In the Disney film Bambi, when the young rabbit Thumper says that Bambi ‘is kinda wobbly’ and ‘doesn’t walk too good’, Thumper’s mother tells him ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’. The Des Moines Register seems to have forgotten Thumper’s Rule when they uncovered Carson King’s teenage tweets and canceled the relationship he had built with Busch Light while raising three million dollars for the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. #CancelCulture is a social media phenomenon, where some people use their voices to cancel the platform enjoyed by others. It’s the 2019 equivalent of the Scarlet Letter, where society takes it upon itself to punish others for perceived misdeeds. But when those attempting to cancel others go too far, they should be subject to tort liability.
Carr, Nanci, How Can We End #CancelCulture – Tort Liability or Thumper’s Rule? (June 18, 2020). 28 Journal of Law and Technology 133 (The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law).