OP-ED: Cancel Culture Activists Disrupt Democracy in America
“Cancel culture” — sometimes referred to as “call-out culture” — is a form of ostracism in which people are thrust or locked out of social or professional circles, either in the real world or in the realm of online social media. Those who are the targets of this ostracism are said to be “canceled.” Such cancellation often takes the form of withdrawal of support for individuals or businesses after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. In other cases, it takes the form of open and volcanic rage directed at the target.
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On this premise, we firmly oppose "Cancel Culture" and the actions detailed below.
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“Cancel culture” — sometimes referred to as “call-out culture” — is a form of ostracism in which people are thrust or locked out of social or professional circles, either in the real world or in the realm of online social media. Those who are the targets of this ostracism are said to be “canceled.” Such cancellation often takes the form of withdrawal of support for individuals or businesses after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. In other cases, it takes the form of open and volcanic rage directed at the target. Cancel culture is a phenomenon that has become emblematic of the political Left, whose totalitarian orientation is innately hostile to the notion that those who dissent from Leftist dogmas and orthodoxies are entitled to freedom of speech and freedom of thought. The cancellations typically take a variety of different forms, most notably: censorship, blacklisting, boycotts, de-platforming (from social media), and assertions that conservatism is akin to a mental illness that: (a) causes people to develop cognitive and emotional pathologies whereby they robotically imbibe disinformation and propaganda, and (b) must be eradicated by means of a psychological de-programming process.
I. Corporations Seeking to Censor, Cancel, Blacklist, Boycott, De-platform, or De-program Conservatives
AIG Insurance Cancels Curt Schilling’s Policy
Excerpt: Curt Schilling, a World Series champion with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, says that his insurance company canceled his plan because he praised President Trump on his social media accounts. (Source, 1-14-2021)
National Association of Realtors Bans Dissent
Excerpt: The National Association of Realtors has just announced that if you express dissenting views (on race, especially) in private, you may be fined and lose your membership in the organization—which effectively ends your career as a realtor. (Source, 1-19-2021)
Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Wayfair, & H-E-B to Stop Selling MyPillow Products
Excerpt: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, [a Trump supporter] who has pushed claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, says several retailers will stop selling his brand’s products. In a Right Side Broadcasting interview Monday night, Lindell said he spoke to Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s representatives and that both said they would discontinue selling the pillows…. Lindell also told Fox 9 that Wayfair and H-E-B have severed ties with the company. (Source, 1-21-2021)
Excerpt: The cancellation of Lindell’s products is the latest in punitive action taken against Trump and his supporters since the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol. (Source, 1-19-2021)
Major Companies Suspending Donations To Republicans (Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Commerce Bancshares, Disney, AirBnb, Amazon, American Express, AT&T, Best Buy, Comcast, Dow, Intel, Mastercard, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Verizon)
Background: In the wake of a January 6, 2021 incident where several hundred Trump supporters had temporarily occupied the Capitol building in Washington to protest what they viewed as a stolen presidential election, the following occurred:
Excerpt: [S]cores of major corporations and banks have said they are altering or reviewing the political donations made through their PACs, with many suspending contributions specifically to the Republican members of Congress who challenged the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Hotel giant Marriott International, the health insurance network Blue Cross Blue Shield and bank holding company Commerce Bancshares were the first to indefinitely suspend donations to members of Congress who objected to the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6…. Disney, AirBnb, Amazon, American Express, AT&T, Best Buy, Comcast, Dow, Intel, Mastercard, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Verizon are halting donations to the Republican objectors specifically for either a few months or an indefinite period of time. (Source, 1-12-2021)
Simon & Schuster Cancels Senator Hawley’s Book
Excerpt: The publisher Simon & Schuster announced Thursday that is cancelling plans to publish Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” because of the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, for which some Republicans have blamed Hawley. “After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, DC, Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel the publication of Sen. Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book,” Simon & Schuster announced in a statement…. “We cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom,” the company said. (Source, 1-7-2021)
