Over 64 per cent of Americans believe that cancel culture poses a threat to their freedom, according to a recent poll.
According to an article published by the Hill on Monday, 64 per cent of the respondents to a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, which was exclusive to the publication, stated that “that there is ‘a growing cancel culture’ that is a threat to their freedom, while 36 percent said they did not view it as a threat to their freedom.”
In addition, the poll shows that 36 per cent of respondents described cancel culture as a “big problem,” 32 per cent said it was a “moderate problem,” and 20 per cent described it as a “small problem.”
Cancel culture, for the uninitiated, is the practice of ‘canceling’ someone from their livelihoods or social standing as a means of expressing disapproval or exerting social pressure.
In recent weeks, cancel culture has come to the forefront of internet discourse as celebrities like Gina Carano have suffered loss of employment and attacks on their character. In publishing, the decision to stop printing several classics by Dr. Seuss and more recently, Scholastic’s decision to un-publish a spin-off to Captain Underpants over concerns of passive racism highlight the tense social climate.
Several high-profile firings have also occurred in recent weeks, notably with the dismissal of television host Piers Morgan over his criticism of Meghan Markle, and his disbelief over the accusation she made about the British royal family, in which Markle alleged that members of the British royalty had been racist towards her.
In light of these events, the public is understandably concerned with cancel culture and its growing presence in their everyday lives, especially with the public denouncements of regular everyday people as “problematic” in displays of public shaming.
“It is a chilling finding that most people in the country now are afraid they would be fired if they expressed their real views on social media … The public generally gives negative ratings to social media companies and sees the movement as more about censorship rather than trying to correct wrongs,” said Mark Penn, director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll. “It is growing as a national issue.”
The survey included 1,945 participants and was conducted between March 24-25 as a joint program of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.