#Canceled: How cancel culture is affecting brands - Digiday

Source: Civis Americanus

The woke left has awakened to the fact that it can destroy almost anybody’s career and livelihood by just surrounding him or her with controversy and bad press, which convinces the person’s employer that the simplest way to avoid the controversy is to fire the person in question. The same techniques can and should be used against the enemy’s own livelihoods and careers. Those on the receiving end of “cancel culture” should adopt the position that anything they do to their tormentors is OK as long as it is nonviolent and lawful. Defamation is unlawful but it is not necessary to destroy the canceler’s own reputation.

The best way to imagine this situation is to consider the battle cruisers of the last century; warships with battleship-caliber guns but mediocre armor, often described as “eggshells armed with hammers.” The cancelers are equally vulnerable to storms of controversy and bad press that will destroy their reputations, and the best way to deter them is to equip everybody with a hammer.

Here is How It Works

It’s difficult to stay in business if you alienate 30% or more of your customers, which any participation on either side of a controversy is likely to do. Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, as but one of these examples, disciplined a student for publishing attacks on Black Lives Matter. BLM supporters will probably want to send their college-aged children to Hardin-Simmons, but, at least according to some comments posted on their Facebook page, others have dropped Hardin-Simmons from consideration.

Any business that fires an employee, any university that expels or otherwise disciplines a student, and any individual who tries to get another fired or expelled for criticizing Black Lives Matter or promoting Blue Lives Matter can and should therefore be given a lousy recommendation all over the Internet. Suppose for example a restaurant refuses to serve somebody, or fires an employee, for being a Trump supporter, police officer, or Zionist. It’s illegal (libel or slander) to publish falsely that the establishment sells rotten food. If you haven’t actually eaten there, you do not even have the right to opine that food tastes bad. You can however publish accurately that they discriminate against Trump supporters, Zionists, and/or police officers depending which of these is true. This could cost them 30 to 70 percent of their business.

Students who demand that a faculty member be fired for not being sufficiently woke might find doors closing in their face when they seek employment if their own names show up in this context. Bringing on an employee who has done this sort of thing is like taking home a dangerous dog; you might be the next to feel its teeth.

Get Your Free Hammers Here

You can post negative but truthful information about anybody or anything at, for example,

1.     Facebook review sites, when available

2.     A complaint about Pissed Consumer says “Anyone can trash anyone” which is absolutely true regardless of what people think of Pissed Consumer or Ripoff Report, which also has a controversial reputation. Both will give a canceler bad press in Google, Bing, and other search results.

3.     Consumer Affairs

4.     Trustpilot  where at least one “canceler’s” reputation has already been shredded

5.     Sitejabber

6.     Complaintsboard

7.     BadBizz

Do not, however, post your own name because you want the controversy to be about your tormentor and not about you. Be sure to read the terms of service for each complaint site; some do not allow complaints to be taken down. This means that, even if the business desists from its abusive behavior (like firing employees at the behest of the woke Left) you cannot delete your complaint; you can at most rebut it by praising the business for the changes in its behavior.

You can also post anonymously to some of these sites, e.g. with an anonymous E-mail account. If you use VPN technology, they cannot even trace your IP address. This is not a license to lie about anybody because (1) you could still conceivably get caught and sued for a lot of money if you lie, (2) lying makes the target of the lie look good rather than bad, and (3) it is flat-out wrong. I do not respect people who lie about my worst enemies because it shows they are willing to lie to me and maybe about me. The truth (“They fired an employee under pressure from BLM” or “he posted a petition to try to get somebody fired”) is more than adequate to make a business or person into a pariah with 30 to 70% of all prospective associates. Also make sure you have the right target because a canceler might create a fake social media account using an innocent bystander’s name. A Facebook account with few if any friends is a warning sign.

Don’t Sing Kumbaya with the Cancelers

I have seen the argument, “If we do it to them, doesn’t that make us as bad as them?” The initial aggressor is never on the same moral plane as the one who is attacked. Mess with the bull, get the horns. Kindness to the cruel is cruelty to the kind. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, and the last one standing writes the history books.

Now that everybody, as opposed to just the woke Left, has his or her own hammer he can use to smash anybody else’s eggshell,

Let’s Have Some Rules, Shall We?

These basic rules should now be self-enforcing, and those who violate them (on either side) do so at their own peril as described above.

1.     Individuals: Argue politics with others in appropriate venues, but do not try to damage another person’s job, career, relationships, or livelihood because you disagree with them. If you do, they and others have the right to ruin yours by whatever lawful means are at hand. Do not try to bully businesses into taking your side in a political controversy unless you are prepared to make good whatever losses they incur by alienating potential customers (see #2 below).

2.     Businesses: Issue a policy that what people do on their own time and while not representing the company is their business but, when they come to work, they leave their politics at the door and pick them up again when they go home. Don’t allow employees to wear BLM attire, or MAGA hats for that matter, on the job. Serve everybody and don’t take sides in controversial issues. 

We can have an atmosphere of civilized and even heated debate, which is good for a free society, or we can have an atmosphere of terror in which anybody can be given bad press and destroyed by anybody else, perhaps anonymously and usually with no means of defense. My preference is the former, and my advice to the woke left is to be very careful where, when, and at whom you swing those hammers. To paraphrase the computer in the movie WarGames, trying to cancel other people is a stupid game that offers only stupid prizes, and I hope I have created an environment in which the only way to win is not to play.

Graphic credit: Pixabay