Most Americans View ‘Cancel Culture’ As A Threat To Their Freedom

Majority of Americans believe that the idea of “cancel culture” is a threat to their freedom, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released on Monday.

The poll — conducted on March 24 to 25 — showed that 64% of Americans saying that there is “a growing ‘cancel culture’ that is a threat to their freedom.” Just a third or 36% of the 1,945 registered voters surveyed said they did not view it as a threat to their freedom.

Most Americans also think the idea of ‘cancel culture’ is a problem with 36% of those who participated in the survey considering the phenomenon as a “big problem,” while 32% view it as a “moderate problem.” 

Meanwhile, another 20% said it was a “small problem” and only 13% said ‘cancel culture’ — or the phenomenon of promoting the ‘canceling’ of people, brands and even shows due to what one side may consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies — is “not a problem.”

‘Cancel culture’ silencing free speech

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll also found that the majority of Americans also felt like they are unable to freely express their views and opinions over issues for fear that they will be “ostracized” online. 

Online definitions of ‘cancel culture” suggests that it generally occurs on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram performed in the form of “group shaming.”

The poll found that 54% of respondents said they were ‘concerned’ that if they expressed their opinions online that they would be “banned or fired,” while 46% said they were not concerned.

“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,” said Mark Penn, the director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey.

“The public generally gives negative ratings to social media companies and sees the movement as more about censorship rather than trying to correct wrongs. It is growing as a national issue,” he added.

While the basic idea of ‘cancel culture’ has been around for a longer time, the idea started trending again recently as the idea of ‘woke mentality’ also flared up in various platforms — placing public personalities, institutions, the media and even private companies under a microscope of political correctness.

“The results of the survey reveal a potential growing sense of people being unnerved by recent ‘cancellations’ in the press and culture,” The Daily Wire wrote on its report, citing several instances of recent “cancellations” brought about by this phenomenon including the recent banning of Dr. Seuss books over alleged  ‘racist and insensitive imagery’ earlier this month, the halting of the “Captain Underpants” spinoff due to claimed ‘passive racism.’

Several famous personalities — mostly conservatives —  have also fallen victim to ‘cancel culture’ too like Gina Carano of “The Mandalorian” for her social media posts, and most recently, former television show host Piers Morgan after voicing his opinion over the the Meghan Markle interview with Oprah Winfrey were he said that he did not believe many of the accusations against the Royal Family.

Morgan was fired from the show where he made the comments, as he refused to apologize for expressing his views.

“Even if I did apologize, that wouldn’t be the end of it. The woke brigade would keep coming for me, demanding I apologize for everything else they find offensive – which of course, is absolutely everything,” he said, adding that although he doesn’t have ill feelings towards ITV Network – he was concerned about the growing notion that it is okay to ‘cancel’ people because of differing views. 

“My problem is with the increasingly insidious woke cancel culture that’s now infesting all companies like ITV. If allowed to continue unchecked, it will make it virtually impossible for anyone with an opinionated personality to survive in any workplace,” he said.

The idea of ‘cancel culture’ has also extended to brands — and products. The 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand, for example, was forced to change its branding after facing backlash for allegedly perpetuating racist stereotypes. 

According to the Merriam-Webster definition “cancel culture” is “the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling … as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure” but criticisms of ‘cancel culture’ is based mainly on the premise that it’s currently being used as a “way of rejecting anyone or anything you disagreed with or someone who did something you didn’t like.”

Harper’s Magazine has published an open letter calling for a stop to the ‘cancel culture’ as it denounced the movement as ‘censorious’ and “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.

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