Right-leaning author, lawyer, and journalist Mike Cernovich addressed “cancel culture” in an open letter to Aaron Calvin, the former Des Moines Register reporter who was fired after old tweets surfaced which showed him using vulgar language.
Before addressing the letter, here’s the brief backstory: Carson King is a 24-year-old Iowan whose sign asking for beer money made “College GameDay,” a popular college football show. King used the spotlight to raise over one million dollars, which he donated to Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Soon after, Calvin dug up old tweets of King’s, which did not portray the young man in a positive light. His editors at The Register approved a story on the tweets, and King was forced to end his charity work and apologize for the tweets that were years old. In today’s terms, he was “cancelled.”
The outrage mob soon came for Calvin, though. They dug up old tweets of his, which were similar in nature to those written by King. In what most in politics viewed as a sort of vigilante justice, Calvin was fired from The Register.
The whole affair was a clown show of attempted life destruction of two young men who tweeted some crass things years ago, and were drummed out of the public square for it. Politics is often vicious like that.
Enter Cernovich, whose open letter recognized that Calvin had engaged in “cancel culture,” thus making himself part of the problem, but encouraged him to help be a part of the solution moving forward.
“I feel for you,” Cernovich said. “You may not think so based on my reporting, but you’re in a terrible place. You feel demoralized. You may even feel hopeless. I don’t want you to feel this way, but honesty and personal progress require you to be realistic about your feelings.”
You had a dream to be a journalist, you worked at some smaller jobs, and you were rising up in your career. You were about to live your dream.
Your dream was killed, it’s a miserable feeling. You’re depressed and don’t want to leave bed.
And it’s not really fair what happened to you. You dug for those Tweets, yes (more on that), but your editors put those Tweets in the story. Doesn’t it suck that you are the one with your name out there, but the editors are just editors? No one knows who they are. Even now, your editors are lying on social media about their own role in the Carson King scandal.
Yes there is a sort of karmic justice to what happened to you. I’ve done my research on you. You’re from the HuffPo/Daily Beast / Brooklyn school of “journalist as social activist.” Your peers want to ruin lives, to destroy people, to show no mercy. You think this is War and you want to hurt people. You also believe you’re immune from any scrutiny for your own actions.
From there, Cernovich encouraged Calvin not to give up, but to recognize that “cancel culture” is destructive.
“DO NOT QUIT. Do not give up. There are people who still love you, and even people like me who don’t love you do want to see you move on with your life,” he said. “You now see that no one wins in Cancel Culture. Everyone has made bad jokes or slipped up. It’s human nature. What happens next is what matters most.”
Cernovich advised Calvin to begin a gratitude journal, and to write down things that he is thankful for each day. He also advised Calvin to accept his role in promoting the “cancel culture” which has hurt so many people, and to help be a part of the solution.
I wish we lived in a more forgiving society where you could find a new job after a few weeks. I wish we lived in a world where one Google result didn’t end your life.
We don’t live in that world, and you need to own your own responsibility for creating the world that you now live in personally.
Today or tomorrow or next week (it’s going to take some time), you can start building a world where redemption exists. If for no other reason than for your own sake.
Feel free to reach out to me anytime, I’m glad to talk off the record with you.