by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Cancel culture is a black hole that is swallowing corporate America. The zeitgeist of social awareness and virtue signaling has spread far beyond the realm of adolescent Instagram posts to the point where corporate titans now have joined in the effort to push woke capitalism.
Don’t be fooled. Principles are hardly the reason companies are altering their marketing faces to appeal to progressive America.
Current social justice platforms are accelerating the growth of cancel culture and empowering consumers to hold businesses accountable for their social stances. It is not about supporting social justice—companies either are trying to get ahead or simply survive the judgment of cancel culture.
To be fair, some nonprofits make decisions based on their devotion to supporting just causes. But for larger nationwide corporations, appealing to social justice movements has little to do with idealism.
For example, Lululemon, a publicly traded women’s clothing chain that raked in $489.5 million in net direct-to-consumer revenue during a pandemic, recently had a brand ambassador hold a series of workshops titled “Unveiling Historical Erasure and Resisting Capitalism.”
Lululemon purposefully used anti-capitalist advertising to profit off the demand of young liberal women who wanted athletic leisure wear while telecommuting. …
… Most companies can’t afford to be in the crosshairs of woke culture and end up desperately appealing to critics to survive. …
… Whether to get ahead or survive, companies are finding it harder to avoid appealing to woke culture. The hypervigilance and willingness of woke critics to coordinate a consolidated effort against businesses threaten their very existence.
On its surface, the rise of woke capitalism could be considered positive. With increased cohesiveness from consumers, big businesses will get less opportunity to price gouge or furtively ride woke trends without suffering a severe backlash.
But the threat of mob tyranny and vicious attacks against businesses is itself troubling.