Two weeks ago, a University of Iowa student fell victim to cancel culture.
Carson King went viral for holding up a sign during ESPN’s “College GameDay” that read “Busch Light supply needs replenished,” along with his Venmo username. When people decided to actually send him money, he then donated the money to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
A reporter at the Des Moines Register was assigned to write a piece about King, and he found a few of the 24-year-old’s tweets from when he was 16, which included racist speech. The reporter wrote about it, and readers were upset – but not entirely at the boy.
Yes, a racist post made eight years ago is still a racist post, and there’s no excuse for that. But from a journalistic perspective, the tweets didn’t even pertain to the initial story.
A college kid – we don’t have to remind you how broke college kids are – got sent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and he chose to donate it to a children’s hospital. Busch Light matched his donations. That’s the news.
The news is that because a man did a good deed, more than a million dollars was donated to a children’s hospital.
His past doesn’t matter in this story. He’s not becoming CEO of a major company or gaining any authority over people. He’s just donating money.
Cancel culture has been easing into social media for the past few years, and it can be exhausting to follow.
You might really like a politician or a celebrity, but you can bet there’s an article or a tweet out there telling the world all the bad things they’ve ever done. And while you’d like to know the values of the people you’re supporting, you also have to keep in mind that everyone is going to have baggage.
People can learn from their past mistakes. Just because the student made a racist comment as a kid doesn’t mean he still has those views, nor does it affect the fact that he donated the money.
The kicker was that after the article was published, people online dug up offensive material the reporter himself had previously posted.
The moral of the story is that everyone has skeletons in the closet. People have to learn that just because what you put on the internet will be accessible for a very long time doesn’t mean that we have to dig up old posts. Especially don’t be accusatory when you’re no better yourself.