A History Filled with Media Missteps
Kanye West allegedly lost two billion dollars after a sudden contract breakup caused by Adidas and Balenciaga following anti-Semitic remarks he made in November. The 45-year-old artist had posted a tweet calling for the genocide of Jewish people, which has since been deleted due to Twitter-imposed censorship.
This media misstep is not the first for the bipolar-diagnosed artist. Since 2004, Kim Kardashian's ex-husband has been involved in a series of scandals, such as in 2018 when he claimed that the 400-year-long slavery endured by African Americans was a choice. After almost twenty years of scandals, Kanye West's image has never been so tarnished. In recent months, he has faced criticism from some of the most prominent personalities in the United States, seemingly condemned by what historian Laure Murat has termed the "culture of protest."
What is cancel culture?
Cancel culture, originally stemming from the wave of the #MeToo movement, can be defined as a practice that involves the call for the disappearance of a person, a show, or a written work to erase it from history. To achieve this, proponents of canceling culture seek support from their network and share their arguments to create news that will be all over the media, thereby spreading a negative or even stigmatized image of the person or object targeted for removal from the common culture.
Is Kanye West Invincible to Cancel Culture?
Despite being canceled several times, the artist who goes by the name "Ye" has not yet had his final say. He seems to have a substantial career and a fortune too imposing to be affected in any way. The artist, with millions of followers on social media, is still available on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, continuing to earn royalties. Kanye West is no newcomer to the industry; he accumulated hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify alone and was even the most listened-to artist on the platform just a few months ago.
Cancel culture is known for never truly affecting the most influential figures in the music and entertainment industry. For example, Mel Gibson faced a wave of media boycotts in the 2000s after stating that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in history." Despite this, he was never boycotted by Hollywood and received support from renowned actors such as Gary Goldman. The same can be said for J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels, who proudly tweeted last October that she had not been financially affected by cancel culture, despite publishing tweets considered transphobic. The revenues from her previous work continue to fill her bank account.
Did Kanye Premeditated It All?
The French media outlet RapidsCrew went even further and suggested that Kanye West may have intentionally caused this scandal to get rid of his collaborators (Balenciaga and Adidas) and regain control over the image of his brand, Yeezy. This information is supported by Candice Owens, an American political commentator and friend of Kanye West. She stated on her YouTube channel on November 9th that Kanye had confessed to her feeling "finally free."
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