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Cancel Culture — A Serious PR Problem

If we lose business integrity, we lose business, period.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

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Cancel cul­ture is fast becom­ing a ser­i­ous PR problem.

We cel­eb­rate diversity in the work­place but don’t encour­age diversity in thoughts, opin­ions, or sense of humour.

Recently, three Red Bull employ­ees got can­celled.
Based on hav­ing made a joke dur­ing a mar­ket­ing meeting.

And Red Bull is being accused of being a racist company.

Here we go:

Freedom of Opinion Is Fundamental

Erich Lüth, a Hamburg-based pub­li­cist act­ive in the mid-20th cen­tury, garnered nation­al recog­ni­tion in 1950 with his call for a boy­cott. His cam­paign brought renewed atten­tion to film­maker Veit Harlan’s involve­ment with National Socialism, high­light­ing Harlan’s past as a Nazi-affil­i­ated dir­ect­or respons­ible for the vehe­mently anti-Semitic film Jud Süß (1940). 1Jud Süß. (2023, November 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jud_S%C3%BC%C3%9F

Lüth urged the pub­lic to avoid Harlan’s post-war film, Immortal Lover (1951), in a newly demo­crat­ic Germany that seem­ingly over­looked Harlan’s notori­ous his­tory. This protest led Harlan’s pro­duc­tion com­pany to seek a leg­al injunc­tion against Lüth’s pub­lic statements. 

The ensu­ing leg­al battle ascen­ded to the Federal Constitutional Court, cul­min­at­ing in the land­mark Lüth rul­ing of 1958, which sided with Lüth by cit­ing Article 5 of the German con­sti­tu­tion, under­scor­ing the fun­da­ment­al right to free­dom of opinion.

The Lüth rul­ing of 1958 reminds me of this quote:

I dis­ap­prove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
— Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends of Voltaire 2Evelyn Beatrice Hall. (2023, November 19). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​E​v​e​l​y​n​_​B​e​a​t​r​i​c​e​_​H​all

Red Bull and the Inappropriate Joke

From 1958 in Germany, we fast-for­ward to a mar­ket­ing meet­ing at Red Bull in the US:

A Red Bull employ­ee showed a world map car­toon mak­ing fun of the ste­reo­typ­ic­al US-cent­ric worldview:

Red Bull leaked world map joke
It’s not my type of humour, but it’s also not a cor­por­ate mes­sage to pro­mote racism.

Then, the joke was leaked and woke journ­al­ism took over the narrative. 

This happened after an attempt to force the brand’s CSR strategy regard­ing the Black Lives Matter move­ment by cir­cu­lat­ing an online peti­tion amongst Red Bull employees.

As a res­ult, three high-level exec­ut­ives got fired — loudly accom­pan­ied by grand­stand­ing media insinu­ations of Red Bull being a racist brand. 3As PR pro­fes­sion­als, we should know as much from media train­ing — just because someone with an oppos­ing agenda implies that you’re some­thing you’re not, you must nev­er accept the implic­a­tion.

In post-war Germany, they under­stood the import­ance of safe­guard­ing free­dom of speech — even when faced with anti-Semitism. 

Today, we’re pre­pared to des­troy lives based on offens­ive jokes. 

Whistleblowing — Or Bad Faith Acting

A whis­tleblower (also writ­ten as whistle-blower or whistle blower) is a per­son who exposes secret­ive inform­a­tion or activ­ity with­in a private or pub­lic organ­isa­tion that is deemed illeg­al, uneth­ic­al, or not cor­rect. The inform­a­tion of alleged wrong­do­ing can be clas­si­fied in many ways: viol­a­tion of com­pany policy/​rules, law, reg­u­la­tion, or threat to pub­lic interest/​national secur­ity, as well as fraud, and cor­rup­tion.”
Source: Wikipedia 4Whistleblowing. (2023, November 10). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​W​h​i​s​t​l​e​b​l​o​w​ing

Note that mis­rep­res­ent­ing the inten­tion of a joke or driv­ing a per­son­al act­iv­ist agenda doesn’t fall under the defin­i­tion of a whis­tleblower. Red Bull could fire the per­son who leaked the joke since they acted in bad faith to hurt the com­pany or its employees. 

Spreading mis­rep­res­ent­a­tions and lob­by­ing against an employer’s busi­ness strategy are reas­on­able grounds for ter­min­a­tion — and should not be con­fused with whistleblowing. 

