Cedric the Entertainer has a simple reminder for society regarding cancel culture: “People are human beings, and they make human mistakes.” The king of comedy addressed the bandwagon culture that derails the careers, and oftentimes lives, of public figures in a new interview on Sunday (May 7).
While the exact origin of the social movement is debatable, there is no denying that it has reached infamy levels since the #MeToo movement of 2017 shook the world. Countless celebrities and entertainment executives have found themselves at the center of controversies. Cedric told The Daily Mail that, at times, cancel culture subscribers have taken things too far. “So this idea of canceling people out of their lives and saying they can’t exist anymore or they shouldn’t, I feel that that’s a bridge too far. And it’s usually done in the sense of blind internet power,” he said.
The 2022 “slapgate” at the Academy Awards ceremony is arguably the most talked about viral moment in the past year. It spurred division amongst Will Smith and Chris Rock fans. The Oscar winner was dragged online relentlessly by those outraged when he slapped Rock on stage at the awards show. Though those tables turned a bit when the stand-up comic released his Netflix special, Selective Outrage, and slaughtered Will and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in a nearly 10-minute rant. Cedric said the two men’s fallout is just one example of cancel culture using a single mistake to redraft the narratives about a person’s character.
“Eventually, as men, there is a degree [to which] both of them had great falls because of that,” said “The Neighborhood” star. “One had the kind of physical experience happen to them, and the other one had the repercussions of it and saw that they were seen in a different way.” Cedric noted that, like many, he was baffled by the outburst, given that it took place at the pinnacle of Will’s über-successful career. Yet, fans and critics who were quick to condemn either of the actors proved how ruthless people can be when they are just spectators of real life unfolding.
“It is people that have no real attachment to it, just giving an opinion for the moment,” said the industry veteran. “And then they jump on the wave, and they create this thing that comes rushing at you that makes you look like the worst human being in the world. Because all of us feel like sometimes we’re tough guys. You’ll be like, ‘Oh, that guy said this to me. I’ll do this.’ But you don’t know how somebody would really respond to that or if that situation would be a detriment to who you are.”
As for his thoughts on Will and Rock reconciling, he thinks the day will come when both men can put the moment behind them, though he is doubtful that it will happen anytime soon.
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