Setting aside what the individual signatories may or may not have said, is cancel culture a real phenomenon? Twitter lynch mobs are certainly real but what do the signatories want?
They say 'robust counter-speech' is acceptable but if someone says something that really is racist, transphobic etc when taken in context and given the history of their comments on the subject, what is the best way to deal with them?
Should their range of influence be taken into account? (ie, if they have millions of followers)
Are they just looking for licence to express whatever they want under the cover of 'open debate'?
When does freedom of expression become hate speech or propaganda?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-53330105Some 150 writers, academics and activists - including authors JK Rowling, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood - have signed an open letter denouncing so-called cancel culture.
They say they applaud a recent "needed reckoning" on racial justice, but argue it has fuelled stifling of open debate.
The letter denounces "a vogue for public shaming and ostracism" and "a blinding moral certainty". It adds: "We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences." It also says: "We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters.
"But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought."