This study looks into three case studies of people cancelled online. I varied the careers, fame levels, and consequences of the people in order to give a broader look at what it means to be cancelled online. For those unfamiliar with the term, Leah Asmelash has written a good working definition:
The dictionary definition of "cancel," per Merriam Webster, is to "destroy the force, effectiveness or validity of." When people say they're canceling a famous person, that's essentially what they're trying to do. They want to take away their power or their cultural capital. They want to diminish their significance, whether it's a personal boycott or a public shaming.The whole article is a good start to cancel culture and its perception and effectiveness/lack thereof online. This is another good read on cancel culture and the way the term is overused, although what qualifies as overuse changes based on people’s opinions. I see cancelling as attempts to block someone from the spotlight, which can happen with any number of people participating in the online shuning, but it takes massive numbers to have any real influence, as well as participation from news sites or writers outside of a single social media site, usually.
Each of my cases includes a timeline to show events leading up to/including their cancelling. For R. Kelly this was necessary to show his history of alleged crimes in perspective. For Gillis, it highlighted how quickly he was erased from SNL’s lineup, and for Stock it showed her history of publicly saying problematic things about trans women. Each essay examines their cancelling and their current situations. Check out the conclusion for comparisons between my studies and what I learned. Additionally, here’s a masterpost of my links used in this study.