Cancel Culture Phenomenon- “Alive & Well”

By Shawn Ray

In recent years a phenomenon has popped into our public and private lives by the increased ability to control individual platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter serving as vehicles to air grievances and disagreements instead of motivation and inspiration which were two of the main reasons adult personalities use them for. However, with more and more people turning to social media for news and entertainment, there’s a few people in the peanut gallery who prefer to use these platforms to spread hate, division and negativity with their followers in order to get them to agree and support all things they disagree with or take exception to and noone is safe from their wrath of fire and fury based in truth and untruths.

There have been many instances where celebrities, athletes, politicians and even school aged children have been singled out to be ostracized and ridiculed for things a few individuals looking for attention did not agree with in part or in principle regarding something that was said, heard or displayed.

The definition of Cancel Culture:

Cancel culture or call-out culture is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those subject to this ostracism are said to have been “cancelled”. The expression “cancel culture” has mostly negative connotations and is used in debates on free speech and censorship.

In 2020, the world was dealing with and fighting a global pandemic in the form of CoVid19. However, to compound the war against the spread of this deadly virus, as people sheltered in place with many opting to work from home or home school, lots of people found the internet as a way to communicate and share everything from family photos, expanding business structures and expressing their views or ideas with the world which then further opened the door for the Peanut Gallery to chime in and light a fuse to infuriate their “Mob Mentality” to disagree with unpopular opinions or ideas in a global fashion of misinformed and uneducated people agreeing with them to rid the world of “Freedom of Expression.”

Not so long ago, a few of the world’s most popular people became targets of Cancel Culture for various reasons none of which were earth shattering disagreements like; KD Rowlings, Justin Timberlake, Ellen DeGeneres and Jonny Depp.

In the world of bodybuilding we find ourselves no less exposed to this phenomenon as our sport is a reflection of the world trends and our Crown Jewels are no less secure from ridicule. In 2021 we witnessed our sports most recognizable figures, most accomplished and decorated athlete of all-time come under fire for one phrase he uttered in a non-bodybuilding related interview, “Screw your Freedoms.” 7X Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger uttered these words on camera during an interview addressing the problems related to the spread of the worlds most deadliest virus. These words irked the Peanut Gallery so much that a few of these Cancel Culture Creatures jumped on the band wagon once the fuse was lit to then try to Cancel our sports most favorite son by removing his iconic photos from their bedrooms, boycotting his movies and spent energy trying to rally others to dismiss him as a washed up has-been bodybuilder who’s out of touch with society and needs to go away!

Can you image trying to Cancel a former Governor, Action Star, Real-estate Mogul, Philanthropist, Bodybuilding Promoter who’s dedicated his entire life to the sport creating champions, businesses and brining attention to a cult sport the world would have otherwise not been exposed to?

Arnold has done more for bodybuilding than any other athlete living or dead and yet some would have him put out to pasture because they disagree with a comment he made or his political views which have nothing to do with the sport of bodybuilding.

We are living in some strange times where anyone with an IPhone or computer can say what they want and share their views with like minded people to whip them into a frenzy to misconstrue what someone says or does and then try to rally the troops to Cancel or attempt to silence and even rid society of their existence without consideration for a persons contributions to their craft. I know first hand how Cancel Culture works being that I work in the world of Bodybuilding Media. It’s like you haven’t really made it big until the Cancel Culture has tried to Cancel you for one reason or another. It seems anyone with a Negative Opinion or Disagreement with content or it’s delivery will come for you especially if they don’t already like you for one reason or another. Like vultures, they seemingly wait for you to slip up, misstep or misspeak on a topic or issue that’s not popular or in-sync with their opinion or belief systems.

Most recently, world famous Comedian, Dave Chappelle was under attack, as his newest Netflix Stand-up show cracked up the world that was coming off being locked in the house over the past year! Much needed laughter rocked peoples funny bones, as Dave talked about various issues and more specifically the Trans Gender community that had a few Peanut Gallery members looking to Cancel his Act, Career and him as a Personality in the midst of their lack of humor and distain for his material. After all, it’s Comedy 101 and some of the best comedy is a mixture of Truth and Fiction blended with Timing and Storytelling. Very few if any deliver the way Chappelle does and in fact his Netflix Special has him receiving a Grammy Award in-spite of the Cancel Culture attempt to cancel one of the best to ever do it!

In a world from our not too distant past, people used to be able to agree to disagree. However, in present times people are wrapped too tightly to entertain someone else point of view, mistakes, timing or even opinions that differ from theirs and they run to Social Media with their hurt feelings, fire starter kits and mob mentality to try and get others to join their position it getting rid of the source of their opposition by setting ablaze the internet with a big fat juicy Nothing Burger Post. The best revenge in response to Cancel Culture is to keep on Winning! Dave’s record in comedy stands the rest of time. These New Jacks or Keyboard Warriors are too sensitive or too weak to understand that an icon, professional and master of Humor is more than a person who can strike a nerve that can piss people off, he can also make you cry with laughter, think outside the box and understand hidden messages gift wrapped in humor! His revenge is success not in replying to the Peanut Gallery in first person as they are well beneath his pay grade.

In my case, having cutting edge run-Ins with people who may disagree with me or not like what I have to say, they must realize that in silencing my voice they open the door to having their own voices silenced as well. There’s a famous quote we must all remember made by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Once we forget this rule of thumb we open ourselves up to be Silenced by the Peanut Gallery once and for all. Thankfully, the Adults in the room can see through this new generation of Bullies who know nothing about Freedom of Speech or even the basic principles of Agreeing to Disagree.

Even the worlds Greatest Basketball Player, LeBron James wasn’t safe from the very busy Cancel Culture regardless of his ability to fly through the air and sink game winning 3 pointers this year as he came under attack by the Peanut Gallery. Is anyone safe from these Trolls?

In summation, when not if it becomes your turn to be hanged up on, singled out, attacked or attempt at being canceled remember the aforementioned cast of of actors as they all survived the onslaught of Insults, Threats, Rudeness and Shame from people far less meaningful in the grand scheme of things. One must simply consider the source of many of these campaigns designed to create division and hate to realize this is what the do. They Hate and try to Divide. While most of us have no time roll around in the mud, sling mud or spread dirt on others peoples lives and careers there’s always going to be a small faction of people who’s job it is to professionally sling Mud at people who are busy working hard and harder than the Mud Slingers themselves.

What Cancel Culture cannot stand the most about those they focus on Canceling is having to witness these select individuals Succeeding or Thriving irrespective of their calculated attempts to derail their object of obsession.

During the time of my Social Media Cancellation from the Peanut Gallery I was gracing the current Magazine Cover on News Stands today 20 years into my retirement which drove some of my Haters Mad with envy and distain. In the face of rude comments from strangers I’ve never met and crass remarks from people that never respected me, I continue my role promoting bodybuilding and motivation without missing a beat as I stay focused on The Business of Bodybuilding which continues to stand the test of time.


Success is the state or condition of meeting a defined range of expectations. It may be viewed as the opposite of failure.

Cancel Culture serves a purpose to remind us that not everyone is happy for you to succeed and achieve. A constant reminder to keep winning anyways.

Editor in Chief.