Without mincing any word, British comedian-actor Rowan Atkinson equated cancel culture to a "medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn."
Popularly known for his roles as the eccentric Mr. Bean and as super-spy Johnny English, Atkinson was not amused at how algorithms are arranged, limiting, and dictating what people see online, Breitbart reported. He suspects this to be an act of censorship by the British government.
In his interview with Radio Times of the U.K. (via Variety), Atkins explained the necessity of being exposed to" a wide spectrum of opinions." What fills him with dread is that some people are just reactionary against anyone or anything that does not fit their worldviews or agenda.
"It becomes a case of either you're with us or against us. And if you are against us, you deserve to be 'canceled,'" he said.
But Atkinson is no lone ranger. Ricky Gervais, creator of "The Office," passionately champions free speech as well. He gave several examples of 'cancel culture' through his August interview with The Metro.
"You turning off your own TV isn't censorship. You trying to get other people to turn off their TV because you don't like something they're watching, that's different," he said.
Another example Gervais used is when people pushed for a comedian's dismissal whose political opinions they disagree with. Gervais said that it's "not cool" because a celebrity's opinion has nothing to do with his job. It's one thing to opt-out of watching shows from actors people dislike, and another when they want them sacked.
Last year, Gervais went all the way in his crusade when he called out what he deemed as "political correctness-turned cancel culture," branding it as a "weird sort of fascism of people thinking they know what you can say and what you can't." He is basically pointing out that it is possible to present differing views without the need for censorship.
Finally, Gervais sort of predicted the possibilities in the near future when he said,
"You could be the most woke, politically correct stand-up in the world at the moment, but you don't know what it's going to be like in 10 years time. You can get canceled for things you said ten years ago."
Aside from Atkins and Gervais, author J.K Rowling was also in hot water after expressing her views on the harmful impact of the rising transgenderism on women across the globe. She got "cancelled" on Twitter through the #RIPJKRowling thread, followed by numerous comments on her recent book about a male killer who disguises as a woman to lure his victims.
Many netizens were "hurt" by the renowned author's portrayal of the cross-dressing character, which led to her being accused as a "bigot" and "transphobic." On her website, Rowling explained that the character was "loosely based on real-life killers Jerry Brudos and Russell Williams."
Rowling is one of more than a hundred writers and academics who signed a letter in summer last year calling for the end of cancel culture, Breitbart reported.