Left-leaning celebrities who signed a letter opposing the “cancel culture” movement – the effort to silence anyone who doesn’t enthusiastically agree with the radical views of Black Lives Matter and others – now face their own cancellation.
Signed by the likes of J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and other “liberal writers” and “activists,” it called for people to be more tolerant, Fox News reported.
Titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” it said the nation’s “cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial.”
“Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts,” the letter said. “But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second.”
But the “cancel culture” that the letter opposes attacked immediately.
One of the signatories, Matt Yglesias, was reported to his employer:
Another backed down publicly, with an apology for endorsing tolerance:
The New York Times said the reaction was “swift” when “artists and writers warn of an ‘intolerant climate.'”
The letter’s signatories were ridiculed, the paper said, for “thin-skinnedness, privilege and, as one person put it, fear of loss of ‘relevance.'”
Among the “cultural luminaries” who put their names on the letter, reported the Times, were Margaret Atwood, Bill T. Jones and Wynton Marsalis.
An editor at Huffington Post called the letter “fatuous, self-important drivel that would only troll the people it allegedly was trying to reach.”
The letter called President Trump a “real threat to democracy” but also noted an “intolerant climate” already “has set in on all sides.”
“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter warned.
The celebrities said they expect such actions from the “radical right,” but now it’s also “in our culture.”
“Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.”
The warned “democratic participation” becomes less likely when ideas are stifled, either by “a repressive government or an intolerant society.”
Others who signed were Gloria Steinem, Salman Rushdie and leaders at Yale, Harvard and Columbia.
The Times reported the project was pushed by writer Thomas Chatterton Williams, a columnist for Harper.
Another signatory who is a victim of the “cancel culture” is Ian Buruma, a former editor of the New York Review of Books.
Conservative writer and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza warned the signatories that “the thuggish Left” will be battering them “into submission.”
The writers and academics said racial justice needs to be addressed but not to the point of the “stifling of open debate.”
But there was no tolerance for their opinion, including from one Twitter user who called the signatories “spineless liberals.”