Philadelphia Inquirer Forces Top Editor Stan Wischnowski to Resign
Excerpt: Stan Wischnowski, the top editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, resigned on Saturday, days after an article with the headline “Buildings Matter, Too,” on the effects of civil unrest on the city’s buildings, led to a walkout by dozens of staff members. (Source, 6-6-2020)
Bonneville International Fires Sacramento Sports Announcer Grant Napear
Excerpt: Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear has lost his job following an exchange on Twitter with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Napear was asked by Cousins for his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement before responding “All Lives Matter…Every Single One!” Bonneville International, which owns the radio station, said in a statement it parted ways with Napear who was also a sports talk radio personality for KHTK. “His recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement do no[t] reflect the views or values of Bonneville International Corporation,” the media company said. “The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive. After reviewing the matter carefully, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with Grant.” (Source, 6-2-2020)
New York Times Forces Editorial Page Editor James Bennet to Resign
Excerpt: James Bennet, the editorial page editor of The New York Times, has resigned in the wake of a controversy over an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. The op-ed by Cotton was titled “Send In The Troops.” Times staffers immediately bashed running it, and though publisher A.G. Sulzberger initially defended running the piece, he backed down hours later. Sulzberger blamed it on “a significant breakdown in our editing processes.” Cotton noted that the op-ed was initially defended, but that the Times leaders backed down “after this woke mob began to rise up.” “They still haven’t identified any facts that are wrong in the op-ed,” Cotton said. They haven’t identified what was so rushed about this process. They have only prostrated themselves in front of their young children who are … acting like kids in a social justice seminar, as opposed to acting like grownups in the workplace.” (Source, 6-7-2020)
Facebook Removes All “Stop The Steal” Content
Excerpt: Facebook has announced that it will remove all content that mentions “Stop the Steal,” a phrase in reference to the 2020 U.S. presidential election that is popular among supporters of President Donald Trump…. [T]he social media company said it is removing “Stop the Steal” content from Facebook and Instagram, claiming that such language might incite violence on Inauguration Day…. “We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram,” said Facebook in a blog post. “We began preparing for Inauguration Day last year. But our planning took on new urgency after last week’s violence in Washington, D.C., and we are treating the next two weeks as a major civic event,” the company added. In November , Facebook shut down a group called “Stop the Steal,” which had garnered over 364,000 members. (Source, 1-11-2021)
Facebook Places Prager University on Restricted List As a “False News” Media Outlet
In May 2020, Facebook announced that it had decided to classify Prager University, a website run by conservative author and radio host Dennis Prager, as as a “false news” media outlet. Consequently, Facebook said it would thenceforth restrict Prager U’s ability reach to its own audience of people who had expressed their desire to receive notification regarding all new Prager U posts. (May 2020)
Facebook’s Content Moderators Target Conservatives
In June 2020, Project Veritas released an undercover hidden-camera investigative report documenting widespread censorship occurring at Facebook. Specifically, Facebook content moderators were recorded bragging about their practice of deleting posts and comments supporting President Trump and conservative ideas. For example, one such moderator was asked if she typically deleted every Republican item that came up on her queue, to which she replied: “Yes! I don’t give no f*cks, I’ll delete it.” She also stated that she refused to take down anti-Trump content, even if it violated official Facebook policy. “You gotta take it down but I leave it up,” she said. “If you see something that’s not supposed to be up, it’s probably me.”
Another content moderator, Lara Kontakos, was asked what she did when she saw a posts supporting President Trump. She answered: “If someone is wearing a MAGA [Make America Great Again] hat, I am going to delete them for terrorism. I think we are all doing that.”
Steve Grimmett, a content review lead, said it was part of Facebook’s culture to target President Trump and his supporters: “It’s a very progressive company, who’s very anti-MAGA.”
In June 2020 as well, Ryan Hartwig, who formerly worked for Cognizant, a third-party company that performed content-moderation services for Facebook, told an interviewer that Facebook’s content-moderation policies had become more biased during 2018-20. Some excerpts from Hartwig:
“There’s definitely a lot of bias, [and] it wasn’t just the content moderators, it’s the policy itself that’s biased and rigged against conservatives. Just a quick example … if you’re attacking someone, you can call someone a ‘Trump-humper’ but you can’t call them a ‘feminazi,’ so words and phrases that are usually tied to left-wing people, you can’t call them that. Even if I report that [anti-conservative] post, it would still stay on the platform.”
