Cancel Culture doesn’t exist, at least according to a letter attempting to stomp on criticism of the tactic. The letter, reinforcing leftist dogma, was signed by a member of the Facebook Oversight Board.
The debate began after an open letter was signed by prominent leftists and liberals decrying Cancel Culture. The letter lamented the death of free speech at the hands of radical progressives, claiming that extreme leftists are pushing “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.”
That letter was almost instantly attacked in a letter from another group of leftists, including journalists, academics, and Facebook Oversight Board member Julie Owono. The second letter was signed by those who deemed the original complaints as mere points of “white privilege.”
This response letter, titled “A More Specific Letter on Justice And Open Debate,” (a clear dig at the Harper’s Magazine letter titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate”) made light of the main complaint levied in the original letter.
The first letter was signed by old-guard leftists like ERA pioneer Gloria Steinem, linguist/author Noam Chomsky, author J.K. Rowling and journalists like New York Magazine White House reporter Olivia Nuzzi. Published by Harper’s, the piece argued that “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.”
However, more than 100 academics, journalists from The New York Times, HuffPost and Politico, and Owono, signed the letter claiming that this was all unfounded.
The Facebook Oversight Board has a radical left problem and it’s no surprise that one of its members would sign on to discredit concerns over protecting free speech. According to the Media Research Center TechWatch department, the tech giant’s “Oversight Board” is full of leftists and America-hating radicals. Among these are Muslim Brotherhood supporter Tawakkol Karman, Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan, who testified against President Trump during impeachment hearings, Pakistani member Nighat Dad, who tweeted, “God forbid if Trump becomes the president, this will be my last visit to US,” and Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, a human rights advocate for Open Society Initiative for West Africa, a branch George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
The Media Research Center-led Free Speech Alliance warned that “this new board will damage Facebook more than it can imagine.”
Owono, a “digital rights advocate and Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontières from Cameroon,” was appointed to the board in May. It’s clear from what she has signed that she doesn’t care so much about freedom of speech for those she disagrees with.
Owono and these other extreme leftists argued that there are no verifiable trends to prove this free speech-killing phenomenon. Their letter stated that the Harper’s signatories were too white and too privileged to make valid complaints, and asserted that the whole exercise was an expression of fear in the face of a diversifying industry.
The “More Specific Letter” wrote that the signatories “argue that they are afraid of being silenced, that so-called cancel culture is out of control, and that they fear for their jobs and free exchange of ideas, even as they speak from one of the most prestigious magazines in the country." It also observed that these are problems voiced by many “white, wealthy” people who are “endowed with massive platforms.”
The response letter also clarified that the problems the letter is preoccupied with “are not trends — at least not in the way that the signatories suggest.” In actuality, what’s going on is that “Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ people — particularly Black and trans people — can now critique elites publicly and hold them accountable socially.” Ah, yes. And that's what the concerned Harper’s signatories are really scared of.
The response added, “The letter reads as a caustic reaction to a diversifying industry — one that’s starting to challenge institutional norms that have protected bigotry.” Sure. The Fourth of July has literally been deemed “White Supremacist” by the modern left. But if we point out that insanity, that’s protecting bigotry now, isn't it?