Leftist Cancellation is the New Rite of Passage
If you’re on the Right and the Left cancels you, three things can happen.
The first is you lose your job, your platform, or your relevancy. The most striking examples are people who literally aren’t around to defend themselves. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and of course, Robert E. Lee. Or more recently, John Wayne and Dr. Seuss. Anyone could be a target. This is because their existence or their memory could commit the crime of reminding Americans of their traditional values or history.
The second thing that can happen is that when some try to appease the mob by apologizing or promising to “change my ways,” the Left still will double down to totally destroy them. By apologizing they aided in their own cancellation. People most vulnerable to this are those dependent on one platform or job to maintain their relevancy.
In 2020, NBA announcer Grant Napear was fired from his job as the Sacramento Kings TV play-by-play announcer for tweeting, “All Lives Matter.” This was amidst the George Floyd protests.
Before the firing and after his tweet, Napear issued an apology that was posted at the Sacramento Bee, where he said he was, “not as educated on BLM as I thought. I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM is trying to get across.” For his repentance, he was rewarded not with forgiveness, but with public humiliation and cancellation.
The third thing that can happen is relatively new. This is where people on the Right are targeted by the Left and for all intents are cancelled, but they re-emerge stronger than ever. One key to this is that they never apologized.
The best and most recent example of this is Tucker Carlson, who in April was deplatformed at Fox News with no reasonable explanation. Since then, Carlson has quickly regrouped and promised his millions of loyal fans that he will be back, serving up a similar but less restricted version of his poplar show on Elon Musk’s Twitter 2.0.
The Carlson example illustrates a trend among conservatives and others where cancellation has become a rite of passage. The scars of cancellation now legitimize you as one so committed to the cause that you are willing to be deplatformed rather than compromise your values or your commitment to the truth.
Conservative Media is in the Middle of a Reinvention
When the sitting President of the United States Donald Trump was unceremoniously deplatformed from Jack Dorsey’s Twitter 1.0 in January 2021, and then when the Left synchronically shut down rising social site Parler and shut Trump out of several other platforms in the span of a few days, we heard the resounding refrain from the Left, “If you don’t like it, build your own platforms.”
Blame the Right for listening. Since then and somewhat before, the Right has been building an entire economy that has enabled people cancelled by the Left to have a new public life, one freer from restriction and supported by a steadily growing number of Americans, not all of whom consider themselves conservative. But they do want fresh voices who aren’t afraid to challenge leftist ideology.
Substack has emerged as a go-to source for long-form reporting from serious journalists like Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Barri Weiss, and many others, few of whom would call themselves conservatives, but yet they were cancelled to varying degrees by the Left for not being Left enough.
The Locals social media app, which is unlike Facebook, Twitter or other apps in how it functions, has emerged as a multi-media hub for content creators from Tulsi Gabbard and Andy Ngo, to Charlie Kirk, Liz Wheeler and of course, Dave Rubin, who was one of the founders of the platform. Locals was sold to Rumble, the YouTube alternative, in 2021.
Rumble itself continues to grow in popularity, serving up custom-tailored video content, much of which the leftist censors at YouTube would never allow. That’s where to find more conservative video content from the likes of Dan Bongino (an investor), Russell Brand, Congressman Jim Jordan, and Dinesh D’Souza, among others.
Then there is the Daily Wire, whose brand these days is tied to being a safe harbor for many who have been cancelled by the Left.
Actor Gina Carano was one of the more popular members of the cast of “The Mandalorian,” a part of the Star Wars franchise, that was until she was suddenly fired by Lucasfilm in 2021. Her offense? Her social media posts weren’t woke enough. She didn’t succumb to the COVID narrative, the vaccination narrative, or the pronoun thing. When she was urged by colleagues to add her personal pronouns to her Twitter profile, she chose, “boop/bop/beep.”
Her PR firm dumped her. Disney fired her. And soon after, The Daily Wire hired her to direct her first feature film called Terror on the Prairie. That’s one of many instances where the Daily Wire made significant investment in alternatives to the wokeness that has permeated the media, Hollywood and culture.
If You Build It
The Leftist cancellation movement continues at a robust pace, driven by a collective thirst for non-woke blood. As the Left seeks and destroys new targets, some people in entertainment, radio, television, and traditional news media, along with politicians and even sports figures, are creating a Plan B in the event they are cancelled.
They are keenly aware of this new media world that not only could save their careers, but give them new life. It’s increasingly clear that every time the Left tries to cancel someone it’s a turnoff. The Left drives more Americans away from traditional Hollywood, network TV, cable news, and other established social platforms. They are actively seeking out alternatives to send a message that they reject left-wing fascist attempts to silence those who don’t toe the line.
Elon Musk tapped into this when he purchased Twitter in 2022, and the trend continues. It would seem that if you want to succeed in this new world, one of the best things you can do is get yourself cancelled by the Left and then refuse to apologize.
Tim O’Brien is a veteran corporate and crisis communications consultant who operates O’Brien Communications in Pittsburgh.