16 Celebrities Who Have Been Canceled
The term “cancel culture” is everywhere, from the news to the radio and television. Some people might not be familiar with the phrase even though they constantly hear it. It often refers to a culture that boycotts or ostracizes individuals for their actions, speech, or behavior that’s deemed inappropriate by the masses. The shunning usually occurs with high-profile people and celebrities who have been canceled in person or on social media for the things they have said or done.
There’s a great deal of debate over the term. One side feels that cancer culture harms free speech and if they express their opinion they fear they may be shunned by friends or even fired from their place of work. They argue it leads to cyberbullying and doesn’t result in any form of social change.
Supporters of cancel culture or “call-out culture” feel it is a form of free speech that gives voice to the disenfranchised. Furthermore, it allows them to hold people in power accountable for their actions. Cancel culture has impacted some careers, while others complain about being canceled as they continue to have successful careers. Read on to discover some of the most popular celebrities who have been canceled and felt the wrath of cancel culture.
16 Celebrities Who Have Been Canceled
1. Louis C.K.
Louis C.K. became a household name due to his critically acclaimed stand-up specials. He also created and starred in the hit series Louie. In 2017, several female comedians accused C.K. of sexual misconduct. At first, he attempted to ignore the issue but later admitted they were true and apologized. Regardless of his apology, the incident impacted his career.
His stand-up gigs declined for several years, and FX canceled Louie. Numerous projects he had in the works were canceled as well. He returned to stand up a few years later. While C.K.’s career suffered, so did the careers of the women who came forward.
2. Kanye West
Often considered one of the greatest rappers, Kanye West is now known for his controversial and antisemitic statements. Throughout his career, West built a reputation for his outspoken personality on various topics, such as abortion and politics.
In 2022, West stirred up a great deal of controversy due to antisemitic remarks. He claimed, among other things, that he identified as a Nazi, denied the Holocaust, and praised Adolf Hitler. His comments resulted in several companies ending their partnership with him, including Gap, CAA, Vogue, and Adidas. Despite all this, West remains a prominent celebrity, although he’s no longer a billionaire.
3. J.K. Rowling
Author J.K. Rowling became world-famous for creating the iconic Harry Potter books series resulting in a media franchise. However, Rowling’s views and comments on transgender and LGBTQ rights have overshadowed her success in some ways.
It began when Rowling liked a tweet supporting a woman fired from her job due to comments on the trans community. Rowling’s views divided her fans and feminists. She also wrote an essay that added fuel to the fire.
At the same time, several Harry Potter cast members voiced support for the transgender community over Rowling’s comments. While Rowling faces the threat of cancellation, her career continues to flourish as Harry Potter remains one of the highest-grossing franchises in the world.
4. Dave Chappelle
Fans and critics consider Dave Chappelle one of the greatest and most influential comedians of all time. In 2021, Chappelle’s most recent Netflix special, The Closer, created controversy with his views on the transgender and LGBTQ community. He received criticism for agreeing with J.K. Rowling and making comments considered transphobic.
The controversy divided the public, comedians, and other celebrities. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle’s freedom of speech and refused to remove the special. In response, several Netflix employees staged a walkout in protest of the special. Chappelle’s special remains on Netflix and he continues to perform at sold-out venues around the globe.
5. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres is best known as the host of the popular daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, airing from 2003 to 2022. While DeGeneres claimed she wanted to move to other projects, the series’ ending came on the heels of DeGeneres’ controversy.
In 2020, several former employees came forward, claiming DeGeneres created a “toxic” work environment and an atmosphere of racism, fear, and ignoring sexual harassment. Despite an apology, DeGeneres faced a massive backlash and controversy. Eventually, she decided to end her show. Critics link the series’ ending to the controversy.
6. Chrissy Teigen
In 2021, model Chrissy Teigen ended up in hot water for threatening tweets and private messages she sent to Courtney Stodden. In 2011, 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchison created controversy when he began dating 16-year-old model Courtney Stodden. Teigen sent then-teenager Stodden offensive messages telling her to end her own life.
Teigen apologized for the messages stating, “There is simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets. My targets didn’t deserve them. No one does.” Teigen ended up quitting social media and having her products removed from Target and Macey’s. She also stepped down from her role on Never Have I Ever. Once the heat died down, Teigen returned to social media.
7. Armie Hammer
Actor Armie Hammer was rising to the top of Hollywood when it suddenly came crashing down. In 2021, several ex-girlfriends accused Hammer of sexual and cannibalistic violence, including rape and emotional abuse. However, an LAPD investigation appeared to go nowhere. Regardless, Hammer dropped out of all upcoming projects and completely disappeared from the public eye.
8. Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey rose to fame with his roles in The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, and House of Cards. In 2017, actor Anthony Rapp claimed Spacey made sexual advances toward him when Rapp was 16. Spacey apologized, but several more individuals came forward to make similar accusations. The allegations and subsequent lawsuits resulted in Netflix cutting off all ties with Spacey.
The streaming service dropped him from House of Cards and chose not to release his film, Gore. Furthermore, his scenes in All the Money in the World were cut and replaced with Christopher Plummer. While he continues to face allegations and lawsuits, Spacey is attempting a comeback with a role in Peter Five Eight.
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9. Taylor Swift
Despite Taylor Swift’s clean-cut American sweetheart image, she often finds herself in the middle of controversy. Since Kayne West interrupted Swift while accepting an award at the 2009 VMAs, they’ve always had a tense situation. Things got worse when West and his then-wife Kim Kardashian made wild claims about Swift that resulted in West’s fanbase starting an online campaign to cancel Swift.
Swift faced further outrage when she didn’t immediately voice support for Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump in the 2018 Presidential election. Luckily for her, the controversy didn’t impact Swift’s career as her fanbase is loyal and supportive.
10. Johnny Depp
Throughout the 80s and 90s, Johnny Depp climbed to the top of the industry, becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. After the end of his toxic relationship with actress Amber Heard, Depp faced allegations of verbal, physical, and sexual violence.
With the label of “wife beater” hanging over him, Disney dropped Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Warner Bros forced him out of Fantastic Beasts. Depp later lost a defamation trial in the U.K. and sued Heard over an op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post. While the allegations impacted his career, Depp is currently mounting a comeback.
11. Justin Timberlake
In the early 2000s, teen idol Justin Timberlake was dating the princess of pop, Britney Spears. After the breakup, Timberlake publicly discussed the relationship in many interviews, a move many people opposed.
In 2004, Timberlake created controversy when he exposed Janet Jackson’s breasts during the Super Bowl Halftime show. However, Jackson got most of the heat while Timberlake’s career flourished.
In 2021, the documentary Framing Britney Spears shed new light on the duo’s relationship. Many fans began to view Timberlake’s comments about Spears as misogynistic. Furthermore, it renewed interest in Timberlake’s role in the Halftime Show. Soon, a social media campaign began to cancel Timberlake. Fans felt he should be held accountable for his comments about Spears and his role in the Halftime Show.
12. Amber Heard
Actress Amber Heard faced considerable backlash on social media before, during, and after the Depp vs. Heard trial. She also faced allegations of physical and threatening violence.
After Johnny Depp lost a libel case in the U.K., he also lost several prominent roles. His fans began an online petition to remove Heard from the upcoming DC film Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in retaliation. Despite the social media campaign and trial, Heard reprises her role in the forthcoming Aquaman sequel.
13. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato is not a stranger to social media backlash. Lovato is a top-selling solo artist who’s outspoken and not afraid to speak her mind. Of course, that leads to online campaigns calling to cancel the star. For instance, her Twitter account shut down after she shared a meme of 21 Savage and discussed her falling out with Selena Gomez. Gomez’s fans didn’t appreciate the comment and started a campaign against Lovato.
She said, “I’ve been canceled so many times, I can’t even count…the hashtag #DemiIsOverParty, that whole thing. It just doesn’t even affect me anymore.”
14. Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss is famous for creating classic children’s books that are still popular and relevant today. In 2021, Dr. Seuss Enterprises discontinued six books that relied on racial stereotypes. That resulted in claims that cancel culture got to Dr. Seuss, but publishers felt the books included hurtful and racist images and continued to make the books unavailable. Despite the claims of cancel culture, the other Dr. Seuss books surged in popularity, becoming top sellers.
15. Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt is best known for his role as Star-Lord/Peter Quill in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pratt is also known for his strong belief in his faith. He’s associated with the Zoe Church, which has a loose connection to the infamously anti-LGBTQ Hillsong Church. This connection has caused critics to accuse Pratt of being anti-LGBTQ.
It led to a social media campaign to replace Pratt as Star-Lord. Director James Gunn defended Pratt and refused to replace the actor. The Hillsong Church also denied Pratt had any connection to the group, but that hasn’t stopped controversy from surrounding the actor.
16. Elon Musk
While Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk is no stranger to controversy, he hasn’t faced cancellation. His business ventures and wealth remains strong despite his hot takes and interesting comments. His views on politics and COVID-19 angered many people.
He compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler during the Convoy Protest in 2022 and faced backlash for mocking gender pronouns with tweets. Critics also accuse him of being hypocritical for banning certain Twitter users while claiming to be a free speech advocate. Musk might just be proof that if you have enough money, you can get away with anything.
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