Last year, Millegram explored the dangers of deepfake, and found that it has potential to be abused for online shaming such as cyber bullying and manufactured revenge porn. Recently, another form of online shaming took center stage – Cancel Culture.
This is a form of boycott, where individuals take to social media to call someone out for their controversial behaviour, and hope to deprive them of their livelihood.
Ellen DeGeneres: A ‘Victim’?
Famous talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, affectionately dubbed the “Queen of Nice”, appears to be the next target of Cancel Culture.
It began when YouTuber Nikkie de Jager expressed her displeasure about being denied access to a toilet despite urgently needing one, when she was invited to the show, because they were reserved for Ellen and the Jonas Brothers.
Furthermore, a report by Variety criticised Ellen for failing to communicate with her crew about their pay in this evolving situation of COVID-19. All these eventually led to Buzzfeed’s compilation of the toxic environment staff faced on her show.
Buzzfeed’s article prompted Warner Bros to conduct an internal investigation with a third-party consultant. According to the most recent report, Warner Bros confirmed the allegation and promised for a change in staffing, although it is still unclear how Ellen’s reputation and her show would be affected.
Following the accusations, many have taken to Twitter and called her out. Podcaster Kelvin Porter titled her as “notoriously one of the meanest people alive”, while her former bodyguard agreed that she was prideful and would only be around people of a similar stature. Even her former producer, Hedda Muskat, also exposed her hypocrisy, saying “as a host, she’s amazing… but as a boss… she’s a different person.”
On the other hand, her wife, Portia de Rossi, has expressed that she would stand by Ellen. Other celebrities such as entrepreneur Scooter Braun, singer Katy Perry and actor Kevin Hart also went on social media to use the hashtag #IStandByEllen to demonstrate their support for her, amidst the controversy.
After Warner Bros’s statement on the matter, Ellen sent an apology letter to all her staff, stating that she would be more proactive in changing the culture and making the show “a place of happiness”. While some accepted it as a sincere apology, others are sceptical of the emotional message.
Forbes argued that it is unlikely that Ellen DeGeneres would truly be cancelled, explaining that advertisers would most likely continue to support her show nonetheless.
While it is still too early to know the outcome of this public uproar, one thing is for sure – she should start practising what she preaches: Please, be kind to one another!