Businesses Aren’t Evil by Default

There’s an entitled belief held by what seems to be a grow­ing num­ber of people in the com­mu­nic­a­tions industry that the PR func­tion should be serving as the organisation’s guilty con­science. 5This belief stems from a romantic idea that cap­it­al­ism is evil and that PR (maybe via CSR?) should bal­ance this inher­ent malice.

This is an ideo­lo­gic­al per­spect­ive, not a pro­fes­sion­al one.
Individual social act­iv­ism mat­ters, but busi­ness must come first.

The PR func­tion has one single pur­pose: to serve a stra­tegic object­ive. In busi­ness, that object­ive is to gen­er­ate profit. Such com­merce gen­er­ates tax incomes for the state, jobs for its cit­izens, and soci­et­al pro­gress through innovation. 

And this is how PR gen­er­ates value in soci­ety, too.

CSR Must Be Strategic and Focused

Red Bull, for instance, has a long his­tory of sup­port­ing extreme sports, and many of these activ­it­ies have Red Bull to thank for devel­op­ing into pro­fes­sion­al elites in their own right — and even Olympic sports in some cases. 

Supporting the extreme sports com­munity has been a stra­tegic­ally valu­able and focused approach for the brand.

For CSR activ­it­ies to be serving busi­ness object­ives, any such activ­it­ies must be a) stra­tegic and b) focused.

Applying a clear and stra­tegic­ally lim­ited focus on com­mu­nic­a­tion isn’t “evil”. And it indeed doesn’t imply bigotry or aggres­sion in spe­cif­ic cases where the brand isn’t “being vocal enough.”

Integrity Instead of Grandstanding

Any PR adviser who demands that brands, in gen­er­al, are mor­ally respons­ible for sid­ing with loud online lynch mobs and brand­callers has ser­i­ously mis­un­der­stood the pur­pose of the PR func­tion — and busi­ness as well. 

The solu­tion is busi­ness integ­rity, not giv­ing in to those who want to con­trol your agenda. 6Shuraeva, L., & Korinets, A. (2023). Social effect of “can­cel cul­ture” on the digit­al envir­on­ment: the case of gen­er­a­tions Y and Z. Vestnik Universiteta. … Continue read­ing

As a cham­pi­on for focused and stra­tegic­ally lim­ited com­mu­nic­a­tion, the PR professional’s job is to assist the brand in stand­ing up for itself.

Not to side with online lynch mobs.

Because a brand with integ­rity isn’t ashamed of being in busi­ness, it isn’t ashamed of provid­ing out­stand­ing products and ser­vices at great prices. It isn’t ashamed to provide tax income for the state and pro­duce jobs for people. It isn’t ashamed of driv­ing soci­ety for­ward through innov­a­tion, fin­an­cial risk-tak­ing, and hard work. 7Actually, I pro­mote a Stoic approach to pub­lic rela­tions. A busi­ness should strive for recog­ni­tion through dig­nity by endur­ing the path of the obstacle.

In the case of Red Bull, the brand is mak­ing stra­tegic and focused CSR con­tri­bu­tions to the extreme sports movement. 

Red Bull isn’t a cau­tion­ary tale; they’re a best-prac­tice case study.

Few things in busi­ness make me sick­er to the stom­ach than when com­mu­nic­at­ors are sham­ing innov­at­ors, entre­pren­eurs, and fin­an­cial risk-takers for not being woke enough.

Cancel Culture = Bad-Faith Capitalism

Cancel cul­ture may lead to share­hold­er law­suits for breach of fidu­ciary duty, poten­tially redu­cing cor­por­ate profits.”
Source: Social Science Research Network 8McGee, R. (2021). Cancel Culture, Breach of Fiduciary Responsibility & Shareholder Lawsuits. Social Science Research Network. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​2​1​3​9​/​S​S​R​N​.​3​7​7​5​117

As PR pro­fes­sion­als, we know that the news media can some­times become an unreas­on­able machine set to des­troy busi­nesses and indi­vidu­als without a fair tri­al. Our job is to pre­pare and pro­tect our brands from online lynch mobs. 

