As cancel culture spreads around the world thanks to social media, many questions have been raised about the impact on freedom of speech.
JK Rowling was labelled a toxic transphobe after she posted a tweet mocking the word “people” who menstruate instead of “women”. Trans activists, Harry Potter actors Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Redmayne were among those who opposed her. Now, some Potter fans are apparently wondering whether it is still “acceptable” to enjoy the books. There was also news that staff in the children’s department at Hachette were refusing to work on a title by JK Rowling, because of her views on gender identity.
Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto clinical psychologist, YouTube lecturer, and author of “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” (2018) and “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life,” faced “cancellation” as a result of being “an intellectual subversive” and a “moral monster”. Peterson has expressed his opposition to identity politics, specifically, the totalitarian methods of militant transgenderism. In 2016 Bill C-16, legislation in the Canadian Parliament added “gender identity or expression” to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. Peterson is believed to have said that he would refuse to use contrived pronouns in his classes. “I regard these made-up pronouns, all of them, as neologisms of a radical PC authoritarianism,” he has stated in 2016. “I’m not going to be a mouthpiece for language I detest”. He has since been called a racist, misogynist, fascist and transphobic.
Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt, a novel that deals sympathetically with the plight of migrants travelling through Mexico seeking refuge in the US, has come under attack because she is not “an actual Latino,” but “white,” and therefore, has produced an “inauthentic” book. The Mexican-American writer Myriam Gurba is said to have called Cummins a gabacha (a pejorative term for a non-Latino English speaker), who has followed in a tradition of “Appropriating genius works by people of colour, slapping a coat of mayonesa on them to make palatable to taste buds estados-unidenses [American], and repackaging them for mass racially ‘colourblind’ consumption.”.
Julie Burchill, a journalist faced the wrath of readers who said she “crossed a line” with her Islamophobic comments on Twitter. She was also criticised for an article she wrote for the Observer in 2013, which was removed because it contained transphobic language