Author: Hal Niedzviecki

The Mob That Came After Me Is Turning on Itself. When Will This End? Who Does This Help?

I am in my third year of excommunication from Canadian culture. In the spring of 2017, I wrote a magazine article that my accusers claimed had flippantly dismissed the concept of cultural appropriation—a serious thoughtcrime. My lead accuser was writer and activist Alicia Elliott, though the narrative was quickly picked up by many others. Suddenly, I no longer received invitations to write articles, speak, teach, or publish. I’d been cancelled, and barely anyone said a public word in my defence. My 25 years of work supporting independent voices in the arts was erased in an instant. So be it. I now see this same vicious mob spirit re-emerging on a larger cultural scale. And with the stakes higher than ever, I feel compelled to speak up. The climate of fear and censorship has become so endemic to the arts and media in North America that staying silent at this point would feel like an act of capitulation—even if, as my own experience shows, it would be the prudent path. If we don’t speak now, what …