Today, there is a whole new set of lynch mobs to account for: 

Online act­iv­ists use secret social media groups to drive de-plat­form­ing activ­it­ies and impose can­cel cul­ture. They use delib­er­ate mis­in­ter­pret­a­tion, calls for boy­cotts, card-stack­ing, cherry-pick­ing, and guilt-by-silence to coerce brands into sub­mis­sion. 9Silfwer, J. (2020, June 9). How to Speak with Social Activists. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​s​o​c​i​a​l​-​a​c​t​i​v​i​s​ts/

The beha­viour amp­li­fies polar­isa­tion by cre­at­ing extremes of iden­tity polit­ics on both sides. This devel­op­ment is rap­idly becom­ing more chal­len­ging to PR than the struggle of adapt­ing to a digit­al soci­ety. 10Santos, E. (2020). The Internet and Cancellation Culture: The Impact of the Public Opinion on the Exercise of the Individual Right to Freedom of Expression. Annals of Bioethics & Clinical … Continue read­ing

If com­mer­cial com­mu­nic­a­tions depart­ments accept the woke nar­rat­ive without ques­tion, our pro­fes­sion becomes a can­cer­ous and destruct­ive anti-cap­it­al­ist­ic force from within. 

Piggybacking on polit­ic­al move­ments can be a viable PR strategy — if such a strategy makes busi­ness sense. 11Unfocused cor­por­ate cul­tur­al appro­pri­ation is not a “safe” brand strategy. Several big-name brands have got­ten into ser­i­ous trouble by shame­lessly piggy­back­ing on the social justice agenda.

Consider this:

  • A truly diverse organ­isa­tion allows employ­ees of dif­fer­ent polit­ic­al per­sua­sions to work side-by-side towards a com­mon busi­ness goal.

Providing stable employ­ment and salar­ies through innov­a­tion, col­lab­or­a­tion, and hard work will always be the best cata­lyst for civil soci­ety to engage in social causes in their spare time — how it ought to be.

And while some busi­nesses are out of touch with their com­munit­ies, Red Bull surely doesn’t fall under that category.

Cancel Culture on Social Media

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Cancel Culture and Social Media

Cancel cul­ture on social media is a form of pub­lic sham­ing that aims to dif­fuse pub­lic dis­course and pro­mote tol­er­ance, but can also be viewed as a form of intol­er­ance against oppos­ing views.”
Source: Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities 12Velasco, J. (2020). You are Cancelled: Virtual Collective Consciousness and the Emergence of Cancel Culture as Ideological Purging. Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, 12. … Continue read­ing

Cancel cul­ture, de-plat­form­ing, and woke journ­al­ism are becom­ing chal­len­ging PR problems:

Cancel cul­ture or call-out cul­ture is a phrase con­tem­por­ary to the late 2010s and early 2020s used to refer to a form of ostra­cism in which someone is thrust out of social or pro­fes­sion­al circles — wheth­er it be online, on social media, or in per­son. Those sub­ject to this ostra­cism are said to have been ‘can­celled’.”
Source: Wikipedia 13Cancel cul­ture. (2023, January 4). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​a​n​c​e​l​_​c​u​l​t​ure

Public opin­ion often forces brands to de-plat­form indi­vidu­als, part­ner organ­isa­tions, advert­isers, col­lab­or­at­ors, etc.

Deplatforming, also known as no-plat­form­ing, has been defined as an ‘attempt to boy­cott a group or indi­vidu­al through remov­ing the plat­forms (such as speak­ing ven­ues or web­sites) used to share inform­a­tion or ideas, or ‘the action or prac­tice of pre­vent­ing someone hold­ing views regarded as unac­cept­able or offens­ive from con­trib­ut­ing to a for­um or debate, espe­cially by block­ing them on a par­tic­u­lar web­site’.”
Source: Wikipedia 14Deplatforming. (2023, January 8). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​D​e​p​l​a​t​f​o​r​m​ing

Here’s how to nav­ig­ate the mor­al war as a business:

  • Avoid breezy grand­stand­ing. CSR- and ESG activ­it­ies should be laser-focused, clearly defined, and business-relevant.
  • Internally, cel­eb­rate the diversity of thought. Having cowork­ers who think dif­fer­ently is an asset to any busi­ness culture.
  • Don’t let the can­cel cul­ture intim­id­ate you. Protesters are loud and noisy, primar­ily online, but they don’t have the num­bers to match.
  • Direct your resources towards your brand com­munity. Most of your cus­tom­er base will be in the silent major­ity, not in the extremes.

Learn more: How To Navigate Cancel Culture

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Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: The Spiral of Silence

Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann - Spiral of Silence - Doctor Spin - The PR Blog
Professor Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (1916−2010).
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The Spiral of Silence

Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann’s (1916 – 2010) well-doc­u­mented the­ory on the spir­al of silence (1974) explains why the fear of isol­a­tion due to peer exclu­sion will pres­sure pub­lics to silence their opinions.

