During the #metoo movement, many fans wondered if they should cancel artists, denying them money and attention in response to wrongdoing. Some artists were canceled, but five years later, many are returning, and some, like Dave Chappelle and Louis C.K., are embracing their new counterculture status. I argue that this is in part a direct result of the nature of canceling and social media, which rewards polarizing discourse and incentivizes the artists to double-down on their behavior.
Dr. Mary Beth Willard is a professor of philosophy at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. She writes about questions in philosophy of art and aesthetics. Her recent book, Why It's OK to Enjoy the Work of Immoral Artists, argues for a nuanced response to the question of what fans ought to do when they learn that a beloved artist has committed a grievous moral wrong.