Updated: Oct 11
The entertainment industry is once more reeling from the accusations of rape and sexual misconduct being levied against Russel Brand. Brand is a British comedian, actor, and author, who is known to captivate audiences with his unique blend of humor, charisma, and thought-provoking insights.
At the height of his fame Brand admits he was promiscuous but claims he never had sex that wasn't consensual, although that isn't what his initial six accusers are saying. The numbers of accusers who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Brand seem to be increasing everyday. No charges have been brought against him, but in the modern era of social media justice, cancel culture mostly prevails. There lies the question, if high profile individuals accused of sexual crimes escape the law, or are vindicated by it, what will social media justice do? That is the question everyone should be concerned about. There is no way to tell or predict when or if social media justice will bring the axe down on a person or organisation. Social media justice simply has no consistent criteria.
Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R Kelly are some of several celebrities who were not only outed by the Me Too movement for sexual misconduct but also tried in court for their crimes, albeit Bill Cosby's case was thrown out on technicality grounds. The Me Too movement goes on, giving women and men, who were sexually assaulted the platform to finally have a voice and tell their story, irrespective of when the event happened. But does it stop there or is it that simple?
For all the glory of the Me Too movement comes one pitfall, socia media. Without social media, it can be argued that the Me Too movement would never have happened. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but with social media came the cancel culture, which allowed social media to become judge, jury and executioner. This is what we define as social media justice.
When it comes to Me Too cases the verdict of a legal court might pale in comparison to the court of public opinions, which is primarily fuelled by social media. For example, in the Mason Greenwood case where he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend, the Crown Prosecution Services opted not to charge him, most likely because they lacked sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. Yet, Greenwood was still cancelled by the court of public opinion. Manchester United had no choice but to halt integrating him back into the team. Even though by law he hadn't committed any crime, the football club understood the power of the court of public opinions and were not willing to lose sponsors over their desire to keep Greenwood at the football club. Greenwood had to keep his football career going by leaving the UK.
The Johnny Depp vs Amanda Heard case was another one where the court of public opinion was more important than the civil case Depp brought against Heard. It was never about the money for Johnny Depp, he was fighting to sway the court of public opinion to his side, because social media cancelled him immediately after accusations of him being abusive towards Amber Heard came out. Immediately Johnny Depp won his civil suit against Amber Heard, social media embraced him back like nothing ever happened. He wasn't cancelled anymore, and sponsors came calling. The same cannot be said for Mason Greenwood who remains cancelled to date, even though his assault case was dropped by CPS.
Phillip Schofield, a former ITV presenter in UK was accused of grooming a younger colleague at the workplace. He was cancelled on social media and hounded as a pervert until the former younger colleague in question issued a statement denying the allegations against Schofield.
There is no denying that the Me Too movement is a required evolution in society, but we can't allow social media justice and cancel culture drive it. At this rate the Me too movement will be put down to nothing but a social media tantrum, and victims will be forced backed into the shadows because no one takes them seriously. There are already views rattling about on social media that people are weaponising the Me Too movement with social media justice to garner fame and fortune. It is this kind of narrative, the Me Too movement doesn't need. If something isn't done soon to curb social media justice, there might not be a Me Too movement to look forward to in the future.