The the­ory was developed in the late 1970s in West Germany, partly in response to Noelle-Neumann’s obser­va­tions of how pub­lic opin­ion seemed to shift dur­ing the Nazi régime and post-war Germany.

The spir­al of silence the­ory is based on the idea that people fear social isol­a­tion. This fear influ­ences their will­ing­ness to express their opin­ions, espe­cially if they believe these opin­ions are in the minority.

Rather than risk­ing social isol­a­tion, many choose silence over express­ing their opinions.

To the indi­vidu­al, not isol­at­ing him­self is more import­ant than his own judge­ment. […] This is the point where the indi­vidu­al is vul­ner­able; this is where social groups can pun­ish him for fail­ing to toe the line.”
— Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (1916 – 2010)

As the dom­in­ant coali­tion gets to stand unop­posed, they push the con­fines of what’s accept­able down a nar­row­er and nar­row­er fun­nel (see also the Opinion Corridor). 15Opinion cor­ridor. (2023, April 8). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​O​p​i​n​i​o​n​_​c​o​r​r​i​dor

The smart way to keep people pass­ive and obed­i­ent is to strictly lim­it the spec­trum of accept­able opin­ion, but allow very lively debate with­in that spec­trum — even encour­age the more crit­ic­al and dis­sid­ent views. That gives people the sense that there’s free think­ing going on, while all the time the pre­sup­pos­i­tions of the sys­tem are being rein­forced by the lim­its put on the range of the debate.”
— Noam Chomsky

Noelle-Neumann emphas­ised the medi­a’s role in shap­ing pub­lic per­cep­tion of what opin­ions are dom­in­ant or pop­u­lar, thus influ­en­cing the spir­al of silence. 

Populism and Cancel Culture

The mech­an­isms behind Elisabeth Noelle Neumann’s spir­al of silence the­ory could fuel destruct­ive soci­et­al phe­nom­ena like pop­u­lism and can­cel culture:

  • Populism. The spir­al of silence the­ory sug­gests that indi­vidu­als are less likely to express their views if they per­ceive these views to be in the minor­ity or socially unac­cept­able. In the con­text of pop­u­lism, this can lead to a situ­ation where main­stream or mod­er­ate views are under­rep­res­en­ted in pub­lic dis­course, giv­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ate voice and momentum to more extreme, pop­u­list opin­ions that may appear more wide­spread than they are. 16Silfwer, J. (2018, August 6). How To Fight Populism. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​h​o​w​-​t​o​-​f​i​g​h​t​-​p​o​p​u​l​i​sm/
  • Cancel Culture. The spir­al of silence may amp­li­fy can­cel cul­ture by dis­cour­aging indi­vidu­als from speak­ing against or ques­tion­ing the dom­in­ant nar­rat­ive for fear of social ostra­ciz­a­tion or back­lash. This can cre­ate an envir­on­ment where only one view­point is heard or deemed accept­able, and oppos­ing views are silenced, some­times lead­ing to the pub­lic sham­ing or ‘can­cel­la­tion’ of indi­vidu­als who express these con­trary opin­ions. 17Silfwer, J. (2020, August 24). Cancel Culture — A Serious PR Problem. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​c​a​n​c​e​l​-​c​u​l​t​u​re/

In both cases, the spir­al of silence con­trib­utes to a polar­ised envir­on­ment where views become dom­in­ant not neces­sar­ily because they are more pop­u­lar but because oppos­ing views are not expressed due to fear of social isol­a­tion or repercussion.

Learn more: The Spiral of Silence

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PR Resource: The Amplification Hypothesis

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The Amplification Hypothesis

It’s com­mon to find that coun­ter­ar­gu­ments strengthen exist­ing beliefs instead of weak­en­ing them. 

  • The harder you attack someone verbally, the more you con­vince them of their belief, not yours.

The phe­nomen­on is known as the amp­li­fic­a­tion hypo­thes­is, where dis­play­ing cer­tainty about an atti­tude when talk­ing with anoth­er per­son increases and hardens that attitude.

