Few radio stars can boast a career quite like what Don Imus created.
“Imus in the Morning” reigned for more than four decades, powered by the shock jock’s nimble wit and ability to push our buttons. That storied career came to a crashing halt in 2007 when ugly comments he made went viral.
Imus, who was white, jokingly referred to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team, many of whom were black, as “nappy headed hos.”
The uproar proved swift and merciless despite Imus’ full-throated apology. CBS yanked his show out from under him following a relentless media attack. Imus’ precipitous fall came more than a decade before both Cancel Culture and Black Lives Matter overwhelmed the national debate.
So you’d think another white artist sharing a very similar slur against a woman of color today, a far more racially-charged climate, would spark similar outrage?
You’d be wrong.
Earlier this month Grammy nominee Noah Cyrus, sister of Miley and daughter of Billy Ray, called conservative pundit Candace Owens a racist term.
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) December 4, 2020
Owens had criticized singer Harry Styles for donning a dress for a magazine photo shoot, bemoaning the dearth of manly men. Cyrus fired back at Owens, who is black, with this Instagram retort: “he wears this dress better than any of u nappy ass heauxz,” a clear reference to Owens, the most notable critic of Styles’ style selection.
Cyrus quickly apologized, but not to Owens.
“i am mortified that i used a term without knowing the context and history, but i know now and i am horrified and truly sorry. i will never use it again,” she wrote on her Instagram Story Thursday.
And that is the end of the Cyrus news cycle. No calls to strip her of any possible Grammy. Al Sharpton isn’t working the media circuit finger wagging at the damage caused by her comments.
Owens is a black conservative. Therefore any attack on her isn’t considered important enough to summon the Cancel Culture mob. Just ask the stars of the recent documentary, “Uncle Tom.” The film features black conservatives, including Owens, who detail the horrible names they’re called by progressives, sans blowback.
It’s why feminists never rallied to First Lady Melania Trump’s side after a wave of sexist attacks against her.
It’s similar to how Jimmy Kimmel got a pass for his racist, and sexist comedy bits of yore. He’s a hard-charging liberal now, and he uses his ABC talk show to smite the Right at every occasion. The same is true for Imus’ decades-long rival, Howard Stern.
Need proof that Cyrus’ emerged from her scandal without a whiff of punishment?
Her news story is already gone from the headlines. Here’s a Forbes.com glowing Q&A with Cyrus published today that doesn’t even mention the racial comments.
If Cancel Culture worked as its proponents claim, Cyrus’ nightmare would only be beginning. She might lose her record contract and related gigs, a professional punishment in the Imus mold.
Cyrus isn’t the only one who escaped Cancel Culture’s clutches this month.
“Black Panther” standout Letitia Wright served up a heaping helping of “problematic” fare via social media a few days back. The actress shared a video clip featuring doubts about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines. The host behind the videos is known for comments deemed “transphobic.”
The British star took down the tweet and wrote, “My intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else.”
She added, “If you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself.[emphasis added]…you get cancelled.”
She’s partially right.
It’s worth noting that wasn’t exactly an apology. It’s certainly less contrite than what Cyrus and Imus offered up. And while Wright name-checked Cancel Culture she hasn’t suffered any direct “cancellations” yet.
It likely won’t happen.
The imbroglio took place a week ago, and no one has come forward to cancel her current or upcoming gigs. According to IMDB.com, the charismatic Wright will soon appear in two new projects as well as “Death on the Nile,” temporarily shelved by the pandemic.
That’s not how Cancel Culture typically works, though. Consider these two, high-profile examples.
Kevin Hart previously apologized for his past insensitive jokes about gay people, and he still lost the Oscar hosting gig. Roseanne Barr immediately apologized for her racist Tweet against Valerie Jarrett, explaining she didn’t realize the Obama adviser was black. Barr still lost her signature show.
For Hart and Barr apologies didn’t matter. Cancel Culture came for them. For Cyrus and Wright, incomplete apologies were more than sufficient.
Confused? You shouldn’t be.
Cancel Culture is about power, not creating a kinder, more just society.