Here’s Why Celebrities Like J.K. Rowling And Mel Gibson Never Really Get “Canceled”

“You could say J.K. Rowling canceled, but I mean, if people bought 100 fewer Harry Potter books this year than last year, I don’t think that affects them marginally.”

In today’s episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we’ve broken down the hottest pop culture headlines and discussed “cancellation culture.” You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

So let’s dive into that! We recently spoke to Joe Berkowitz of the Fast Company about the myth of “abolition of culture.” Here is some of what we learned:

BuzzFeed Daily: I recently wrote an article on “Culture Abolition” [and how it relates to] This season of Succession. How would you define cancellation culture as it is presented in the mainstream media?


Joe Berkowitz: Well, it’s one of those terms that takes advantage of not having a fixed definition, so people can kind of make it mean whatever they want it to mean for their purposes. But I think the simplest way to define it is that it’s a climate where people are more likely to experience a violent reaction to things they haven’t had before. But just thinking that canceling could easily refer to shouting for half a day on Twitter, where that could indicate becoming spammy – maybe forever – I think is a term we use very loosely.

BuzzFeed Daily: Based on what we’ve seen in the past five years, it kind of looks like a culture abolition as we know it’s just the internet in general. I mean, social media technology has seemingly given every person on earth the ability to interact in real time with global events. Does this sound right to you or do you think there is something more complicated going on?

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JB: disagree. Technology is a big part of it – the ability to record and distribute anything instantly. I don’t know how I would have lived in high school. I think everyone in high school now is a brave warrior for not being able to have the space to make mistakes that would be both invisible and invisible. And then only half of it. The other half is that everyone has a voice to comment on something, and it can either be picked up and retweeted in the online stratosphere. Also, if it wasn’t one vote, there would be a million voices excited to work together.

BuzzFeed Daily: I’ve already touched on this quite a bit, but people often point to the fact that those who are “cancelled” will lose their jobs and income as one of the big problems of cancellation culture. But usually the abolished people are the rich and famous. Is this even a financial problem for them?

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JB: It depends on what they did because the word “cancelled” means many things. You can be super powerful and super wealthy, and if they have rights to an actual crime, then you’ll be prosecuted by law.

And that could mean the same thing as JK Rowling, who makes comments once or twice a year that undermine the transgender community. Everyone gets really angry and she gets on with her day. You could say JK Rowling canceled, but I mean, if people bought 100 less Harry Potter More books this year than last year, I don’t think this affects her marginally.

BuzzFeed Daily: This is something you talked about in your article, and JK Rowling is just one example. We witness this with Louis CK and Dave Chappelle, who have just been nominated for a Grammy and are currently on tour. Mel Gibson will direct and star lethal weapon 5, and actor Joshua Malina, who is Jewish, just wrote an opinion piece in The Atlantic calling on Hollywood to make a stronger effort to actually scrap it. So what do you think about this? Should the entertainment industry put up stronger walls to keep guys out like this? Or should we allow the masses to decide for themselves whether they really want to support them?

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JB: Well, first of all, I like to imagine what it would be like if any of Mel Gibson’s career-shattering moments – the time he was pulled over and said these things about Jewish people or his ex-girlfriend’s voicemail – were either of those that happened now, I’d like To see the application notes apology. Like how would that look?

But you know, if it were up to me, Mel Gibson would be self-financing indie films with whatever actors he’d be willing to work with, not making weird Christmas movies with Will Ferrell or possibly directing it. lethal weapon 5. But we did know Mel Gibson has a very antisemitic past, and he’s said some really shocking and disturbing things to his ex. We cannot relearn that information for the first time. So because of the weird and volatile statute of limitations we have, everything is now a personal decision. It’s the CEOs who decide to give the green light to his films and the actors who decide to appear in them, and then whether or not we go to see them.

BuzzFeed Daily: You’ve also written about how the terms “abolition of culture” and “wake up the mob” are used, mainly by conservative media and Republican politicians. In fact, 64% of Americans see abolition culture as a threat to freedom. So, what do you think about the topic that has become such a flashpoint? Is there any substance to this or do you think the conservative media has simply made this into a culture war issue?

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JB: I think cancellation culture is in the eye of the beholder. If you think someone is doing nothing wrong, you’d probably describe any consequences at all, including just yelling, as cancelled. Yes, I think there has been a lot of unpopular opinions and movements regarding Donald Trump, and some of the politicians who are still a part of those have focused on the reaction they are having as the same problem, rather than looking at his massive unpopularity. These movements are the problem.

Jim Jordan, a congressman from Ohio, wanted a committee hearing last March about abolition culture. At the time, it was unpopular to get his views and those of other members of Congress who voted to annul the election. They were defamed at the time, and in my opinion, rightly so. Yes, they were very concerned about the culture of cancellation. And I think that’s kind of a small version of the broad reaction that we’re seeing.

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In an ID card, she told playwright Jeremy O. Harris that she “obviously wouldn’t do anything to fit any culture. But in the past I’ve had a backlash from putting my hair in braids and I understand that.”

She added, “Honestly, a lot of times my daughter comes in asking us to do a hair match. And I’ve had these conversations with her like, ‘Hey, maybe this hairstyle is better on you than on me.’ But I also want her to feel like I can do a hairstyle. with her and not making it that important either, if that’s something she really demands and wants.”

As always, thank you for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hello, you can reach us at

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