Across exper­i­ments, it is demon­strated that increas­ing atti­tude cer­tainty strengthens atti­tudes (e.g., increases their res­ist­ance to per­sua­sion) when atti­tudes are uni­valent but weak­ens atti­tudes (e.g., decreases their res­ist­ance to per­sua­sion) when atti­tudes are ambi­val­ent. These res­ults are con­sist­ent with the amp­li­fic­a­tion hypo­thes­is.“
Source: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 18Clarkson, J. J., Tormala, Z. L., & Rucker, D. D. (2008). A new look at the con­sequences of atti­tude cer­tainty: The amp­li­fic­a­tion hypo­thes­is. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, … Continue read­ing

How does the amp­li­fic­a­tion hypo­thes­is work? 

In a threat­en­ing situ­ation or emer­gency, we resort to the prim­al (fast­est) part of the brain and sur­viv­al instincts (fight, flight and freeze). 19Surviving the Storm: Understanding the Nature of Attacks held at Animal Care Expo, 2011 in Orlando, FL.

  • Dichotomous think­ing. This think­ing style is at the heart of rad­ic­al move­ments and fun­da­ment­al­ism. Even people who exer­cise abstract think­ing, logic, reas­on, and the abil­ity to recog­nize com­plex issues can resort to this think­ing style when threatened. 20Silfwer, J. (2017, June 13). Conversion Theory — Disproportionate Minority Influence. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​c​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​-​t​h​e​o​ry/
  • Egocentric think­ing. People who demon­strate non-ego­centric think­ing in many areas can also use this think­ing style under stress. When a tar­get is labelled an enemy, cog­nit­ive steps jus­ti­fy viol­ent beha­viour and pre­vent altru­ism and empathy. 21Beck (1999): Homogenization, Dehumanization and Demonization.
  • Distorted think­ing. We tend to ignore details in our envir­on­ments that do not sup­port our think­ing and beliefs. 22Cognitive dis­son­ance. (2023, November 20). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​o​g​n​i​t​i​v​e​_​d​i​s​s​o​n​a​nce

Establishing com­mon ground and exhib­it­ing empathy demon­strates a genu­ine under­stand­ing of their per­spect­ive, fos­ter­ing trust and open­ness to your ideas. Conversely, a stra­tegic mis­match of atti­tudes can serve as a power­ful coun­ter­meas­ure if your object­ive is to deflect per­suas­ive attempts.

Persuade

To per­suade, align your atti­tude with the tar­get. Otherwise, you will only act to cre­ate resistance.

Provoke

To put off a per­suader, mis­match their atti­tudes. When they are logic­al, be emo­tion­al, and vice versa. 

Learn more: The Amplification Hypothesis: How To Counter Extreme Positions

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PR Resource: The Hostile Media Effect

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The Hostile Media Effect

Fake news! Alternative facts! Do you think that the news media is biased against your beliefs? Well, they might be. And they might also not be.

Researchers have found that indi­vidu­als tend to see the news media as biased against them — even when it’s not:

The hos­tile media effect […] is a per­cep­tu­al the­ory of mass com­mu­nic­a­tion that refers to the tend­ency for indi­vidu­als with a strong preex­ist­ing atti­tude on an issue to per­ceive media cov­er­age as biased against their side and in favour of their ant­ag­on­ists’ point of view.”
Source: Wikipedia 23Hostile media effect. (2022, October 25). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​H​o​s​t​i​l​e​_​m​e​d​i​a​_​e​f​f​ect

Are we para­noid? Do we see bias in the news media that isn’t there? In short: Yes.

The hos­tile media effect does­n’t imply that the media is nev­er biased. Still, sci­ence shows that oppos­ing groups often regard the same art­icles as against them and favour their opponents.

The exist­ence of the hos­tile media effect is sci­en­tific­ally well-estab­lished, but we still don’t know pre­cisely why it persists:

The hos­tile media per­cep­tion, the tend­ency for par­tis­ans to judge mass media cov­er­age as unfa­vor­able to their own point of view, has been vividly demon­strated but not well explained. This con­trast bias is intriguing because it appears to con­tra­dict a robust lit­er­at­ure on assim­il­a­tion biases — the tend­ency to find inform­a­tion more sup­port­ive, rather than more opposed, to one’s own pos­i­tion. […] con­tent eval­u­ations based on per­ceived influ­ence on one­self vs influ­ence on a broad­er audi­ence sug­ges­ted that the hos­tile media per­cep­tion may be explained by per­ceived reach of the inform­a­tion source.”
Source: Journal of Communication 24Gunther, A.C. and Schmitt, K. (2004), Mapping Boundaries of the Hostile Media Effect. Journal of Communication, 54: 55 – 70.

