The most recent episode involved 27-year-old Alexi McCammond, who this week resigned as editor of Teen Vogue over tweets written as a 19-year-old. Donald McNeil and Andy Mills of the New York Times were dropped just before that, while before that noted cancel culture critic Nathan Robinson was booted from the Guardian, and figures like Matt Yglesias, Andrew Sullivan, and even Glenn Greenwald were squeezed out of mainstream organizations to varying degrees.
Reporters tagged with "reputations" are typically unhirable, barred from freelancing and public speaking, dropped as guests on radio and TV programs, and shut out of book publishing. Those who didn't leave the business often ended up doing things like ghost-writing or writing for foreign publications. People who were once among the biggest names in American journalism and commentary (think about it) have for years now been publishing almost exclusively overseas.
In the last few years, that began to change, as subscriber-based platforms like Patreon and Substack allowed for some cast-offs to build new careers as independents. For a long time, this was a small enough group that few noticed or cared.
Now, however, these second acts are prompting a backlash. What's the point of canceling someone, if they don't stay canceled? Why consign someone to purgatory if they can make a living there?
Hence the crazy controversy of the last two weeks, when numerous writers — many of them Substack contributors themselves — decided to make an issue over the presence of "problematic" writers on this platform, including Greenwald, Sullivan, and especially Jesse Singal, a journalist and podcast host known for controversial writing on trans issues in outlets like The Atlantic.