Cancel Culture Strikes Again...Or Did It? The Case of Alexi McCammond
Cancel culture has struck again. Or was it a toxic work culture?
Cancel culture has struck again. Or ws it a toxic work culture? to be the editor for Teen Vogue magazine, who resigned before ever starting at the job. The reason: staff backlash over ten-year-old tweets of a racist and homophobic nature.
Let's get one thing clear - there are several key differences between this situation and the ones I raised earlier this year regarding the firing of New York Mets general manager Jared Porter and U.S. representatives Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Matt Gaetz.
The Porter situation involved blatant sexual harassment committed by an adult, as opposed to McCammond, who was a 17-year-old college student tweeting racist thoughts. Yet both individuals showed remorse for their actions (and McCammond's tweets were long since deleted) and have conducted themselves in a professional manner ever since. And as for Taylor-Greene and Gaetz, their questionable behavior has occurred in recent years while serving (or shortly before serving) in Congress and neither has shown remorse for their actions or a willingness to act more like, you know, an elected leader.
While Taylor-Greene and Gaetz deserve their backlash, what is striking to me is that the media and general public (including me) has largely come to McCammond's defense, yet turned their backs on Porter. Chalk it up to what I said above about McCammond being a teenager at the time of her tweets and having long-since removed them, or maybe that sexual harassment is a much greater offense than simply tweeting racist thoughts (though neither is acceptable behavior). Or is McCammond being shown more sympathy because she is a woman (or more specifically, a black woman)? I don't honestly want to play the race or gender card here because as a white man, I may come off as sounding racist or sexist, but I would be remiss if I didn't surface that point.
But here's the kicker: Jared Porter was fired by his bosses after the report of his prior sexual harassment came up, after which his bosses stated that he would never have been hired had the information been known. McCammond, on the other hand, fully disclosed her past behavior and was hired in spite of it; her bosses knowing full well what had happened. And then McCammond resigned (voluntarily) due to staff backlash. This is clearly the sign of a toxic work culture, one where the staff was not willing to accept McCammond or give her a chance to prove that her past behaviors were behind her. Frankly, if I was faced with a similar situation, I would choose to resign rather than being forced to work in a toxic environment, so I cannot fault McCammond for making that decision. But given the general public support for McCammond, there is no doubt she will find her way again, unlike Porter.
It does raise concern about the dangers of Twitter. Some years back, I faced backlash over tweets criticizing women for their shallow behavior with respect to men, the result of years of frustration over constant rejection by women due to my looks. As a result, I closed my account, removing all of the tweets with it (fortunately, I'm not famous enough for anyone to have saved screenshots of them). While I have since created a new Twitter account, I hardly use it, afraid of having old tweets used against me somehow. Why? Because of cancel culture.
Whether the Alexi McCammond debacle is the result of cancel culture or a toxic work culture (or a combination of the two) is a question that may never be answered. But one thing is clear: if we do not allow people a second chance and continue to hold grudges, it will be very difficult for people to succeed. We cannot let our society be dominated by hate.