Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Cancel Culture

From the BBC, 4 February 2021:

US country star Morgan Wallen has been dropped by his record label, after a video emerged of him using a racial slur. Nashville's Big Loud Records said it had "made the decision to suspend Morgan Wallen's recording contract indefinitely" in light of the video. In the footage, reportedly filmed by a neighbour last weekend, the 27-year-old is seen saying goodbye to some friends and calling one of them the N-word.

He has apologised for the incident. "I'm embarrassed and sorry, I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologise for using the word. I promise to do better."

Top contrition there. These apologies have become so formulaic and convoluted as to be meaningless.

However, the industry's response to his use of a racial slur has been swift and decisive. Within 24 hours of TMZ publishing its video, Wallen's music was pulled from the airwaves by iHeartMedia, the largest radio station group in the US, which owns more than 850 stations, including 135 country music stations. Other major networks, including Cumulus Media and Entercom, have also removed his music from their playlists... Broadcaster Country Music Television also distanced itself from the star... And the Academy of Country Music said it was revoking Wallen's "potential involvement and eligibility" for this year's ACM Awards.

So, they've made every effort to shut down his career*. Yes, he was acting like a bit of a twat late at night (he's a pop star, he is supposed to act like a twat), but his friend has been silent in all this. I assume that he wasn't particularly offended, which is pretty relevant, if you ask me.
Also from the BBC:

An actress who was dropped from a play for posting alleged homophobic remarks online had not realised the character she was due to portray was a lesbian, an employment tribunal has heard. Seyi Omooba was due to play the lead character, Celie, in The Color Purple at Leicester's Curve Theatre in 2019...

At the time the show's producers wrote in a statement: "Following careful reflection it has been decided that Seyi will no longer be involved with the production."

Ms Omooba is suing the Leicester Theatre Trust and her agents Michael Garrett Associates Ltd (Global Artists) for around £128,000 over her sacking, on the grounds of religious discrimination and a breach of contract...

So, her Chistian beliefs aren't holding her back from suing for £128,000 in damages? How has she suffered a loss of £128,000? I'd like to see her substantiate that. Can actors sue if they fail an audition, which is what this amounts to (albeit retrospectively)?

I find myself agreeing with her QC (it's unusual for me to ever agree with anything either side's barrister says in such cases):

Representing the Leicester Theatre Trust, Tom Coghlin QC... added that the actor's stance constituted a "repudiatory breach of contract" and that her dismissal was therefore not "unwanted conduct... The role that she complains about being dismissed from is one that she would have refused to play in any event," he suggested. "Her choice was to resign or be dismissed and she chose to be dismissed."

Nailed it!

Ms Omooba is being represented by the legal arm of Christian Concern, an organisation co-founded by her father, pastor Ade Omooba MBE.

A 'special purpose vehicle', if there ever was one.

The group said the case "will expose the mechanisms of censorship at the heart of the theatre industry", adding that "any dissenting views against LGBT ideology, especially Christian beliefs, are currently incompatible with a theatrical career".

That goes with the territory, she must have known the rules when she decided to go into acting. That's the way the world is. That's like hoping to make it in Hollywood while being openly anti-semitic (not even Mel Gibson could pull off that one). Or hoping to become Pope if you are openly gay. Or a woman (maybe share can sue the Roman Catholic Church for that?). I expect that the show's producers would have reacted the same way had one of their cast made racist comments (and rightly so).
* Here's the sting in the tale:

From Billboard, 5 February 2021:

While Wallen's radio play eroded on Feb. 3, sales of his music swelled, according to preliminary reports to MRC Data. His catalog of albums and songs sold a combined 22,500 copies in the U.S. on Feb. 3 -- an increase of 339% compared to sales on Feb. 2 (5,000).

The music industry still hasn't learned the lesson of Street Fighting Man.


johnd2008 said...

One of the things I find bewildering these days is that while the N word can no longer be said, the F word is in common use in mainstream TV everyday.

mombers said...

Ms Omooba
If you're against gay marriage, don't marry a gay
If you're against gay theatre, don't act in the play
I'm a poet and I know it :-)

Mark Wadsworth said...

JD, nobody really understands that. Why is "fanny" deemed a bit rude and "cunt" the height of offensiveness (up there with the N-word), even though they mean exactly the same thing, ?

M, indeedy.