Engaging Culture

A Lesson for Dealing with Cancel Culture Accusations

You’ve probably heard about the Progressive push to boycott Hyatt Hotels because of their hosting the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The Left is apparently infuriated that Hyatt allowed CPAC to use one of their hotels to host ‘neo-Nazis.’ But as far as these “protests” go, get in line. From Amazon censoring conservative books or universities “de-inviting” conservative or faith-based speakers, this is comes in a long line of “cancel culture” outrage. 

Whether it’s becoming a long term problem or is just another fad we can’t know right now. But in the short term, how do leaders of companies, educational institutions, or nonprofits respond when attacked by these far-left accusations?

To their credit, Hyatt Hotels defended its decision to host the event with a textbook answer – and it’s a good model for other leaders to follow.  In essence, they simply used the attacker’s own rhetoric in responding back to their accusations. A spokesperson for Hyatt told FOX Business in an emailed statement that its primary goal was to provide a safe and inclusive environment for its colleagues, guests, and customers. Here’s part of the statement:

“We take pride in operating a highly inclusive environment and we believe that the facilitation of gatherings is a central element of what we do as a hospitality company,” the spokesperson said. “We believe in the right of individuals and organizations to peacefully express their views, independent of the degree to which the perspectives of those hosting meetings and events at our hotels align with ours. Our own values support a culture that is characterized by empathy, respect and diversity of opinions and backgrounds, and we strive to bring this to light through what we do and how we engage with those in our care.”

They simply used their own terminology and pat phrases against them. It’s a terrific lesson for leaders of other organizations who become under fire in the cancel culture environment we live in today.

As we’ve seen with the New York Times, and other organizations, business, academic, and nonprofit leaders who cave to the mob, eventually get eaten as well.  But leaders who have the courage to stand by their convictions and express those convictions in a compelling way with grace, will be the ones I’ll be supporting.  

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  1. There are elements of our ‘culture’ – racism, xenophobia, nationalism, misogyny, classism – that are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught us and need to be canceled, Phil. While there are certainly left leaning people who want to boycott everything they don’t agree with, there is also a concerted effort on the right to maintain the status quo and keep good ole boy power structures in place by labeling every challenge to their evil doings as ‘cancel culture.’ America has still not lived up to her creed – you know that part about all men being created equal and endued with those inalienable rights from their Creator? – and too often folks use CC as a way to avoid accountability, deflect from their hateful deeds, and mask their true intentions, which is to keep a firm grip on power, period. I cannot in good conscience let this piece go by without reminding you of the fact that a typical black family in America has 7% of the wealth of a similarly situated (comparable city, education, skill set, marital status, etc.) white family, regardless of faith tradition. The economic disparities along racial lines in our nation did not create themselves, nor can the negative stereotypes assigned to minorities for generations be used to explain them away…they are the direct downstream byproducts of some of the stuff that SHOULD be canceled in our world. And oh, by the way…there are ‘liberal’ people who love God, too…the GOP/conservative agenda should not be confused with the mind of Christ, as they are vastly different…Jesus would certainly not approve…

    1. Thanks for your response, and I appreciate you taking the time. This issue is FAR bigger than black/white, and my position is that the best way to overcome BAD speech is more GOOD speech. Canceling doesn’t solve anything, in fact it makes it worse. And who exactly gets to decide who and what gets cancelled? Are you OK with Amazon cancelling books by Christians and conservatives? Twitter cancelling voices it doesn’t like? I just finished reading a massive biography of Hitler’s propaganda minister, and “cancelling” was a major part of their strategy to silence the Church. And Antonio Gramsci, a co-founder of the Italian Communist Party, wrote that to capture power you don’t need an armed revolution, you simply need to undermine the existing culture. That’s exactly what cancelling does…

      1. Im ok with none of the above. My issue is with ‘Cancel culture’ becoming the wide-ranging, catchall excuse for people behaving badly who don’t want to be called out for it. #ThatIsAll

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