

  • As social-media users decry cancel culture and poke fun at the criticism itself, the phrase has come to describe a wide variety of behaviors and their consequences.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a congressional antitrust hearing on July 29, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio had a specific question for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“Mr. Cook,” Jordan said, “is the ‘cancel culture’ mob dangerous?”

“Cancel culture,” which President Donald Trump last month called

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University of Maryland students struggle to cancel housing leases

When South Campus Commons at the University of Maryland, College Park, canceled its apartment leases in March, Julia Kane called it “the right thing to do” during the pandemic.

By June, the university also gave students the option to cancel their fall housing agreements without penalty. But then South Campus Commons and The Courtyards, the public-private apartments owned by the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, told students they were legally bound to their leases.

Capstone On-Campus Management, the entity hired to manage the apartments, told 3,000 students with leases their only options were to re-lease to another student, to pay and live on-campus, or to pay and live at home, Kane said. Kane, a senior studying marketing and operations management and business analytics, managed to cancel her lease cost-free, but it only happened after days of pressure from her father, who is an attorney.

“When I signed this lease back in

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Majority of UK employers have had to cancel work experience due to Covid-19

<span>Photograph: aberCPC/Alamy Stock Photo</span>
Photograph: aberCPC/Alamy Stock Photo

UK students hoping to enter the jobs market have had work experience placements postponed, interviews cancelled and job offers withdrawn as businesses struggle in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new survey has revealed.

Three fifths of employers (61%) say they have had to cancel some or all of their work experience placements, with many warning they will be hiring fewer or no graduates in the next year.

A YouGov poll for the Sutton Trust social mobility charity found that small- and medium-sized businesses in Britain were the most likely to be turning away graduates, with almost half (49%) cancelling all internships and work experience placements, compared to just under a third (29%) of bigger employers.

Almost two in five (39%) graduate employers said they expected to hire fewer graduates or none at all in the next 12 months, according to the poll of 1,000

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Is ‘cancel culture’ really a threat to free speech?

“The 360” shows you diverse perspectives on the day’s top stories and debates.

What’s happening

The phrase “Twitter, do your thing” can set off a potentially powerful series of events in what has become a repeated online phenomenon: A person or brand does something considered offensive or problematic, a social media user posts about it and the incident snowballs across the internet, allowing countless people to put pressure on a person or organization until that entity is “canceled.”

The idea of “cancel culture” — first coined by Black Twitter users — dates back to 2015 and began as a means of calling out friends or acquaintances. Since then it has evolved to targeting the powerful, sometimes with highly effective results (for example, the #MeToo movement and #OscarsSoWhite campaign). Public shaming is in no way new, but the internet has made the process of “canceling” even more potent and widespread.


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Has Twitter’s cancel culture gone too far?

The latest celebrity to enter the social discourse surrounding online cancellation: Nick Cannon.

The comedian’s name trended on Twitter Wednesday after he was fired by ViacomCBS over “hateful speech.” The news added fuel to the debate over whether holding celebrities accountable for their opinions has gone too far.

Some argued that the host of “Wild ‘n Out,” which airs on VH1 and MTV, should be “canceled,” which often entails boycotting a famous person’s work. Others questioned: “What happened to Freedom of Speech?

Twitter has become a powerful court of public opinion and “cancel culture” plays a role. The phenomenon occurs when people get upset about something that a company or person has done or something they have said. It also can be divisive with opposers saying threats of cancellation stifles free speech.

Getting “canceled” can mean being removed in many ways. In recent weeks, episodes of “Live PD”

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The Forehead-Slappingly Stupid Attempt to Cancel Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is a brilliant cognitive psychologist based out of Harvard. As a scientist he’s done important research on how the brain processes language and other information. As a writer he’s brought that topic to a wide audience through easily accessible books such as Words and Rules — and also delved deeply into other areas of interest, including human nature (The Blank Slate), violence (The Better Angels of Our Nature), and progress (Enlightenment Now). And as a reader he consumes a vast amount of writing from across the political spectrum and shares the most interesting pieces with his followers on Twitter.

You can certainly disagree with the guy. He holds controversial views on things like sex differences and genes, and he hasn’t kept those views quiet but instead publicly advanced them with careful arguments and extensive research. He’s also willing to engage

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Cancel the bar exam? California considers allowing law graduates to skip test due to COVID-19

It’s a ticket to a potentially lucrative career as a lawyer — and a grueling, dreaded rite of passage that can defeat even the most promising young legal mind.

Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging, there’s a chance thousands of recent law school graduates could become lawyers in California without having to take the bar exam.

Hundreds of recent graduates, along with the deans of some of California’s most prestigious law schools, are asking the California Supreme Court to cancel the upcoming exam. Instead of having to pass the exam, the graduates would automatically be licensed in California under a system used in other states and known as “diploma privilege.”

The issue is coming to a boil. The exam, initially set for late July, has been postponed to early September by the State Bar of California, which administers the tests. The State Bar’s backup plan is to hold the test

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