How does cancellation actually affect a creator’s bottom line?

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At the Edinburgh TV Festival last weekend, Paramount Global’s Paramount+ chief David Nevins sat down to talk about the fledgling streaming service’s future lineup. An Offer to Come is a documentary about comedian Louis CK’s return to the world of stand-up comedy. In one of the many cases that fueled the #MeToo movement, the comedic superstar was accused of sexual misconduct by five women in 2017.

After admitting the charges were true, Louis CK retired from public view. Meanwhile, major networks like Netflix, HBO, subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Disney-owned FX Network, have publicly cut ties with the pop culture figure.

Less than a year later, Louis CK was quietly appearing in comedy clubs with a new number. In 2021, he won a Grammy for his comedy album “Sincerely, Louis CK,” and took the act on a sold-out national tour the same year. He also directed and released a film called “Fourth of July”, which received lukewarm critical reception and premiered mostly without incident.

Despite this period of absence from major public places and streaming specials, the comedian is still able to do more than earn a living. After its “cancellation,” the actor, writer, and producer slowly managed to rebuild at least parts of his career.

Everything we know about the Louis CK #MeToo documentary

During the event, Nevins was quite coy about the whole project, saying he thought Louis CK was a “great comedian who needs to come back in his own way.” He went on to say that the project would focus on the macro scale of the #MeToo movement and what happened between the allegations and today.

“I don’t think the social change that #MetToo has caused is resolved at all,” Nevins said. “There’s a bit of a backlash against #MeToo, who has to go and who’s allowed to come back.” The exec also said the documentary would be directed by Caroline Sun and produced by Amanda Brandon-Gill and The New York Times.

At one point in the interview, Nevins vaguely compared the fate of Louis CK to that of Harvey Weinstein, who was charged with rape, sexual assault and more in April 2020, saying the two circumstances were very different. . In the absence of criminal charges, Louis CK had the freedom to “lay a low profile” and presumably work on the new comedy routine that has earned him recent accolades.

CK, it should be noted, was accused (and admitted) of abuse of power. He has not been charged with any crime.

Cancel culture impacted CK revenue

Although the public cancellation seemed to have dire consequences at the time, the case of Louis CK says otherwise.

Nor is he some sort of golden exception here. The ‘Harry Potter’ creator and household name JK Rowling has seen similar comeback for comments she made that were deemed transphobic. While mega-studio Warner Bros. was quick to speak out against his views, but that didn’t stop the company from keep working with her (although contractually they had little choice if they wanted to continue using the Harry Potter IP).

The majority of ‘Harry Potter’ fans have also shown they’re willing to bite the bullet when it comes to supporting the franchise – 82% of Harry Potter fans self-identify are always interested in more Wizarding World content. Rowling and Warner Bros. Discovery always receive a big paycheck streak from Universal Studios for the use of its intellectual property at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

However, not all people get away with it. One example is ‘Avengers’ director and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ creator Joss Whedon, who was called out for infidelity in 2017 after his ex-wife wrote an essay about it, which later brought charges. of mistreatment, sexism, racism, and the abuse of others over a period of decades.

In 2021, after giving an interview mostly portraying himself as the victim in these situations, he left production on his HBO Max series “The Nevers” and hasn’t seen much work publicly since.

From celebrities to the people who wash your restaurant’s dishes, a threat to your livelihood is a scary proposition. But we also need to consider the effects on the livelihoods of everyone involved – not just the shamed creator.

One of CK’s most vocal accusers, Julia Wolov, is quick to point out the financial consequences for the remaining women to analyze the comedian’s behaviors.

“We, too, work in comedy,” says Julia Wolov. “We will probably never win tens of millions of dollars to lose. Louis CK is still very rich. […] So when you congratulate yourself on the resurgence of Louis CK’s career and help your business thrive, perhaps think of the encumbered human beings in this story.

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This story was originally published August 26, 2022 2:48 p.m.