“During pride month of June 2018 … they said, we’re making an exception to policy. Now normally in the hate speech policy you can’t attack anyone because of their gender entities, but they said hey, during pride month it’s okay to attack straight white males and call them ‘filth’ if it’s in the context of attacking them for not supporting LGBT. It extended [to] other policies as well… Fairly recently, towards the end of my tenure there, they said it’s not a violation to call someone ‘white trash,’ when before, it was. So they modified the policy. Same thing goes with calling cops ‘pigs’ … they specifically said in their guidance to us that that would now be allowed.”
“It came from the top. The policy was shaped by left-wing individuals who were seeking to influence the discourse and also influence the election.” (6-23-2020)
Facebook, Twitter, & Amazon Unite to De-platform the Social Media Website “Parler”
Excerpt from Glenn Greenwald:
The united Silicon Valley attack began on January 8, when Apple emailed Parler and gave them 24 hours to prove they had changed their moderation practices or else face removal from their App Store. The letter claimed: “We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property.” It ended with this warning: “To ensure there is no interruption of the availability of your app on the App Store, please submit an update and the requested moderation improvement plan within 24 hours of the date of this message. If we do not receive an update compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and the requested moderation improvement plan in writing within 24 hours, your app will be removed from the App Store.”
The 24-hour letter was an obvious pretext and purely performative. Removal was a fait accompli no matter what Parler did. To begin with, the letter was immediately leaked to Buzzfeed, which published it in full. A Parler executive detailed the company’s unsuccessful attempts to communicate with Apple. “They basically ghosted us,” he told me. The next day, Apple notified Parler of its removal from App Store. “We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content,” said the world’s richest company, and thus: “We have now rejected your app for the App Store.”
It is hard to overstate the harm to a platform from being removed from the App Store. Users of iPhones are barred from downloading apps onto their devices from the internet. If an app is not on the App Store, it cannot be used on the iPhone. Even iPhone users who have already downloaded Parler will lose the ability to receive updates, which will shortly render the platform both unmanageable and unsafe….
Shortly thereafter, Parler learned that Google, without warning, had also “suspended” it from its Play Store, severely limiting the ability of users to download Parler onto Android phones. Google’s actions also meant that those using Parler on their Android phones would no longer receive necessary functionality and security updates….
The day after a united Apple and Google acted against Parler, Amazon delivered the fatal blow. The company founded and run by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, used virtually identical language as Apple to inform Parler that its web hosting service (AWS) was terminating Parler’s ability to have AWS host its site: “Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.” Because Amazon is such a dominant force in web hosting, Parler has thus far not found a hosting service for its platform, which is why it has disappeared not only from app stores and phones but also from the internet.
On [January 7], Parler was the most popular app in the United States. By January 11, three of the four Silicon Valley monopolies [Apple, Google, and Amazon, but not Facebook] united to destroy it. (Source, 1-12-2021)
Instagram Locks a Conservative’s Account
Excerpt: For the past eight years, Esther Berg has been posting regularly for her 330,000-plus Instagram followers. Now she’s locked out of her EstherandSasha account. While the influencer normally covers a range of lighthearted lifestyle issues, on Sept. 14 the registered Republican posted a story comparing Ivanka Trump with Chiara de Blasio — juxtaposing a glam photo of the president’s daughter with a picture of the NYC mayor’s daughter curled up on the subway and baring her body, accompanied by the caption: “On November 3rd, you decide what kind of America you want your daughter growing up in … Vote.”
The next day, Berg, who splits her time between Florida and Long Island, discovered her account was locked. A message from the platform said it had been disabled and to check back in 30 days. An Instagram representative told the [New York] Post: “We do not allow people to show intimate images of others without their consent.” But Berg notes that the same photo of Chiara is still up on other accounts. (Source, 10-10-2020)
Twitter Censors the New York Post
Excerpt: Twitter infamously jumped the gun to censor a Post article on an unprecedented level. The shocking revelation released by the Post on Oct. 14, cited purported emails from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter and reportedly exposed the alleged scandalous dealings of both father and son in Ukraine. Twitter responded by disabling the link to the story and preventing users from being able to share the article with each other in private messages. Dorsey later admitted in a Big Tech hearing that the unprecedented crackdown was a mistake. (Source, October 2020)
Twitter Censors Candace Owens
Twitter reinstated the account of conservative Candace Owens, the Turning Point USA communications director, following a backlash for her 12-hour ban from Twitter after she mimicked the racist tweets of the NYT’s recent hire Sarah Jeong but swapped words such as “white” with “black.”
