Cancel culture is a byproduct of social media activism that’s taken the world by storm over the past few weeks. Everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to Ellen DeGeneres had felt the wrath of Twitter when their names started trending alongside a cancel culture hashtag.
So far, the angry mob has been successful in ousting whomever they choose, but in setting their sights on Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), they may have taken it a step too far.
On Saturday morning, #disneyisoverparty was trending on Twitter as mobs of angry K-pop fans criticized the Mouse for using their beloved BTS to get attention. Disney hyped-up performance by the band, only to show a small clip of the performance. Fans were angry, and #disneyisoverparty was born.
A funny thing happened to this particular call for cancellation. Whereas past cancel culture hashtags had a clear direction—Jimmy Kimmel’s use of blackface and Ellen Degeneres’ alleged mistreatment of crewmembers—this one lacked a clear message. Instead, the angry mob debated among themselves over why, exactly, they wanted to cancel Disney.
For K-pop fans, Disney’s BTS snub was the main reason. Some even claimed the edited air-time was racist.
Others, who seemingly didn’t know what BTS was, claimed it was due to Disney’s decision to reopen its Florida theme park amid the pandemic. Nevermind that Universal Studios did the same weeks earlier .
Some Twitter users were outraged by Disney’s ties to Fox News.
The comically disorganized cancel attempt on Disney underscores how mob mentality is powerful, but also fragile. Calls to cancel certain public figures gained momentum alongside the Black Lives Matter movement. After several celebrities were ousted from their current projects as a result of online outrage, the mob started to go off the rails.
Now, even the slightest misstep—or perceived misstep—brings on a hashtag. For Goya, America’s largest Hispanic foods company, that misstep was coming out in support of Donald Trump.
Never mind that the firm doesn’t mistreat employees and hasn’t been accused of any kind of malpractice. By merely voicing his opinion of Donald Trump, Goya’s CEO felt the wrath of cancel culture.
Now, those who previously applauded social media’s power to bring on change have started to question whether allowing an angry mob of people to dictate morality is a good idea.
A handful of writers, academics, and artists came together to speak out against cancel culture in an article published by Harper’s Magazine. The group cautioned that the intolerance promoted by cancel culture puts free speech at risk. The list included women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Unsurprisingly, many on the list faced their own cancel hashtags.
The #disneyisoverparty hashtag marks the decline of cancel culture. Without a specific direction or lead to follow, an angry mob has no power. Those calling for Disney to be canceled are now fighting among themselves on the reason for their outrage.
Taking down Disney is a far cry from dragging Ellen DeGeneres through the mud or getting a reality TV star fired. Infighting and confusion won’t help their cause. At best, #disneyisoverparty will give the world a good laugh. At worst, it will be a laughingstock that makes people think twice about participating in whatever cancel culture moves on to tomorrow.