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9 Stars Who Scorched Cancel Culture
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 06: Actor Matthew McConaughey attends 'Der Mandant' (The Lincoln Lawyer) - Berlin photocall at Hotel de Rome on April 6, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

It’s unfair to say all of today’s stars either support or refuse to stand up to Cancel Culture.

Does 99 percent sound more accurate?

Today’s celebrity class routinely bends the knee to the woke mob, from smaller stars like Mario Lopez to A-plus listers like Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson.

A few brave souls refuse to follow their lead. Their numbers are small, microscopic even, but they stand apart as artists who grasp Cancel Culture’s brutal consequences.

Theses stars are putting their professional necks out to smite Cancel Culture, and they all deserve respect for doing just that.

Matthew McConaughey

Mr. “Alright, Alright, Alright” seems an odd choice for this list. Yet his comments on the subject landed harder for just that reason. If a gallant Oscar winner, someone who rarely throws sharp elbows, has a beef with the woke revolution, it matters even more.

Where the waterline is going to land on this freedom of speech and what we allow and what we don’t and where this cancel culture goes, where that waterline lands is a very interesting place that we are engaged in right now as a society that we’re trying to figure out because we haven’t found the right spot,” he said.

“I would say we don’t have true confrontation right now,” McConaughey added. “And that means that actually in a way it’s sort of unconstitutional.”

McConaughey pushed further on the subject in a new conversation with Jordan Peterson — although just sharing time with the Canadian professor, a figure abhorred by the Left, could put McConaughey in Cancel Culture’s cross hairs.

“In the name of rehabilitation, we have to have a world in which we’re able to grow and evolve if that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. “I’m not for repeat offenders or tyrants but if someone screws up and sincerely wants retribution, I think it’s fair to give it to those people.”

Bryan Cranston

The “Breaking Bad” star joined this exclusive club recently with comments that echoed across the media. The truth has a habit of doing that.

Cranston scowled at Cancel Culture as a force that lacks wisdom while exacerbating division, according to his chat with the Associated Press.

“Where does forgiveness live in our society? Where can we accept someone’s behaviour if they are contrite, if they are apologetic and take responsibility?

“Isn’t it possible that forgiveness plays a part in that and they are welcomed back in, as opposed to creating more fences?”

Cranston wasn’t under Cancel Culture attack at the time, although he did face heat for playing a partially paralyzed man in the 2017 drama “The Upside,” a role the woke community said should have gone to a disabled star. 

Ricky Gervais

No other celebrity has spoken as forcefully, and consistently, against Cancel Culture as “The Office” alum. One could say Gervais’ stance stems from self-preservation, given the abrasive nature of his stand-up material. 

Fellow comedy titan Dave Chappelle traffics in similar circles, but he’s less vocal on the subject than Gervais is. The British star is the real deal, waxing eloquently on why Cancel Culture is a scourge of western life. He’s equally adept at revealing why it’s an impossible way to navigate humor. Case in point:

“You shouldn’t have to go to court for telling a joke.” 

Simple. Direct. Undeniable.

Rowan Atkinson

The man known to millions as Mr. Bean is famous for his physical comedy, not his elocution. He still grasps how limiting Cancel Culture can be for artists of all stripes, evoking the word “mob” in its proper context in a chat with UK’s Radio Times.

“It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob, roaming the streets looking for someone to burn,” the “Blackadder” series creator lamented. “So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob, and it fills me with fear about the future.”

It’s not the first time the comic actor addressed the matter.

The star spoke out against Cancel Culture in 2012, roughly six years before the term gained international traction.

“If we want a robust society, we need more robust dialogue and that must include the right to insult or to offend. Because, as someone once said, the freedom to be inoffensive is no freedom at all.”

Adam Carolla

“You retreat, they encroach,” the podcast king once said about Cancel Culture and its subsidiary, the woke mob. He’s right, of course. Carolla created his own “Pirate Ship” in 2009 to tell jokes his way without compromise. 

