As one of the most prominent critics in the world of YouTube, and frankly as a woman, Lindsay Ellis is open to waves of backlash that the average person doesn't have to deal with online. Recently, the YouTuber was "canceled" over a comment she made about the Disney movie Raya and the Last Dragon. Although the controversy felt minor, because of the internet, it turned into a pretty big ordeal.
Why is Lindsay Ellis canceled?
Lindsay Ellis' "cancellation" started after she wrote a tweet comparing Raya to the popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
“Also watched Raya and the Last Dragon and I think we need to come up with a name for this genre that is basically Avatar: The Last Airbender reduxes. It’s like half of all YA fantasy published in the last few years," she wrote.
Almost immediately following her comments, people began replying, arguing that her tweet suggested that Avatar, a show influenced by Eastern cultures, was actually the origin point for many stories that had Eastern cultural elements. Critics of Lindsay also pointed that Avatar's writers were white, while Raya had people of Asian descent on its writing team.
In a follow-up tweet, she attempted to clarify her statement: “I can see where if you squint I was implying all Asian-inspired properties are the same, especially if you were already privy to those conversations where I had not seen them. But the basic framework of TLA is becoming popular in fantasy fiction outside of Asian inspired stuff.”
Ultimately, her critics believed she had been painting with too broad a brush.
Lindsay released a video discussing the controversy.
In the wake of the backlash to Lindsay's tweet and her follow-up, she released a more-than 90-minute video that dove into the subject in greater detail. Although the critique of Lindsay's comments was fair, it led to a backlash that was disproportionate to the severity of what she had actually said.
The video not a full-on apology, but she does say that her comments were stupid.
In the video, though, she's careful to clarify that although her tweets may not have been fully thought through, her cancellation felt like a step too far. She also discusses the origins of the word "canceled," and what it means to be the villain on Twitter for the day.
One of the reasons Twitter is so ripe with people being "canceled" is because tweets are, by their nature, not extended essays.
Lindsay is someone known for her thoughtful critiques of culture, and those critiques usually come in the form of extended videos in which she can break a subject down in great detail. On Twitter, she can't always do that, which makes it very easy for someone to take a tweet and a person out of context. Lindsay is not the only person to be canceled over remarks that many might consider innocuous.
Plenty of people say truly terrible things online on a regular basis, and deserve the backlash that's coming to them. Sometimes, though, people just make mistakes, and they deserve to be forgiven for popping off on Twitter without thinking through every single implication of what they might be saying.