How Netflix Is Changing the Cancel Culture Conversation

Dave Chappelle
Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
October 24, 2021

Don’t lie, you’ve had the “cancel culture” conversation. Probably many times. It’s an open secret in Hollywood that a sizable chunk of its power players feel the movement toward greater accountability and inclusion in public forums sometimes goes a bit too far. I hate that term, “cancel culture,” but it usually comes up when people criticize the recent shift in entertainment that, very broadly speaking, encompasses everything from aggressive efforts to increase race and gender representation to a lower tolerance for hateful speech and offensive personal behavior.   

You don’t hear it publicly, of course, but it’s a topic at lunch or via texts when a filmmaker is fired over old tweets or a studio apologizes for an insensitive casting decision. Some of it is just backlash from people for whom progressive change is threatening or uncomfortable. Others make a more legitimate point that Hollywood is currently dealing with a lot of threats to its existence that are probably more pressing than whether, say, a gay character is played by a gay actor. Either way, many people are terrified of doing something objectionable and getting called out.