Cancel Culture Won’t Touch These Far-Left Stars
Let’s take Hollywood’s Cancel Culture contingent at its word
We need to retrofit western civilization to be more supportive of marginalized voices kept silent far too long.
Doing so requires reassessing not just the recent past but the present, all to create a more equitable society.
If that means Roseanne Barr no longer has a sitcom for sharing one racist Tweet, so be it. The same holds for Kevin Hart, who never realized his dream of hosting the Oscars due to homophobic jokes he uttered a decade ago.
Actress Ellie Kemper got dubbed a “KKK princess” for appearing at a beauty pageant, at the age of 19, that had ties to racially discriminatory practices in the past.
It’s the celebrity price to be paid for a better society, one that extends far beyond the halls of Hollywood. Except that price isn’t paid equally in La La Land.
Far from it.
For every star or starlet canceled for mild or non-violent infractions there are others who, to put it plainly, skate for doing far worse.
We’ll start with the Divine Miss M.
Bette Midler remains a star with few peers, conquering music, film, TV and the stage. No one questions her gifts, but in recent years her public persona has turned toxic.
She repeatedly praised a potentially fatal 2017 attack on Sen. Rand Paul by his neighbor. The Kentucky Republican endured six broken ribs and had to have part of a lung removed following the assault. A year after the attack Paul noted he still has daily pain from the incident.
Midler’s reaction? Two separate Tweets all but cheering on the violence. In February 2018 she asked, “Where’s Rand Paul’s neighbor when we need him?” on Twitter after disagreeing with Paul on a policy matter.
More than a year later, October 2019, she brought up the assault again by Tweeting we should “be grateful for the neighbor who beat the s***” out of the Senator.
There’s more to Midler’s vicious social media musings, though. She called Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a racist in one vulgar Tweet circa August 2019, ignoring his longstanding marriage to Elaine Cho, the former Secretary of Transportation who is Asian-American.
That same month Midler mocked the death of prominent Libertarian donor Charles Koch.
She pulled off a similar dig in February of last year after learning radio legend Rush Limbaugh had been diagnosed with what would prove a fatal case of stage 4 lung cancer, writing “Poor Rush. Poor, fat, stupid, sick, hypocritical, drug addicted Rush. Back when he was using, he admitted to taking over 30,000 OxyContin. You know what that means? He’s not just a moron, he’s an Oxymoron!”
Mocking a cancer patient is the epitome of “punching down,” an essential chapter in the Cancel Culture comedy rulebook.
So where are the cancellation demands, the social media mobs insisting she apologize for her serial hate? Just the opposite is happening. Midler just landed a role in “Hocus Pocus 2” for Disney+ and snared a Kennedy Center Honors award mere days ago.
She’s hardly the sole example of Hollywood hypocrisy on the Cancel Culture front.
Alec Baldwin’s off-screen transgressions are common knowledge to celebrity watchers. He allegedly used a racial slur against a black New York Post photographer and former police officer, G.N. Miller, in 2013, a charge the actor denies. The actor also taunted the man with loaded terms like “ex-crackhead” on social media posts that he later deleted.
The “30 Rock” alum grabbed a New York Post reporter by the arm in February 2013 and wished she would “choke to death.” That same year the actor admitted to hurling gay slurs at a photographer, offering a curt apology when the incident hit the press.
In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s 2017 downfall over sexual assault allegations Baldwin admitted to “bullying” women behind the scenes, perhaps an attempt to get ahead of any drip-drip-drip of allegations from former colleagues; “I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way. I’ve bullied women. I’ve overlooked women. I’ve underestimated women. Not as a rule,” he said. “From time to time, I’ve done what a lot of men do, which is … when you don’t treat women the same way you treat men. You don’t. I’m from a generation where you really don’t and I’d like that to change. I really would like that to change.”
Note this is a partial list of the star’s combustible antics. So when does Baldwin get canceled?
Jimmy Kimmel, the late-night jester turned activist, boasts a similarly problematic past. Conservatives have howled for years that Kimmel’s previous blackface routines were being ignored in the press, and they had a point. Grainy YouTube clips confirm Kimmel dressed up as both Oprah Winfrey and Karl Malone for his “Man Show” series on Comedy Central from 1999-2003. That show’s misogynistic shtick wouldn’t fly on corporate platforms today, of course.
He finally, quasi-apologized for the blackface routines via a statement in June of 2020, but the mea culpa teemed with anger, a no-no in PR circles; “Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices.”
It’s worth noting fellow late night clown Jimmy Fallon had to do a humiliating on-air apology last year following the George Floyd protests for a single blackface imitation of Chris Rock performed in 2000.
Kimmel’s ongoing public feud with Fox News star Sean Hannity found the comic hurling a homophobic insult the talker’s way in April 2018. More recently, Kimmel referred to Caitlyn Jenner as “Trump in a wig,” a joke that might be dubbed transphobic by the LGBTQ community.
Singer Noah Cyrus is far less famous than her twerking sister and mulleted Pappy, Billy Ray Cyrus. She’s still a Grammy nominee with a following all her own. So when she referred to black conservative star Candace Owens as a “nappy ass heauxz” on Instagram it could have crushed her young career.
A very similar phrasing against black women (the Rutgers women’s basketball team) forced radio titan Don Imus off the mic in 2007, a decade before the woke rules kicked in.
A few more? Rising star LaKeith Stanfield of “Judas and the Black Messiah” fame stuck around in an anti-Semitic clubhouse chat earlier this year with no professional consequences.
Chelsea Handler praised rhetoric from avowed racist Louis Farrakhan in 2020, doubled down on her words and then apologized without a hint of repercussions.
It’s hard not to wonder about the cultural double standard. Why is Barr permanently unemployed for one awful Tweet, especially given how she shattered glass ceilings for female comics, but Midler, Baldwin and Kimmel collecting massive paychecks like nothing ever happened?
It’s simple. Cancel Culture is too often about progressive power, not making the world a better place. Midler, Baldwin and Kimmel are useful voices for the Left, and the woke mob doesn’t want them run out of town, let alone silenced.
Note that radio superstar Howard Stern offered a quasi-apology for decades of his problematic back catalog last year, but he survived, in part, because he turned his SiriusXM platform into an anti-Trump megaphone during an election year.
Baldwin did Stern one better. He spent four-plus years skewering President Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” He’ll have to do far worse than his ugly track record to hear from the Cancel Culture mob, apparently.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” serves up left-leaning talking points five nights a week from his ABC perch. Why would Cancel Culture, which is primarily driven by the Left, attack him?
As for Midler, she’s savaging right-of-center targets, who aren’t considered victims to woke devotees. Their silence suggests they deserve nothing less.
Cancel Culture hypocrisy isn’t limited to Hollywood, of course. The best recent example remains Hunter Biden’s serial transgressions. We learned in June that Biden used the “n-word” and Asian slurs in text messages, yet the Cancel Culture club keeps looking the other way.
Biden is a Democrat, so he apparently gets a pass. Is there any other explanation?
We should be a kinder, gentler nation, one able to look past transgressions and offer forgiveness when applicable. Minority groups have been both taken for granted and abused over the years, and that needs to change.
The Cancel Culture solutions, though, are both punitive and partisan in nature, and that’s never a recipe for a healthier society. In fact, it’s just the opposite.