Few things are more pathetic than public figures who grovel in front of woke bullies for uttering the “wrong” word or idea.
Who remembers how a June 3, 2020, op-ed by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton in the New York Times during the George Floyd riots (“Send in the Troops”) led to the resignation of opinion editor James Bennet? One day earlier, the top editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stan Wischnowski, resigned as a result of backlash over the headline “Buildings Matter, Too,” which was about buildings destroyed in the riots.
Still, these five public figures refused to cave.
Emboldened by other newsroom uprisings, 280 employees of the Wall Street Journal complained in a July 2020 letter to publisher Almar Latour about conservative opinion pieces. A June 2 op-ed titled, “The Myth of Systematic Police Racism,” following the George Floyd riots, for example, was “misinformation about racism” and failed to support “employees of color,” charged the letter. Nor did letter writers approve of a Mike Pence piece.
Days later, in a “Note to Readers,” the WSJ editorial board declared that its pages wouldn’t “wilt under cancel-culture pressure,” and will continue to resist “a culture of growing progressive conformity and intolerance.” Moreover, the “anxieties” of the letter signers “aren’t our responsibility,” wrote the board. Take that!
In April 2021, Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp refused to cancel a two-book contract with former Vice President Mike Pence despite an intersectionality-laden letter from S&S employees charging Pence with “racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, misogyny, ableism, islamophobia, antisemitism, and violence.” The letter says that “BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, disabled, neurodivergent, [and] immigrant [and] working class employees” were threatened by Pence’s book, and so were “pregnant people.” Was anyone left out?
Karp also did not cave. “The former vice president who got 74 million votes is representative of a broad range of people,” he responded, adding that cancellation “runs counter” to Simon & Schuster’s mission of publishing “a diversity of voices and perspectives.”
Morton Schapiro, who has been president of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, since 2009, has also refused to cave to activists. A petition released on June 3, 2020, by several student groups after the Floyd riots called on Schapiro and other university administrators to “defund and disband the Northwestern University Police Department” and sever ties with the Chicago and Evanston police departments “in line with the ongoing work of Blacks, cis, trans, and queer youth organizers.”
In October, after “defund” activists started fires, broke windows, and amassed at his home, Schapiro said Northwestern had “absolutely no intention” to abolish its police force, condemned the demonstrators’ “menace,” and questioned whether some were even students or were outside activists.
Schapiro also called out apparent anti-Semitism behind the demonstrators’ epithet “piggy Morty” — as did the Jerusalem Post. Ignoring calls to resign, Schapiro announced his resignation would occur in August 2022, as agreed upon “years ago.”
When it comes to questioning the transgender agenda, few public figures have been as outspoken as Harry Potter icon J. K. Rowling. After supporting Maya Forstater, a British researcher fired for “transphobic” tweets in 2018, Rowling became a poster child for bullying by trans activists.
Amid threats and insults, Rowling was dubbed a “TERF” — Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist — and canceled by “people, institutions and organisations I once admired,” she wrote. One of the most hurtful denunciations, she said, was from Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, which had awarded Rowling a Ripple of Hope Award in 2019. After Kennedy wrote that Rowling’s views diminished “the identity of trans and nonbinary people, undermining the validity and integrity of the entire transgender community,” Rowling returned the award.
Meanwhile, Rowling’s home address was posted on Twitter in November 2021, as the bullying continues.
The 1978 musical movie Grease, starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, immortalized youth culture of the 1950s. But when Grease was shown on the BBC in 2020, it provoked a woke Twitter storm charging the movie with misogyny, racism, and homophobia. Grease had been similarly slammed for supposed sexist gender roles in 2014.
Newton-John refused to apologize for the movie. “It was a stage play,” she said. “It’s fun.” Regarding the alleged “sexism” inherent in Newton-John’s character changing to nab Travolta’s, she said, “There’s nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement.”
Britain’s Piers Morgan also defended Grease, saying those calling for banning the movie should be banned.
While many public figures have groveled at the feet of the woke and accepted their cancellation, these five people have stood tall. Let’s be inspired by these brave figures to speak out and fight mob rule.