Why Dakota Johnson’s “Cancel Culture” Comments Spoke Volumes

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The popular saying goes: “Never meet your heroes. But perhaps a more appropriate piece of advice in today’s political climate is to never ask your heroes what they think of “culture cancellation”.

Wednesday, Hollywood journalist posted a profile of Fifty shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson in which she talks about her next role in the Netflix movie The lost girl, his career in comedy and his starry family tree. At one point, journalist Tatiana Seigel asked about some of her former male co-stars, particularly Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp and Shia LaBeouf, who have all faced allegations of abusive behavior over the past five years. years, including rape and domestic violence.

“I have never experienced this firsthand from any of these people,” she said. “I had an amazing time working with them; I am sad for the loss of great artists. I feel sad for the people who need help and maybe didn’t get it on time. I feel sad for anyone who has been hurt or hurt. It’s just really sad.

“I believe people can change,” she continued. “I want to believe in the power of a human being to change and grow, to get help and to help others. I think there is definitely a major overcorrection happening. But I believe there is a way for the pendulum to find the middle. The way the studios have been run so far, and even now, is behind. It’s such an archaic mentality of what movies should be made, who should be there, how much people should be paid, what equality and diversity looks like. Sometimes the old school has to be moved for the new school to enter. But, yeah, canceling the crop is fucking depressing. I hate that term.

Most people willing to outright denounce the behavior of these aforementioned actors would say that they also hate the term ‘cancel culture’, especially the way it is used by right-wing pundits, conservative politicians, and celebrities from virtually everywhere. all political affiliations to deplore social progress. and their perceived notions of censorship. Moreover, the superficial use of the term by public figures without any recognition of existing power structures, its origins on the Internet, or the specificity of its actual results, has made “cancellation” one of the most popular topics. more infuriating and stagnant.

“Most people willing to outright denounce the behavior of these aforementioned actors would say that they also hate the term ‘cancel culture’, especially the way it is used by right-wing pundits, conservative politicians, and celebrities from virtually everywhere. all political affiliations to deplore social progress. and their perceived notions of censorship.“

While celebrity reactions to the crop cancellation have become common in the news cycle, Johnson’s remarks on the “loss of great artists” are particularly ironic given his beloved status on progressive Twitter. thanks to a famous interaction between her and Ellen DeGeneres from 2019 where she confronts the comedian / talk show host for not attending her birthday party on her show. The actress sharply pronouncing “actually that’s not true, Ellen” and a screenshot of her leaning forward in her chair have become viral memes and a social media shortcut to calling people on their bullshit. Twitter detectives also discovered that on the same weekend of Johnson’s birthday party, DeGeneres attended a Dallas Cowboys game where she elicited an intense backlash for mingling with George W. Bush. .

That tidbit, along with possible allegations that DeGeneres’ daytime talk show perpetuated a toxic work culture, provided an eerily radical nuance to Johnson’s low-stakes appeal from the media mogul – again, on a birthday party invitation – for people who look to celebrities for a minimal political message. Tweets that Johnson initiated the brief “withdrawal” from DeGeneres’ career have spread on Twitter. Just last month, Drew Barrymore applauded Johnson for the viral clip when she appeared on his eponymous talk show.

It’s a common exercise on Twitter for users to project their own beliefs and opinions about a celebrity’s facial expression or a certain gesture when directed at someone they don’t like. This kind of wishful thinking can start off as intentionally hyperbolic and playful. But when repeated enough times, as in Johnson’s case, it can trigger a public narrative that frankly isn’t deserved.

Likewise, to call Johnson’s comments disappointing is to assume that she has given her fans a reason to believe that she is a strong advocate for justice in the first place. However, his overwhelming sympathy for the abusers and survivors of abuse and the fact that she thinks her positive experiences with these men, as a well-connected actress, are even worth voicing is another example of why the topic of accountability at within the entertainment industry feels like it hasn’t disappeared anywhere in the past four years since Hollywood’s #MeToo movement. (Also, to refer to Armie Hammer as a “great artist” and his sudden disappearance amid allegations of sexual abuse as a “loss” is a pretty blatant statement). Perhaps the most infuriating part of this quote, however, is that many of the female victims of these men and other abusers in Hollywood are themselves great artists whose opportunities have been diverted and art has been hampered due to of the suffering they went through.

With the amount of overwhelming evidence accumulated since the Trump era, we should assume that the majority of celebrities feel the same as Johnson when it comes to the systemic issues plaguing their industries and the rest of society. Everyone is okay with embracing vague and non-threatening ideas of “change” and “equality”, but no one wants to face the costs of making it happen.


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