Jeong was recently hired to The New York Times’s editorial board, but shortly after her hire, tweets from several years ago resurfaced that said, for instance, “#CancelWhitePeople” and, “oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.”
Jeong also tweeted, @RepDanMode White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. This was my plan all along. She also tweeted, “Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.”
In an attempt to expose the double standard of the New York Times and the left in general, conservative Candace Owens copied Jeong’s tweets but swapped out the words “white” and “men” for “black,” “Jewish” and “women.”
Twitter acted swiftly, banning Owens for 12 hours. Twitter cited her tweets about Jews as the reason for the ban, according to The Daily Caller. However, Twitter later reinstated Owens’ account, saying they “made an error.” (Source, 8-7-2018)
Twitter Suspends CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan After He Touts Success of Border Wall
Twitter briefly suspended the account of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan … after he touted the success of the wall along the southern border. “We took enforcement action on the tweet…but the decision was reversed following an appeal by the account owner and further evaluation from our team,” a Twitter spokesperson told Fox News.
The Federalist first reported the that Morgan’s account was suspended, citing “screenshots shared exclusively” with the organization that indicated Twitter temporarily locked Morgan’s account for violating its “hateful conduct” policy by tweeting that the border wall helps stop “gang members, murderers, sexual predators, and drugs” from entering the United States. “It’s fact, walls work,” Morgan wrote, according to the screenshots.
“You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease,” Twitter initially told Morgan, according to The Federalist. (Source, 10-29-2020)
Facebook Bans “Late-Term Abortion” Ad Exposing Biden and Harris
A national anti-abortion group is accusing Facebook of banning two ads centered on the abortion stance of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris. “The national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) is calling foul today after Facebook banned two of its ads exposing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s support for late-term abortion in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, based on a factually incorrect third-party ‘fact check,’” the Susan B. Anthony List posted on its website Friday.
The ads in question label Biden and Harris as “extreme” on abortion and supporting the practice “up until the moment of birth.”
“Big Tech and the media are teaming up to run interference for the Biden-Harris campaign on what is a losing issue for Democrats – their shameful support for abortion on demand through birth,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. (Source, 10-16-2020)
Twitter Bans ZeroHedge Account for Speculating about Origins of Coronavirus
Excerpt: Twitter banned ZeroHedge’s account for allegedly violating Twitter’s platform-manipulation policy by theorizing about the COVID-19 virus’s origins. The initial ZeroHedge article suggested that the mainstream narrative about coronavirus being spread thanks to some bat soup was a “fabricated farce.” After the account was reinstated over 100 days later, Twitter spokesperson reportedly told the Verge, “We made an error in our enforcement action in this case. Based on additional context from the account holder in appeal, we have reinstated the account. We have a dedicated appeals process for all account holders.” (Source, January 2020)
YouTube Censors Critic of the Chinese Communist Party
YouTube is blocked in China by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But that doesn’t seem to stop the censorship of criticism about the CCP. According to Palmer Luckey, the founder of tech companies Oculus and Anduril, YouTube deleted his comments on its platform. He tweeted, “YouTube has deleted every comment I ever made about the Wumao ((??), an internet propaganda division of the Chinese Communist Party.” He then asked, “Who at Google decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?” (Source, 5-26-2020)
Google Blacklists Conservative Websites in Searches
Google … has seemingly blacklisted numerous conservative websites like NewsBusters, MRCTV, CNSNews, Free Beacon, Breitbart, The Resurgent, Twitchy, RedState, PJ Media, Judicial Watch, The Blaze, Townhall, Project Veritas, LifeNews, PragerU, and The Daily Wire. None of these websites show up in an organic search on Google. While more than 3.5 billion Google searches are performed per day, certain conservative news sites appear prohibited from appearing in the general results.
Mediaite reporter Charlie Nash noted that Google had “removed several conservative websites from search results.” These sites included RedState, Breitbart, Daily Caller, and Human Events. The Media Research Center used a virtual private network in order to use the most generic version of Google possible in confirming this phenomenon.
