Americans have long debated the boundaries of free speech, from what is and isn’t protected by the First Amendment, to discussions about political correctness, and more recently, cancel culture. The internet has amplified these debates and fostered new questions about tone and tenor in recent years. Here’s how Americans view cancel culture and related issues.
In a September 2020 survey, 44% of Americans said they’d heard at least a fair amount about the phrase cancel culture, including 22% who had heard a great deal about it. Familiarity with the term varied by age, gender, and education level, but not political party affiliation. When describing what the phrase cancel culture means to them, Americans were most likely to say it describes actions people take to hold others accountable. At the same time, 55% of Americans said many people take offensive content they see online too seriously.