Research sug­gests that the primary driver could be fear of oppon­ents gain­ing in strength, and the hos­tile media effect could be seen as a psy­cho­lo­gic­al defence mechanism.

Learn more: The Hostile Media Effect: How We Demonise the News Media

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ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Jud Süß. (2023, November 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jud_S%C3%BC%C3%9F
2 Evelyn Beatrice Hall. (2023, November 19). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​E​v​e​l​y​n​_​B​e​a​t​r​i​c​e​_​H​all
3 As PR pro­fes­sion­als, we should know as much from media train­ing — just because someone with an oppos­ing agenda implies that you’re some­thing you’re not, you must nev­er accept the implication.
4 Whistleblowing. (2023, November 10). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​W​h​i​s​t​l​e​b​l​o​w​ing
5 This belief stems from a romantic idea that cap­it­al­ism is evil and that PR (maybe via CSR?) should bal­ance this inher­ent malice.
6 Shuraeva, L., & Korinets, A. (2023). Social effect of “can­cel cul­ture” on the digit­al envir­on­ment: the case of gen­er­a­tions Y and Z. Vestnik Universiteta. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​2​6​4​2​5​/​1​816 – 4277-2022 – 12-248 – 256
7 Actually, I pro­mote a Stoic approach to pub­lic rela­tions. A busi­ness should strive for recog­ni­tion through dig­nity by endur­ing the path of the obstacle.
8 McGee, R. (2021). Cancel Culture, Breach of Fiduciary Responsibility & Shareholder Lawsuits. Social Science Research Network. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​2​1​3​9​/​S​S​R​N​.​3​7​7​5​117
9 Silfwer, J. (2020, June 9). How to Speak with Social Activists. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​s​o​c​i​a​l​-​a​c​t​i​v​i​s​ts/
10 Santos, E. (2020). The Internet and Cancellation Culture: The Impact of the Public Opinion on the Exercise of the Individual Right to Freedom of Expression. Annals of Bioethics & Clinical Applications, 4. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​2​3​8​8​0​/​A​B​C​A​-​1​6​0​0​0​169
11 Unfocused cor­por­ate cul­tur­al appro­pri­ation is not a “safe” brand strategy. Several big-name brands have got­ten into ser­i­ous trouble by shame­lessly piggy­back­ing on the social justice agenda.
12 Velasco, J. (2020). You are Cancelled: Virtual Collective Consciousness and the Emergence of Cancel Culture as Ideological Purging. Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, 12. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​2​1​6​5​9​/​r​u​p​k​a​t​h​a​.​v​1​2​n​5​.​r​i​o​c​1​s​2​1n2
13 Cancel cul­ture. (2023, January 4). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​a​n​c​e​l​_​c​u​l​t​ure
14 Deplatforming. (2023, January 8). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​D​e​p​l​a​t​f​o​r​m​ing
15 Opinion cor­ridor. (2023, April 8). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​O​p​i​n​i​o​n​_​c​o​r​r​i​dor
16 Silfwer, J. (2018, August 6). How To Fight Populism. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​h​o​w​-​t​o​-​f​i​g​h​t​-​p​o​p​u​l​i​sm/
17 Silfwer, J. (2020, August 24). Cancel Culture — A Serious PR Problem. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​c​a​n​c​e​l​-​c​u​l​t​u​re/
18 Clarkson, J. J., Tormala, Z. L., & Rucker, D. D. (2008). A new look at the con­sequences of atti­tude cer­tainty: The amp­li­fic­a­tion hypo­thes­is. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(4), 810 – 825. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​3​7​/​a​0​0​1​3​192
19 Surviving the Storm: Understanding the Nature of Attacks held at Animal Care Expo, 2011 in Orlando, FL.
20 Silfwer, J. (2017, June 13). Conversion Theory — Disproportionate Minority Influence. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​c​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​-​t​h​e​o​ry/
21 Beck (1999): Homogenization, Dehumanization and Demonization.
22 Cognitive dis­son­ance. (2023, November 20). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​o​g​n​i​t​i​v​e​_​d​i​s​s​o​n​a​nce
23 Hostile media effect. (2022, October 25). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​H​o​s​t​i​l​e​_​m​e​d​i​a​_​e​f​f​ect
24 Gunther, A.C. and Schmitt, K. (2004), Mapping Boundaries of the Hostile Media Effect. Journal of Communication, 54: 55 – 70.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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