Freedom of Expression

Three people who fough⁠t⁠ back aga⁠i⁠ns⁠t⁠ cul⁠t⁠ural censorsh⁠i⁠p

By: Gabriel Nadales / September 16, 2022

Gabriel Nadales

National Director – Western Region

Freedom of Expression

September 16, 2022

Cancel culture is a dangerous phenomenon in modern society. It occurs when a small but loud group – usually online – calls for someone’s immediate firing and public shaming. Often the vitriol can extend to bystanders who are needlessly dragged into the controversy.

The majority of Americans don’t want more toxicity and polarization, so let’s celebrate three times the woke mob lost. 

Chris Pratt

As far as A-List Celebrities go, Chris Pratt is one of the top. Most audiences met him as Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation and his fame grew exponentially from there. Since then, he has starred in two major franchises including three installments of the Jurassic Park movies. He is perhaps best known as Guardians of The Galaxy’s Peter Quill/Star-Lord – a role he reprised in Avengers: Endgame, the second highest-grossing film of all time. 

In April 2022, the woke Twitter mob came for him when a virtually unknown Twitter account called for his replacement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was hardly the first time he had been attacked, but he has earned Hollywood’s loyalty and weathers every storm. While Pratt received lots of online hate, there were also many to come to his side including James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Chris Pratt is once again receiving online hate now, due to his latest project The Terminal List. The patriotic series that sees Pratt as a Navy SEAL is being trashed by liberal critics. However, with a 95% audience rating, Chris Pratt has proved that he is ready to take on the woke mob again.

Nadia Murad

Nadia Murad is an Iraqi woman who was kidnapped in 2014 by the Islamic State for three months and forced into sexual slavery. Once she escaped, Nadia used her experience to advocate against sexual slavery and earned the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Because of her experiences, a post-secondary school club for girls in Toronto, Canada, invited her to tell her story in 2021. 

However, once the Toronto District School Board heard about the event, the superintendent canceled the speech citing concerns of “Islamophobia” despite the fact that Nadia is a member of the Yazidi religion which incorporates elements of Islam into its teachings.

Nadia received overwhelming support in the face of cancellation, and the school district reconsidered, holding the event in 2022. As a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, it is unlikely Nadia Murad and her message would have been permanently canceled. But, for others with similar stories and a lower public profile, their odds of getting canceled are much higher.

Andrew Schulz

Andrew Schulz is a New York comedian that has been active since the mid-2000s but who has recently attained widespread fame thanks to the snippets of comedy that countless Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok users have spread. His first special, Schulz Saves America, premiered on Netflix in December 2020. 

On his Netflix promotional tour, Schulz defended America by saying, “Look. I’m not saying we don’t have radicals in this country. There are Nazis, anarchists, and the Beyhive. And the media loves to make their opposition look more extreme than a Shaun [Walker] White supremacist. But for the 80% of us in the middle, this only exists on TV.”

Yet, upon the release of his second upcoming special, Infamous, executives at a major streaming service wanted to edit out jokes that were deemed to be too controversial, afraid of the potential backlash they may face from the woke mob. 

Feeling censored, Schulz took a gamble. He used all his life savings to buy back the comedy special and offered it on his website for 2 weeks for only $15, in order to preserve his artistic integrity and also to fight for the free speech of all artists and comedians. Well, that gamble paid off. By trusting the majority of Americans, Schulz made over one million dollars all by himself. 

What do these stories have in common? None of these figures backed down. While it is important to pause and reflect on the criticism you receive, it is also important to be authentic and to believe in yourself when it matters most. That is the secret to beating cancel culture.