Cancel culture has destroyed many lives and careers in recent years. Even the most seemingly innocuous slip-up has the potential to mushroom into a full-blown effort by the left to cancel you. That goes doubly true if you are in the public eye and a conservative.
In the past couple of years, even progressives have fallen prey to cancel culture. Dave Chappelle, Joe Rogan, JK Rowling, and others that don’t fall under the description of conservative have been attacked for straying from the party narrative.
The effort to silence stretches across all industries and walks of life. It is no less uncommon for a factory employee to tell a seemingly harmless joke and wind up in human resources than it is for a celebrity to like the wrong Tweet and get attacked by the ravenous wolves on the left.
Often times careers and reputations are ruined permanently, especially for regular folks. Some more high-profile victims have bounced back, like Louis CK and Roseanne Barr, and have rebuilt their careers within their industries.
For the music industry, depending on what your genre is, the possibility of surviving cancellation is much stronger. Morgan Wallen, Jason Aldean, John Rich, and others have all survived and thrived due to their conservative country followers.
Still, others like Ted Nugent and Kid Rock have survived simply because they don’t care. You can’t be canceled if you don’t care. In terms of current rock and popular music, however, it is often more difficult to survive unscathed.
Tommy Vext, founder and lead vocalist of up-and-coming rock band “Bad Wolves,” was booted from his own band by the other members after going public with his support of President Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2020 election. The band has all but disappeared from the charts in the meantime while Vext pursues a solo career.
Another founding member of a popular band also saw his music career come crashing down for daring to speak of his political beliefs. Mumford & Sons guitarist and founding member Winston Marshall was essentially forced from the band for having the audacity to give a positive review on Twitter for journalist Andy Ngo’s anti-Antifa book, ‘Unmasked.’
While America is still a country where you can read whatever you like, as long as you are the appropriate age, it certainly no longer is a country where you can openly endorse anything that runs afoul of the far left. Marshall spoke recently about his experiences after his fateful Tweet: “It was quite a painful experience [being canceled]. My world sort of blew up over the course of a couple of days and my life seemed to fall apart.”
Marshall apologized for the Tweet, but only in the context of trying to protect his bandmates from further damage. He walked away to spare them and to pursue other avenues that would allow him to express himself more fully without fear of cancellation.
Ironically, censorship in the music industry in the 1980s was spearheaded by the religious left. Now, with most evangelicals standing on the right, the censorship remains directed from the far left. Marshall pointed that out as well: “We’ve turned now where the censoriousness comes from the progressives. The only real way to deal with it is to not be scared, to not apologize when you’ve done nothing wrong, to not be scared of the mob and to stand your ground, stand by your convictions.”
Marshall understands why some in certain industries either won’t speak out publicly or will even follow narratives they don’t necessarily believe in to save their livelihood and dreams. He continued: “They have too much to lose. Everybody wants to be a rock star, a musician and very few people get to do it, so I can understand why people want to protect that.”
Marshall has also managed a comeback, not in music, but in a more free-speech-centric space; podcasting. He elaborated: “I’m happy to say I have rebuilt it [my life] now and am doing exciting things, including my podcast ‘Marshall Matters’…”
It is unfortunate people can lose everything for simply liking a Tweet or commenting on a meme. However, it is also encouraging that people are coming out the other side unscathed and stronger for the experience. Winston Marshall walked away from his dream but now is doing something more important, championing free speech.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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