What is Cancel Culture?

If you are on Twitter, you have probably heard of Brother Nature, the wholesome resident animal whisperer. Brother Nature is the nickname of twenty-year-old Kelvin Peña, whose tweets often feature him interacting with animals, from Canela the deer to Moores the cow. He is also known as being a ray of sunshine on everyone’s timeline; however, after a resurface of old racist and sexist tweets, it seems Twitter has canceled Brother Nature. Not sure what this means? Do not worry, I will explain.

Photo courtesy of Twitter

If you have been keeping up with current events, you have probably witnessed cancel culture without even knowing. Many celebrities have been claimed by cancel culture in recent years, including Laura Lee, Roseanne Barr, James Gunn, and Kevin Spacey, among many others. Although these attacks usually come in the form of people dredging up questionable, old social media posts from celebrities, cancel culture itself is the idea that after making a mistake a person should be completely removed from their platform.

“Canceling” is more enforced by society and peer pressure. Those who come to the defense of a canceled celebrity often face backlash from other social media users. This type of pressure can even affect a celebrity’s job, as both Roseanne Barr and Kevin Spacey had their respective shows canceled after the incidents, and James Gunn was fired by Disney.

After Peña’s tweets resurfaced, Twitter users rose to both defend and condemn him. His tweets were racist, sexist, and fascist. Some examples include comparing Jay-Z to a monkey and using a racial slur, voicing his support for Chris Brown and claiming that women’s rights were a “joke," and even supporting “Heil Hitler." Many people argue that due to the fact that all these tweets were from 2011 to 2012, they are not an accurate representation of Brother Nature in 2018.

Last month, Peña posted the following apology:

Photo courtesy of Twitter

Whether or not Brother Nature deserves to be canceled, this event has sparked online debates on whether cancel culture is helpful or harmful to society. On one hand, we now have the power to hold celebrities accountable for their actions, demanding that they act as better members of society. On the other hand, cancel culture perpetuates an anti-growth narrative, seemingly telling celebrities that they are not allowed to make mistakes like the rest of us.

This double standard is tough to enforce, especially when it comes to celebrities with a big following, such as Brother Nature who has 1.53 million followers on Twitter. Many questions arise. Is Peña’s apology enough to un-cancel him? If so, what sets him apart from the other social media stars who have gone through the same process, and had their apologies met with even worse backlash?