Other (leftwing) news sites, like Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, HuffPost, and Teen Vogue, show up as the very first result in a Google Search. While (the conservative site) NewsBusters appears in the Google News search results, the website is still not showing up organically. The website does also not appear on the second or third page of organic results.
The Media Research Center, the parent organization for NewsBusters, MRCTV, and CNSNews.com, is also not listed on organic search results for Google. However, on Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo, the websites are the first results to show up….
Even site-specific searches on Google are not displaying the websites. A user who searches for a term or topic and adds “site:newsbusters.org” will not see the website displayed, only images.
Previously, a Google whistleblower informed Project Veritas that there was a Google Now blacklist and a Google blocklist. On those lists were NewsBusters, MRCTV, Twitchy, Conservative Tribune, Front Page Mag, Christian Post, Daily Caller, and Catholic News Agency, among others. (Source, 7-21-2020)
Instagram Puts Bogus Election Warning Label On Trump Remembrance Of Pearl Harbor Attacks
Instagram slapped a “fact-check” on President Donald Trump’s Pearl Harbor remembrance post Wednesday, insisting on a post that had nothing to do with the election that President-elect Joe Biden is, indeed, the president-elect. “Joe Biden is the projected winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election,” tagged the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform on a post that merely featured a graphic of the president, first lady, and man in uniform honoring those who sacrificed. Instagram later removed the tag.
While Trump has disputed the results, deriding the contest as unfair, Trump’s Monday post had nothing to do with legal challenges his campaign launched to flip several tipping-point states in the president’s favor. Instagram’s censorship in fact reinforces that the election wasn’t fair due to Big Tech interference with what voters were able to learn about the candidates. (Source, 12-8-2020)
PayPal Blocks a Christian Crowdfunding Site
Excerpt: PayPal Holdings Inc said late on [January 11, 2021] it had blocked a Christian crowdfunding site, GiveSendGo, after it helped raise funds for people who attended [the January 6] event in Washington when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol. The digital payments processor also confirmed … that it closed an account held by Ali Alexander, one of the organizers of the gathering. (Source, 1-12-2021)
Etsy Bans Pro-Trump Slogan in Wake of Contested Election
Excerpt: This week, Etsy [an e-commerce website] reportedly banned pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” merchandise while allowing sellers to list merchandise with the originally anti-Trump slogan “Not My President.” Etsy has claimed that “Stop the Steal” merchandise “promotes or endorses harmful misinformation,” even though President Donald Trump is contesting the 2020 election results. (Source, 12-4-2020)
YouTube Demonetizes The Epoch Times
Excerpt: YouTube, the video platform service that is a Google subsidiary, has banned The Epoch Times, a rising, conservative-leaning media outlet, from earning money off its videos.
“YouTube demonetized the Epoch Times and related accounts last week,” Stephen Gregory, publisher of The Epoch Times confirmed to Just the News on Tuesday in an email. “This is the latest example of big tech suppression of free speech, a step on the road to communist-style censorship.” A YouTube spokesperson acknowledged Tuesday in an email to Just the News that the company had demonetized the publication’s channel and affiliated channels and had suspended them from the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) – over issues related to harmful or sensitive content.
“All channels on YouTube need to comply with our Community Guidelines, and in order to monetize, channels must comply with the YouTube Partner Program policies, which include our Advertiser-Friendly Guidelines,” the spokesperson also said. “Channels that repeatedly violate these policies are suspended from our partner program.” (Source, 1-26-2021)
II. Individuals Seeking to Censor, Cancel, Blacklist, Boycott, De-platform, or De-program Conservatives
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Chrissy Tiegen, and Julian Castro Call for Boycott of Pro-Trump Goya Foods
Excerpt: On Thursday, Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya Foods, attended an event at the White House where President Trump signed the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, which was described as an effort to improve access to educational and economic opportunities. Mr Unanue praised the president at the event, saying: “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder.” Critics said his comments were tone deaf to the community Goya Foods largely serves…. Celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen and Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez … say they have decided to boycott the company…. Former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro [tweeted that] Americans should “think twice before buying their products” given