Hollywood’s liberal voices like Sean Penn and Conan O’Brien are joining the chorus against cancel culture. At this point, many Americans are realizing that there is universal hatred against the trend of ostracising people for past misdeeds.
‘Cancel Culture is Very Soviet’
In his July 5 podcast of “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” the former late-night talk show host sat down with veteran actor and liberal activist Sean Penn about the dangers of political incorrectness. O’Brien noted that in today’s world, “Empathy is a very important word and also forgiveness. We found that someone did something in 1979 that is now not appropriate. They’re dead to us.”
O’Brien then described cancel culture as “very Soviet,” and said that people deserve a chance for forgiveness. He asked what happened to the idea of forgiving people for past transgressions. Penn agreed and called the movement ludicrous.
What Are We Doing?
As an example, Penn talked about the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Alexi McCammond. The magazine fired McCammond after a few weeks on the job because of anti-Asian tweets she posted as a teenager. “When we’re destroying careers like that, what are we really achieving? What are we doing?” the multi-awarded actor asked.
The two then discussed how the trend is reshaping Hollywood. Penn noted that unlike before, he will have a hard time auditioning for groundbreaking roles because he’s not an actual member of the community.
He said that he won the role of gay activist Harvey Milk even if he wasn’t gay. Now, he’s unsure if he can get consideration for the same role if he’s straight.
“Today, almost certainly I would not be permitted to be cast in that role. We’re living in a time when, if you’re playing a gay lead character, you’d have to be a gay man or a trans character. And there have been these casting issues,” he said.
The Left Pushed Representation Too Far
Penn also warned that the Left might have gone too far by overly pushing representation. “When you have a period of evolution that certainly has an opportunity for people who have had fewer opportunities to move forward.
That has to be supported, and yet in this pendulum swing society that we’re in, you wonder at some point if only Danish Princes can play Hamlet. It is, I believe, too restrictive. People are looking for gotcha moments and to criticize,” he said.
Meanwhile, O’Brien compared Penn’s experience to the tendency among late-night talk show hosts to politicize comedy. He said that he tries to actively avoid following the trend as he might lose his way. “I know people in comedy, people who do the job that I do that feel like there’s so much that’s happening that doesn’t feel funny that they feel like it’s their job to speak out about those things,” he said. “And I think, yes that’s great but it’s easy for that to just turn into anger and outrage, and then you’re not, you feel like you’re losing your way as a comedian. And I think that’s what gets so tricky right now,” O'Brien added.
Sometimes, It’s Embarrassing Being In Show Business
O’Brien also reflected on setting boundaries. “The job is ‘how can I reflect some of what’s happening around me, but also for me, I just know that I serve at the altar of silliness and comedy and that is what I need to try and get back to,” he noted.
He said he needs to go back to focus on where his strength comes from. This can mean knowing when the news has nothing to do with his comedy. “And some people might say, ‘Well, that’s a cop-out.
You should make your comedy about what is happening right now.’ And I just think, frankly, I don’t have that ability. There are times when it’s embarrassing to be in show business,” he added.
Watch The Heritage Foundation’s report on celebrities slamming cancel culture:
Do you agree with Sean Penn and Conan O’Brien that cancel culture is toxic and pushes representation too far? Do you support liberal personalities who speak against cancel culture?
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