Written by Shamira James
In the past 10 years, there’s been a growing and more accessible form of political activism. Those who partake in this wave of advocacy are brutally honest about themselves to the public about their experiences with sexual assault, racial discrimination, gender identity mental health issues and everything else that usually makes people just slightly uncomfortable. This group of online crusaders have no problem calling out people who they feel like are acting in an unjust or prejudice way. For example, Tomi Lahren, who often speaks with the intention to be inflammatory and controversial.
It’s easier when it’s someone generally hated like Lahren who seems to attribute her malice to none other than her political, religious and social stances. But what about when a celebrity who maybe isn’t America’s sweetheart says or does something distasteful – but they also suffer from a mental disorder, where does the line in the sand get drawn. This article is not meant to give anyone with a mental disorder a pass to act any kind of way and say whatever they want. It’s more so for society to look at themselves for a second and contemplate the idea that we have become so self-righteous that if you aren’t this perfect politically correct angel then you deserve to be barated on the internet.
“Call out culture” is the realm of social media where it seems like any and everyone can be called out for something they do that can be seen as offensive or toxic. Towards the end of 2018, Pete Davidson was a celebrity everyone had a lot to say about. Davidson, who was engaged to singer Ariana Grande, had been laying low since the two broke off their engagement in October. But when a Twitter beef emerged between Kanye West and Drake that Grande inserted herself in, and then made a small joke about mental health. Davidson, who has been open about his struggles with his Borderline Personality Disorder, commented that he was disappointed in his former fiance’s comments. But when the members of call out culture came for Davidson’s blood, he tweeted but then quickly deleted a post saying “I’m trying but life is hard, I don’t want to be alive anymore, if I leave at least you all knew.” The worst thing from all of this was the lack of empathy from these people online that are so pro-caring about everyone and the lack of regard for another person’s mental state at a particularly hard time in their life.
Of course Davidson said some gross things ranging from including victims of a Manchester bombing in a joke for his stand-up to switching his ex-fiance’s birth control with tic-tacs and there is no excuse for that. But when Ariana’s fans are bullying enough to make him delete his Instagram where did all that social justice go? There’s no excuse for his behavior, but there also is no excuse for the people that persecuted him so heavily. The ridicule Davidson faced sparked the debate on whether or not he deserves sympathy. A culture that openly supports checking in on your friends and being open and accepting of mental health was split down the middle about either caring about someone who obviously is not doing well or condemning someone who has been very crass and inappropriate. This issue has a lot of gray area but on the same token, it has a lot of definitive answers. Grande should’ve kept the comment to herself, Davidson should not have said the distasteful and offensive things, and people on the internet need to step down from the throne they put themselves on that makes them think they have the right to decide who gets mercy and who does not.