Tag Archives: Criticizing

Writers, academics sign open letter criticizing ‘ideological conformity,’ cancel culture

Dozens of artists, writers and academics have signed an open letter decrying the weakening of public debate and warning that the free exchange of information and ideas is in jeopardy amid a rise in what they call “illiberalism.”

J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood are among dozens of writers, artists and academics to argue against ideological conformity in an open letter in Harper’s Magazine.

The names hail from a host of different sectors, from cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky to activist Gloria Steinem, jazz great Wynton Marsalis to chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Academics on the list of more than 150 signatories hail from American universities such as Princeton, Yale, Harvard Law, Brown, Rutgers and more.

In addition to Atwood, other Canadian signatories include political pundit David Frum, longtime New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell, former federal Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff and literary critic and writer Jeet Heer.

The letter comes amid a debate over so-called cancel culture — where prominent people face attack for sharing controversial opinions.

“The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy,” the letter said.

“But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.”

Rowling, for example, has attracted criticism over her views on transgender issues, which have angered many activists. In a series of tweets, Rowling said she supported transgender rights but did not believe in “erasing” the concept of biological sex.

The comments prompted Daniel Radcliffe and other cast members of the Potter films to publicly disagree with her. Rowling was unmoved, but has been trading barbs with critics online.

The letter criticized the state of public debate and the “swift and severe retribution” dealt out to any perceived wrongs. It decried an “intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

“The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away,” the letter said. “We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other.

Heated debate online

The letter garnered pushback and has sparked heated debate since being posted Tuesday by Harper’s and circulated by a number of the signatories on social media.

Critics have pointed out that some of those who signed have engaged in the same toxic behaviour they decry in the letter. Others cited the disconnect over signatories holding such prominence, positions of power and with large public platforms complaining about having their speech stifled. 



Historian Kerri Greenidge, who was listed among the original signatories, said she did not endorse the letter and asked for a retraction. A writer on the list, Jennifer Finney Boylan, apologized for her participation, saying she thought she was “endorsing a well meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming” and was not aware of the full list of signatories.


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MLS fines Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore for criticizing referees

Major League Soccer has fined Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore for his criticism of on-field officials.

Altidore did not mince words over a non-call when Toronto’s Ayo Akinola was bodychecked to the ground in the D.C. United penalty box in a 1-1 tie June 30.

“MLS refs are some of the worst in the world. Absolutely horrible,”‘ the star striker, then in Philadelphia for the U.S. quarter-final clash with Curacao at the Gold Cup, tweeted to his 914,000 followers.

On Tuesday, the league said Altidore had been fined an undisclosed amount.

“These comments are in violation of the league’s public criticism policy,” the league said in a statement.

Altidore’s tweet had not been taken down when the league statement came out.


Also Monday, the league handed an additional game suspension and undisclosed fine to D.C. United forward Luciano Acosta for violent conduct during the 71st minute of D.C.’s match against FC Dallas on July 4.

Acosta was red-carded on the play.

New England Revolution midfielder Wilfried Zahibo and Portland Timbers defender Julio Cascante were each given an undisclosed fine for failing to leave the field in a timely manner following red cards against D.C. United and Colorado, respectively.

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Armie Hammer Apologizes for Criticizing Fans Posting Stan Lee Selfies After His Death

Armie Hammer has posted an apology on social media after he criticized people posting selfies with Stan Lee following the icon’s death on Monday.

“While attempting to provide some unnecessary social commentary about the current selfie trend, I (in true asshat form – thank you Jeffrey Dean Morgan) inadvertently offended many who were genuinely grieving the loss of a true icon,” Hammer tweeted on Thursday. “I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart and will be working on my Twitter impulse control.”

Several celebrities including Hugh Jackman and Chris Pratt posted photos with Lee on social media after hearing the sad news that the comic book legend had died at the age of 95.

However, Hammer wasn’t impressed.

“So touched by all of the celebrities posting pictures of themselves with Stan Lee,” he wrote on Wednesday, in a tweet which has since been deleted. “No better way to commemorate an absolute legend than putting up a picture of yourself.”

When one user suggested people were posting photos to remember “how it felt to meet him,” Hammer suggested doing so “makes his death about you.”

“If Stan impacted your life (ie. All of our lives) with his work, post his work that touched you the most,” he responded. “Posting a selfie makes his death about you and how cool you felt taking a picture with him.”

The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan also took to Twitter to call Hammer out on his remarks.

“Looks like you found a way to use others ways of mourning and their memories to draw some attention to yourself,” he wrote, later deleting the tweet.

See more on Lee’s death below.

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Ariana Grande Responds to Those Criticizing Her and Justin Bieber's Quick Engagements

Hey, when you know, you know, right?!

Ariana Grande is defending Justin Bieber’s shocking engagement to Hailey Baldwin, as well her own whirlwind engagement to fiance Pete Davidson. The 25-year-old songstress took to Twitter soon after reports surfaced on Sunday that Bieber had popped the question to offer a rebuke to critics claiming both she and Bieber are rushing to the altar.

This tweet is in response to a particular fan’s post which referenced Scooter Braun, who is both Ariana and Justin’s manager. “First Ariana get engaged to Pete Davidson and now Justin Bieber to Hailey Baldwin the devil works hard but Scooter Braun works harder,” the fan wrote in a now-deleted tweet.

“You do realize we are human beings who love and have lives …… right …. ? And that Scooter [Braun] is a wonderful human being too who cares first [and] foremost [about] our health and happiness?” Grande responded in a since-deleted tweet. “Love is lit. Sh*t happens. I hope to God it happens to you too. [You] deserve it.”

Bieber reportedly proposed to Baldwin on Saturday night during a vacation to the Bahamas. He got down on knee at their resort’s restaurant, where everyone in attendance witnessed the big moment.

On Sunday, both of Bieber’s parents, Jeremy Bieber and Patti Mallette, offered social media posts seemingly in response to the engagement. “Love Love Love Love Love Love Love,” his mother tweeted. Meanwhile, the elder Bieber shared a photo of Justin watching a sunset over the ocean with this telling caption: “@justinbieber Proud is an understatement! Excited for the next chapter!”

Get more Bieber news in the video below.

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