The Cult Doesn’t Cancel: Not when it’s their own

Rightwingnuts have whined incessantly that “cancel culture is censorship!” while simultaneously harassing, doxxing, and threatening anyone into silence for daring to disagree.  Contrary to their hypocrisy, accountability is not “censorship”.

Funny how those who hurl the term “snowflake” are the ones having meltdowns.

Four cases in point, two in the last week, below the fold.

1) Kyle Larson

Last spring, during an online gaming race of NASCAR drivers watched by thousands of fans, Kyle Larson’s computer or internet connection lagged.  He thought he was offline, and for no explicable reason nor provocation he said The Word You Should Not Say anywhere at any time if you’re white.  And I don’t mean one of the George Carlin Seven Words.

It turned out Larson’s internet connection was fine.  Another NASCAR driver playing said, “Everyone heard you, Kyle”.  Within a day, Larson was suspended (but not fired) by the Chip Ganassi team.  Within a week all the corporate sponsors had dumped Larson, which is when Ganassi finally fired him.

NASCAR star Kyle Larson fired by his team after saying N-word during virtual race

Budding NASCAR superstar Kyle Larson was fired by his racing team on Tuesday after the driver used a racist slur during a virtual racing event, the company announced.

Chip Ganassi Racing, based in Concord, North Carolina, said in statement it thoroughly weighed all options before cutting ties with Larson for using the N-word during an esport event on Sunday.

Normally when a celebrity does something unspeakable, fans shun them.  Not Larson.  NASCAR fans (no doubt mostly white and racist fans) bought more of his merchandise.  So much so that he was quickly “rehabilitated” and offered a new ride with another team.  But to the sponsors, he’s still toxic.  In 2021, Larson will likely drive an unsponsored car, only his number on it.  The team’s “argument” being that a four car team doesn’t cost much more than three (same facilities and mechanics) and the merchandise offsets the cost.

As always, money before ethics.

2) Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen is a mediocre and semi-popular country music performer whose racism was recently outed by his own actions.  Does everyone that ignorant and bigoted assume everyone else agrees with them?  Apparently so.

Morgan Wallen’s sales quadruple after getting caught using racial slur on camera

Reminding us all of the dispiriting (but also dispiritingly true) fact that white people have rarely gone broke on account of doing or saying racist things in America, Billboard reports today that, while country music artist Morgan Wallen’s radio airplay recently dropped considerably after TMZ posted a video of him shouting a racial slur that was recorded by his neighbors, sales of his music have apparently more than quadrupled.

And while we’d push back heartily on the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity—and would specifically categorize “being rightly chastised by most right-thinking people for shouting racial slurs” as a good example there, it does appear that there’s still no such thing as “ineffective” publicity. Wallen’s music was swiftly kicked off of iHeart stations and other radio venues shortly after the video was released on February 3, and his label, Big Loud Records, announced that he was “indefinitely suspended.” But Billboard reports that sales of all of Wallen’s songs jumped from 5,000 on Feb. 2 to 22,000 after the video was released, suggesting that the incident has done little more than raise his profile amongst certain parts of the country audience.

Emphasis mine.  Radio stations and perhaps record companies might be willing to thow toxic white balls of paper into the bin where it belongs, but it’s clear the racist and rightwing will support anyone of their own.  So much for “being cancelled”.

3) Ron Desantis

Desantis spewed verbal dysentery this week, accusing social media of “censorship” for doing the very thing Desantis and his ilk try to do to political opponents and human rights groups like Black Lives Matter.  His idiotic “law” would actually force commercial websites to do the bidding and promotion of rightwing politicians.  But anyone who disagrees with him likely wouldn’t get the same “protection”.

Florida Gov. DeSantis Proposing Laws Against ‘Censorship’ by Social Media Companies

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing new laws to fight he what says are censorship and deplatforming on social media by tech companies.

[. . .]

A new proposal expected to be filed Tuesday would prohibit companies from suspending the account of a political candidate and be subject to a fine of $100,000 for each day the account of a statewide candidate is blocked, or $10,000 a day for other office seekers.

He supports the right of private companies to make their own policy when it’s hateful, racist, and discriminatory.  But he opposes it when it prevents people from being hateful, racist, and discriminatory.  It is any surprise parler is likely to go back online?

4) Anita White, a/k/a Lady A, is sued by a racist white country group

After more than a decade of using the name “Lady Antebellum”, a country group suddenly decides they need to drop the racist name and change it.  They chose “Lady A” without bothering to check if the stage name is being used, and make matters worse by suing a Black woman who has performed under the name for 20 years.  They tried to take her name by force.

Lady Antebellum: US band change name to Lady A over slave-era links

Chart-topping US pop group Lady Antebellum have changed their name to Lady A because Antebellum has connotations with the slavery era.  [. . .]  In a statement on Twitter, they said their eyes had been opened to “the injustices, inequality and biases black women and men have always faced” and “blindspots we didn’t even know existed”.

Their “eyes were opened”?  What had been right in their faces their whole lives? It’s called wilful blindness and privilege.

This is definitely not comparable to The Chicks, who made the right move to drop and disavow the potential racism of their former name, and produced the song “March, March” to show where they stand on Black Lives Matter.  If “The Chicks” has been inappropriate, you can be sure they would have picked something tasteful to replace it (e.g. “Little Ol’ Cowgirls”, after one of their albums).

Seattle singer Lady A files countersuit against band formerly known as Lady Antebellum

The battle between Seattle singer Lady A and the band Lady A (formerly known as Lady Antebellum) appears bound for a courtroom.

Lady A, the singer (real name Anita White), has filed a federal lawsuit against the band and members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition. The suit was filed Tuesday in US District Court’s Seattle division.  

The country music group had previously sued White in federal district court in Nashville in July, claiming trademark infringement. The filing came shortly after the two had publicly said they were working to coexist together with the same moniker.

[. . .]

A day later, White, who is Black, blasted the country group in an Instagram post, saying: “How can you say Black Lives Matter and put your knee on the neck of another Black artist? I’m not mad..I am however not giving up my name, my brand I worked hard for.

“Put your knee on the neck of another Black artist.”  That’s exactly what it was.

One name, two musical acts and a story of privilege: How the Lady A controversy captured the state of the music industry in 2020

It started with a carefully crafted statement that was more prescient than anyone could have predicted. Two weeks after George Floyd’s death in police custody sparked a national reckoning over racial injustice, members of the country music band formerly known as Lady Antebellum announced they were going to drop the latter half of their name. They were “regretful and embarrassed,” they said, that they didn’t previously take into account the Antebellum South’s associations with the pre-Civil War slavery era.

[. . .]

With two lawsuits pending, it’s hard to imagine a situation that more accurately captures the tension in the music industry in 2020. Earlier this year saw the very overdue public acknowledgment from people in the industry that Black artists have never received the credit or profit they deserve, culminating in the social media movement #BlackoutTuesday, which aimed to raise awareness about racial inequality. The legal debacle also highlights the diversity issues in the overwhelmingly White world of country music (hosting its biggest night on the national stage Wednesday with the Country Music Association Awards on ABC), as the genre faces painful truths about its history of sidelining musicians of color.


    • says

      Lou Bobblehead was not just unprofitable (poor sponsorship despite the ratings) but also potentially costly (Dominion’s lawsuit). Reportedly, Bobblehead is still being paid and under contract, so he’s not losing out while Fox Nuisance waits for the dust to settle.