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Cancel Culture, Sexual Assault, and Rex Orange County

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Providence chapter.

In today’s climate, in a world full of very opinionated people, cancel culture is flourishing and thriving. So when people get wind of a wrongdoing done by anyone, especially someone renowned and beloved, that person is quickly turned upon.

In the case of Rex Orange County (Alexander James O’Conner), an idolized music artist who was charged with six accounts of sexual assault and is reported to go to court for his trial starting January third, 2023, the world was quickly up in arms ready to end his career. This ruling is so monumental due to much of O’Conner’s work focusing on heavier more intimate topics such as self-acceptance, love, hope, toxic situations, depression, stress, and more. 

The timing and case of O’Conner’s is ironic due to the more recent societal stress upon bringing awareness to topics such as these and the strive to recognize that they are not fantom topics and that many people are affected every day. The acknowledgment by O’Conner of these topics created a safe space within his music for many of his fans. They were able to resort to his music for a sense of connection and company in their personal trying time.

But now this is gone. Now Rex Orange County is associated with the terrible account of repeatedly taking advantage of a woman, while simultaneously betraying hundreds of thousands of followers who had thought they could find solace within him.

We see this trend occurring with many beloved celebs when they stand for a symbol we believe in, which is then ruined when they commit an act that is less than noteworthy. Left and right are people becoming known as criminals for various reasons, and it calls upon us to ask who are the people we idolize. Do they deserve the pedestal that we set them upon?

So, back to the novice topic of cancel culture, does Rex Orange County deserve to be canceled righteously? Ultimately, that is up to the individual, but his misdemeanors are inexcusable and unforgivable.

Paige Papa

Providence '26

Paige is a freshman attending Providence College and is currently an undecided major. She's interested in the sciences, specifically chemistry, and is looking to learn more about that!