The Destructive Everyday Cancel Culture Of Recorded Interactions

Making photos on smartphone - stock photo Mock-up of making photo on a smartphone - woman's hands holding mobile phone and touching screen isolated on white background WDnet via Getty Images
WDnet via Getty Images

In our increasingly digital world, the likelihood that a difficult moment in someone’s day could be broadcast for all to see is higher than ever.

A heartbreaking video recently circulated on Twitter with the caption, “A white Holiday Inn Express worker has a nervous breakdown after he got scolded by a Black customer because of a mistake in the reservation system.”

The video shows a customer speaking aggressively to an employee about a mistake the hotel chain had reportedly made, with the caption implying the employee was treating the customer different because of his race.

In the heart-wrenching footage, the employee — who it was later revealed suffered from numerous mental disorders — becomes increasingly upset, punching himself repeatedly and slamming his head into a computer, as he’s continually berated by the man filming.

“So this is the type of people they have working here?” the person behind the camera is heard saying. The employee leaves the room and starts crying loudly while the customer continues to film, disapprovingly saying, “Wow.”

The employee left his job and a GoFundMe was set up that has received over $135,500 in donations so far. The fundraising website includes a quote from the man, saying, 

“While I’ve now quit this position (my management supported me, and told me I’m welcome back. The guest was ejected from the hotel for escalating issues with staff and the owners.)

I do have mental disorders. I suffer from BPD and schizo-affective disorders. What this fine, gentleman behind the camera DIDN’T record was the fact that he called me a F**GOT for an associates mistake.

He was aggressive, and fishing for a reaction. He sure got it; and I’m glad this was a wake up call for me to stop slaving away for corporations who do not care about you at all, or the guests.”

While the video itself was an example of the worst in people, reactions on the fundraising site have shown the best in people, with countless comments streaming in offering support to the harassment victim:

“I won’t stand for bullying We’re with you”

“I too suffer from BPD and there was a time in my life where that very well could have been me behind the counter.”

“I know how you felt in that moment and please know that you are not alone.”

“Seeing your pain made me hurt too. People deserve empathy… and some extra cash never hurt either”

The story resulted in a relatively happy ending, but concern remains over the sharing of personal moments. The situation begs people to allow the full context of a circumstance to play out before responding — whether the result is negative or positive. 

During COVID-19 lockdowns, numerous teachers in virtual classes were filmed as they presented unpopular opinions or appeared to argue with students. As a result, many lost their jobs or faced a barrage of attacks on social media — from the Left and Right — for what they said. The ability to record difficult moments at a moment’s notice has created a society where people make assumptions without all of the facts — a phenomena which inevitably results in further cancellations on both sides of the political aisle. Both sides should be intentional when responding to a recorded incident, instead of making a snap judgment based on what fits their preconceived ideas and worldview.

Actor Levar Burton appeared on “The View” and discussed the topic of “cancel culture” with the co-hosts. He said that it is more of a “consequence culture,” and implied that it is a good thing to hold other people accountable when they do something wrong. 

“In terms of cancel culture, I think it’s misnamed. That’s a misnomer,” he said. “I think we have a consequence culture, and that consequences are finally encompassing everybody in the society, whereas they haven’t been ever in this country. I think there are good signs that are happening in the culture right now. I think it has everything to do with a new awareness on people who were simply unaware of the real nature of life in this country for people who have been othered since this nation began.”

When the full context can be provided in situations, it should be. The initial reaction should always be seeking out the opportunity to hear all sides of a story. While the idea of people receiving consequences for their actions might be enticing, it is not for the masses to decide when someone should be punished. There’s no way to tell when the crowd will turn on someone, even its own members. No one is safe from the cancellations of a “consequence culture” unless they stay silent or repeat the acceptable sayings of that community. Anyone who decries such an unspoken club as a good thing in society should reconsider to whom they are giving the moral scepter.

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

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