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Is It Cancel Culture, Or Are We Finally Holding Celebrities Accountable?

If you’ve been on social media, like, ever, I’m sure you’ve noticed there’s a bit of an ongoing “war” between Gen Z and Millennials. We occasionally make fun of their style and jokes, they create weird offbeat raps about us, and the cycle repeats. But I’ve found that the one common jab that Millennials like to hit us with is that we’re “too sensitive.” We’ve, supposedly, created a cancel culture where we turn our backs on universally adored celebrities for the most ridiculous reasons. You know, miniscule things, like saying slurs or grooming minors or sexually assaulting women

Maybe it’s because this kind of information is so readily available now, but it feels like no one is safe these days. I’ll come across a new singer or actor, and before I get too attached, I have to do the dreaded Google search. You know, the infamous “*insert celebrity* *insert bad thing*” search, where you just have to cross your fingers and hope that nothing comes up. This unwillingness to trust obviously comes from all the other celebrities we have loved and lost. J.K Rowling (transphobic). Bill Cosby (sexual abuse of women). Jimmy Fallon (blackface). Even Bob Saget (inappropriate sexual behavior). People we have grown up with, all exhibiting inexcusable behavior.

But it isn’t our fault that no one is safe. We didn’t make them do or say these horrible things! So why are we as a generation attacked for standing by our moral codes? I can’t speak for everyone, but I tend to avoid people who are racist, or homophobic, or abusive. So why is it any different when it comes to people in the spotlight? Why should we stick our necks out for people we really don’t know, when we can simply walk away and stop supporting them? These celebrities made their beds, and now they have to lie in them. 

it's always sunny frustrated dennis
FXX / Giphy

Again, other generations have had a hard time understanding this concept of accountability. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or some aggressive form of loyalty, but they can’t wrap their heads around condemning someone over “little mistakes.” But why not? Yes, they may have written a great album, or been in an incredible movie, or even been a pillar in our childhoods… but so what? We know right from wrong, and all we expect of our favorite celebrities is that they know the difference between the two as well. 

So, I guess all this begs the question, is it cancel culture, or are we finally holding celebrities accountable? In my opinion, canceling them is holding them accountable. It’s a form of punishment that other generations have failed to give them, and it’s about time. Sure, there will always be people who take it too far, but I think that it’s about time that people start having repercussions for their actions. And I’m more than happy to be a part of the generation that finally is making that happen.

Bridie Howlett

U Mass Amherst '24

Bridie is a freshman at UMass Amherst majoring in Animal Science. In her free time, you'll find her listening to music, reading a book, or obsessing over her dogs!
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