“I'm boycotting so many things, I'm running out of things to boycott,” a Newsmax guest said Friday morning in a segment accompanied by the chyron, “Critics rip ‘Barbie’ as ‘anti-man.’” It’s no wonder if a little boycott fatigue is setting in on the right when you consider the cancellation binge they’ve been on in recent months.
“Barbie” is the target of a Fox News tantrum thanks to its subversive gender politics—words I still cannot believe I’m typing—and the casting of a trans actress as a doctor Barbie. Ben “how did this loser get to be anyone’s thought leader anyway?” Shapiro is busy whipping up anti-”Barbie” sentiment. And even if one of the guests wasn’t fully on board, Newsmax is obviously committed to the bit as well. These are all the very same people who scream about “cancel culture” any time the expression of racism or assorted other bigotry leads to the mildest consequences for one of their own, centering their politics around canceling commercial products whenever there’s a lull in their ability to come up with new attacks on Hunter Biden.
On Wednesday and Thursday “Barbie” took in the highest preview box office numbers of any movie in 2023, so it doesn’t seem like the attempt to keep audiences away is working. If its box office fulfills that early promise, “Barbie” will make the top five movies of 2023 so far, joining another target of right-wing backlash, “The Little Mermaid,” currently at number four for the year after it was the subject of racist attacks for its casting of Black actress Halle Bailey as Ariel.
But “Barbie” and “The Little Mermaid” are just the tip of the noxious iceberg. Things really heated up this spring when Bud Light did a minor social media promotion with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The right lost it, with Kid Rock shooting up cases of beer and Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn calling for an investigation. (Again, into a social media promotion by a brand.) Calls for a boycott did have an impact on Bud Light sales, emboldening the right-wing cancel culture brigade.
Their ongoing campaign to drive LGBTQ+ people, especially trans people, from public life then turned to Target over its Pride month displays, and Target emboldened the bullying bigots by moving some Pride displays, though the company claimed it wasn’t a repudiation of Pride but an effort to protect staff from attacks by people outraged at seeing some rainbow products.
By now the list of companies facing boycotts (or at least sustained whining on social media) over their alleged “wokeness” has expanded to include, at least briefly, just about any company that even mentioned Pride or has a corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion policy. Even longtime right-wing favorite Chick-fil-A has done its time in the barrel.
These cancellation efforts can be unfocused, to say the least. There was an attempt to boycott country superstar Garth Brooks after he said his bar would serve Bud Light. That effort fizzled, but now Brooks is once again facing a right-wing social media cancellation effort after he and fellow country music star wife Trisha Yearwood urged fans to donate to help Ukrainian refugees. (These people would also like to cancel Ukraine. They’re kind of like Vladimir Putin in that regard.)
To borrow from “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Movie,” another film Ben Shapiro was publicly angry about:
What other cancellation efforts by the anti-cancel culture crowd should we be talking about?
Sign the petition: Corporations, don’t cave to bigotry. We won’t forget.