OLD SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS AND TASTELESS HUMOR CAN BE WRONG, BUT SHOULD THEY RUIN LIVES AND CAREERS?
Recently, Director James Gunn was fired from an upcoming film when it was discovered he had made inappropriate jokes about pedophilia on Twitter years ago.
Tweets were later unearthed belonging to comedians Sarah Silverman and Michael Ian Black that were of a similar nature with calls to penalize them in some way, as well.
Of course, the entire outrage culture is nothing new.
Comedian Samantha Bee recently faced crticism for calling President Trump’s daughter Ivanka a “feckless c — t”
That is perfectly fine. A good comedian is supposed to go after those in power.
The issue, of course, is that this only runs one way and Bee assuredly would have been fired if the circumstances were different.
In other words, Bee’s vitriol is only aimed in the direction of those on the opposite side of her politically and the targets of her ire are the “socially acceptable” ones.
Now, again, that is not a big deal. But let’s just imagine for a second that a right-leaning entertainer called Chelsea Clinton a “feckless c — t.” He or she would have been immediately annihilated by the press and relieved of duties as a television host.
Yet, most in the press corps stood by and said nothing when Bee said this about Ivanka Trump.
To her credit, Ivanka Trump took the high road.
Now, people have been arguing ever since whether or not Bee’s performance was offensive or inappropriate, and what to do about it.
Similar debates have gone on regarding the social media offenders.
But does there really need to be action taken in any of these cases?
The entire point of the comedy is to be adversarial in a funny way. That does not mean nasty with no punchline, but it does mean holding the powerful accountable.
That being the case, while Bee’s comments clearly went over the line, so what?
Many called for boycotts of Bee’s sponsors which eventually forced an apology, but this is a very dangerous road to go down.
We have seen this done by the left, particularly against Laura Ingraham. It was shameless bullying then, and it is shameless bullying now.
And to that point, let me just come right out and say that while I thought James Gunn’s twitter jokes were pretty disgusting, he never should have been fired for them.
I mean, listen, is there a double standard when it comes to what you are allowed to say to a conservative as opposed to a liberal? Of course.
And while it is ok — and probably even a good idea — to point this out, the last thing we should be doing is summoning outrage mobs.
If you do not like Samantha Bee or Laura Ingraham, do not watch her show. If you do not like jokes made by James Gunn, Sarah Silverman, or Michael Ian Black, don’t pay to see the entertainment material they produce.
But when you start organizing sponsorship boycotts to try to ruin somebody for professing a point of view you do not like, that is a slippery slope. Because the outrage mob is great when you are on the right side of it, but you could be leading it today only to be destroyed by it tomorrow.
If you do not believe me, just ask Samantha Bee, Sarah Silverman, Michael Ian Black, and James Gunn, all of whom were members of the mob at one point until the mob turned against them.
Sure, all of these entertainers will survive and their careers will go on, as they should. I just hope now that they have been on the receiving end of these mobs, they think twice about trying to sick them on somebody else the next time somebody offends their sensibilities.