Cancel culture couldn’t cancel Joy Reid.
While “cancel culture” – or at least an insidious perversion of it – certainly schemed to cancel Reid, it ultimately failed. And in this instance, that’s an unquestionably good thing.
In the mid-to-late 2000s, Joy Reid published a series of blog posts that were ill-advised, at best.
Reid’s now-defunct blog, “The Reid Report,” delved into the sexuality of Tom Cruise, Karl Rove, and Charlie Crist (the latter of whom she referred to as “Miss Charlie”) using homophobic language.
Initially, Reid tried to claim she was the victim of an elaborate hacking scheme. After evidence emerged that she did write the offensive posts (internet crawlers never lie), she eventually backtracked and issued a follow-up statement :
I’ve not been exempt from being dumb or cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for. I own that. I get it. And for that, I am truly, truly sorry.
She later apologized again, taking responsibility for her actions :
There are things I deeply regret and am embarrassed by, things I would have said differently and issues where my position has changed… Today I’m sincerely apologizing again.
MSNBC stuck by her through it all. And two years later, she’s set to become the first Black female primetime anchor since 2016.
So why was Joy Reid “exempt” from cancel culture’s clutches?
Simply put: because she came clean. She was accountable for her actions. And because, since the time she initially made the troublesome statements (and the dubious defense for them), she’s strived to grow and learn from her mistakes.
While there are certainly plenty of valid criticisms about cancel culture, at its core is a true desire to hold people accountable for wrongdoing.
No one is saying that someone should be perfect. On the contrary: making mistakes is a part of the human experience. The point of cancel culture is to expose the moral failures of public figures so that they can grow and become better people.
And, when you fail to be accountable – when you throw temper tantrums and double down on cringeworthy statements – that’s when you get canceled, as well you deserve.
Actress Philippa Soo put it best:
The reason cancel culture couldn’t — and wouldn’t — cancel Joy Reid is because she was accountable.
And that’s something everyone should cheer.