He knew enough about Hollywood’s thin skin at the time to protect his career. Perhaps the “No Safe Spaces” co-star sensed being a free-thinking comic could have consequences down the road.

Boy, did his instincts prove sound.

Rob Schneider

There’s something about leaving “Saturday Night Live” that makes comedians appreciate free expression all the more. It might sound counter-intuitive given the show’s anarchic roots, but former players like Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller and Rob Schneider have all drifted to the Libertarian side since graduating from the sketch series.

Schneider has been on a tear in recent years, defending liberty and savaging those eager to snuff out freedom. That got personal for him when “SNL” hired, and swiftly fired, comedian Shane Gillis over crude Asian jokes he told on a podcast.

“As a former SNL cast member I am sorry that you had the misfortune of being a cast member during this era of cultural unforgiveness where comedic misfires are subject to the intolerable inquisition of those who never risked bombing on stage themselves,” Schneider Tweeted at Gillis after the firing. “An honest, sincere apology and also accepting it seems appropriate as well. Destroying someone does not.”

Kevin Hart

Some stars see the light after it shines directly on them. Hart, one of Hollywood’s most bankable movie stars, got the gig of a lifetime in 2018 when he was named to host the Oscars telecast.

The honor lasted but a few days after some of his bruising anti-gay jokes miraculously resurfaced.

Hart strains to be inclusive in his public statements, avoiding political stances and pushing positivity whenever he can. Yet he still saw fit to shred why Cancel Culture is so destructive, doing so as surgically as he could.

“If people [have done something] wrong, the idea of canceling those people, and ending whatever career or thing they have…If it’s just over, then what’s the teachable moment for them? What, it’s over, and then you can’t do nothing else for the rest of your life, because you made a mistake?”

“What happened to the days of making a mistake, learning from the mistake, not doing that, and educating others on what not to do because of your mistakes? Isn’t that parenting? Isn’t that the world of raising a kid? How do you know what to tell your kid to do or not to do? You have to be in a position of experience to say, ‘Don’t touch that stove because it’s hot,’ because you touched it when it was hot. I can’t give you that lesson if I don’t have the experience.”

John Cleese

The Monty Python alum could teach us all a thing or two about comedy. Or maybe a hundred.

Cleese, like Gervais, understands the intricacies of humor better than most. And he’s been fighting against language restrictions for some time now. If only the woke crowd would listen, really listen, when Cleese explains the cornerstone of comedy like this:

“Everything humorous is critical. If you have someone who is perfectly kind and intelligent and flexible and who always behaves appropriately, they’re not funny. Funniness is about people who don’t do that, like Trump,” he said.

Cleese also defended artistic expression five years ago, a time when woke punishments were starting to heat up.

“I’m offended every day. For example, the British newspapers every day offend me with their laziness, their nastiness, and their inaccuracy, but I’m not going to expect someone to stop that happening; I just simply speak out about it… So the idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is what I absolutely do not subscribe to.”

Nick Cave

Singers should be afraid of Cancel Culture’s reach as much as any artist. After all, some of the most iconic songs require them to step into the shoes of unsavory souls. 

Look no further than Johnny Cash singing, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”

It’s likely why Cave answered a fan query on his web site in the following fashion:

“As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world.”

“Its once honorable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) – moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.”

Bonus: Sarah Silverman 

The far-left comic’s Cancel Culture critique comes with a massive asterisk. Silverman previously praised woke culture, saying we must follow what young people are telling us about the culture.

She had a partial change of heart when she got “cancelled” for a decade-old blackface sketch meant to highlight racism. The mob, in the form of a film’s creative team, ignored the nuance and let her go at the literal last minute.

Silverman spoke differently about Cancel Culture after the incident.

“If we don’t give these people a path to redemption, then they’re going to go where they are accepted, which is the mother****ing dark side.'”

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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