The Type of Fan Base Determines Forgiveness for Canceled Celebrities

Karina Gonzalez, Feature Editor

The internet: a welcoming, creative, scary place. Like any middle school P.E. teacher will say: once something is on the internet, it’s there forever. As children, this warning had little effect as social media consisted only of weekly selfies and food pics. So, was it bad that these would be on the internet forever with a possibility of resurgence? Not really. That is, until the rise of “cancel culture,” where Gen-Z has found itself smack in the middle, not necessarily as the ones being canceled, but rather the ones wielding the canceling sword. 

Social media has created an environment where voicing an opinion is easier than ever, and criticism lurks at every turn. Teenagers and young adults are more involved in pressing matters such as government policies and race controversies than ever. Social media users now have the power to tarnish a person’s social status with the click of a couple buttons. Celebrities, in particular, have faced the harshest effects of canceling. 

Charli D’Amelio, 16-year-old TikTok star. Image courtesy of Variety.com

Charli D’Amelio, famous TikTok star, has received backlash for her lack of safety precautions throughout the pandemic. In January, she and a few other TikTok stars traveled to the Bahamas, completely ignoring COVID guidelines. But this is not the first time D’Amelio has been canceled. At the end of last year, D’Amelio was canceled for acting “rude” and “bratty” after refusing to eat a dish cooked by a personal chef. So, if she was “canceled” twice for pretty serious matters, why hasn’t her follower count decreased? Why is she still one of the most-loved social media influencers? The answer is simple: her fanbase. Like most TikTok stars, D’Amelio’s fanbase is made up mostly of children, who neither care, nor understand the significance of the TikTok star’s actions. 

J.K. Rowling, on the other hand, has a fanbase of teenagers and young adults who read the Harry Potter series. After Rowling supported a transphobic person on Twitter, fans almost immediately canceled the author and have since separated Rowling from the books completely. One person on Twitter even joked that Lady Gaga was the new accepted author of the series. The difference between D’Amelio and Rowling is the fanbase. As Rowling’s fans are more mature and aware of the problems with Rowling’s statements, it is no surprise that Rowling’s celebrity status has plummeted. 

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Image courtesy by TheGuardian.com

This status of canceled, but not really canceled, happens too often. Cancel culture can be a good thing as it takes away the fame and influence of undeserving celebrities. However, it can also be a bad thing, leaving no room for second chances. Still, “cancel culture” is not just going to go away. And if it has to stay, then it should be equally as damaging to all celebrities, no matter the fanbase.