When political data scientist David Shor got fired for sharing research that found peaceful protests were more politically effective than violent protests, a skilled manual laborer in the Mountain West had an idea: Why not create a database of so-called cancelations?
Over the next several months he started researching documented instances of cancel culture across the world and soliciting submissions. His project, CanceledPeople.org (and .com), is approaching 200 listings from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Indonesia and Australia.
The website got a boost of attention earlier this month when Christina Hoff Sommers, the American Enterprise Institute scholar and “Factual Feminist” YouTube host, tweeted about the “well-sourced database” of cancelations.
In an interview with Just the News, the creator pulled back the veil on the project. (He declined to identify himself, except for his geography and field of work, but he did provide screenshots of account records verifying his ownership and operation of the site.)
“Canceled People is not part of a larger organization,” he wrote in an email last week. “It’s really just a part-time project of mine, with my girlfriend helping out occasionally.” Neither is an academic, as might be guessed from the project’s research protocols, which lay out the rules for adding and removing people from public view.
The tweet by Sommers triggered 75 submissions, which each take 20-30 minutes to review, the creator said.
“Usually it’s fairly clear whether or not they belong there, but some cases are tough,” he said. “It would be good to have a panel of experts to discuss and vote on those cases.”
The website’s About page says its purpose is “to better understand cancel culture itself as a phenomenon,” including how it’s affecting “societal norms around free speech that enable democracy to function and flourish.” CanceledPeople.org is intended as a resource especially for researchers to “explore and draw their own conclusions.”