Barack Obama Calls Out ‘Cancel Culture’ in the Era of Donald Trump

Former President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago Oct. 29, 2019.
Former President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago Oct. 29, 2019.
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty)

For all eight years of his presidency, Barack Obama was the epitome of class and grace, ever speaking to how to bring opposing sides to common ground, whether during a beer summit or in offering a hand to recalcitrant Republicans.


Now, the nation’s forever president is calling out cancel culture,” telling an audience at the annual Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago that shutting down a person with an opposing view or just being overly critical is not a mark of true activism.

“This idea of purity, and you’re never compromised, and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly,” Obama said, the Daily Beast reports. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

Obama took on the social media culture of so-called hashtag activism, advising that folks, especially young people, not mistake being overly judgmental with being an activist.

If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself. Did you see how woke I was, I called you out,” Obama continued during Tuesday’s speech, according to Rolling Stone.Then I’m going to get on my TV and watch my show … That’s not activism.

If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far,” opined Obama.

Wise and sober words, perhaps especially needed in an era in which the current occupant of the Oval Office hardly goes out of his way to find common ground with those with whom he disagrees.



Barack, we still ain’t voting for Joe Biden in the primaries when the rubber hits the road. Also, you can stop with the right-wing framing of “cancel culture.” You can “get over” that. Quite frankly, we are where we are, right now, because we’ve tolerated too much bullshit, not because we didn’t tolerate enough.

Thanks for building a base for us, but we’re not going back to “normal” after this. This was your biggest fault, believing that we could keep order when one half of the country had disordered everything, tearing out the norms by the roots. That’s where you fucked up more times than I can count, giving us a priest when we needed a general.

Yeah, PLENTY of failed people and ideas need to be cancelled.