By Michael Lodge - The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: In recent times, the rise of wokeness and cancel culture has sparked heated debates, heated arguments, across various industries. The entertainment sector, in particular, has been a breeding ground for controversies, with the recent controversy surrounding country singer Jason Aldean's music video for "Try That in a Small Town." The song is doing very well on the country music charts sitting at number 1 & 2, depending on what chart you read. It's a hit. Corporations such as Target, Disney, Bud Lite, CocaCola, CMT, and others have faced backlash for banning conservative authors from their book and music sales. This article aims to shed light on the ethical implications of wokeness and cancel culture, the potential damage they can cause to businesses, and why we should prioritize free speech and core business values.
The Alleged Racism Controversy Surrounding Jason Aldean's Video: Recently, Country Music Television (CMT) faced criticism for pulling Jason Aldean's music video, "Try That in a Small Town," after allegations that it contained racist elements. It is important to note that there was no evidence to support these claims, and both the video and lyrics were devoid of any racist content. The decision to remove the video based on unfounded accusations only perpetuates the harmful effects of cancel culture generated by the entertainment industry.
Boycotts and Consumer Backlash: Wokeness and cancel culture in corporate America have opened the floodgates for consumer boycotts. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the power they possess to influence the actions of corporations. When businesses succumb to cancel culture and make decisions based on ideological biases, they risk alienating a significant portion of their customer base. This can result in severe financial consequences and damage to their reputation.
The Case of Bud Lite and the Danger of Wokeness: One example that highlights the negative impact of wokeness on businesses is the case of Bud Lite. In 2020, the beer company embraced woke messaging in their advertising campaigns, which received widespread criticism from consumers who felt the brand was pandering to a specific political Trans ideology. As a result, Bud Lite faced a significant decline in sales and had to reevaluate their marketing strategy. This serves as a cautionary tale, demonstrating that businesses that prioritize social justice issues over their core products and values risk alienating their customer base and suffering financially.
Ethics and the Importance of Free Speech: Wokeness and cancel culture pose ethical concerns as they undermine the principles of free speech and open dialogue. While it is essential to address social issues and promote inclusivity, silencing opposing viewpoints stifles intellectual diversity and inhibits progress. Instead of focusing solely on social justice causes, corporations should prioritize their core business functions and the interests of their stakeholders, including investors, employees, and consumers.
Balancing Social Responsibility and Core Business Values: Maintaining a balance between social responsibility and core business values is crucial for corporations. Businesses should be mindful of the potential consequences of embracing wokeness and cancel culture without considering the diverse perspectives of their stakeholders. By fostering open dialogue, respecting free speech, and focusing on their primary business objectives, companies can create a more inclusive and sustainable environment for all. Business, focus on business because wokeness kills brands, creates conflicts with consumers and clients, and corrupts business ethics.
Wokeness and cancel culture have permeated various aspects of society, including the entertainment industry and corporate America. While addressing social issues is important, it should not come at the expense of free speech, ethical practices, and core business values. Nor should it create a dangerous conflict with their core customers. To create a more equitable and prosperous future, it is imperative that we strive for open dialogue, intellectual diversity, and a balanced approach to social responsibility. Business are to run as businesses. Their responsibility is to generate revenue for their investors. They also have a responsibility to look at the communities they have plants and offices in, what are the community needs. We have seen great success with mentor programs, food banks, special training, tutoring for students, and many more. These are the areas you can make a difference as a business. Wokeness and cancel culture will never get you to a place where you are making a difference. But it will create conflict.
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.