Why are some celebrity criminals immune from cancellation?

I don’t know how it came up, but someone I was talking to mentioned how they hoped Q-leaning folks didn’t discover Conspiracy Theory, that 1997 Julia Roberts/Mel Gibson film where a ranting cab driver is actually right about the big bad government conspiracy after all! I had seen the movie when it was in theaters, but that was a while ago, so I decided to stream it — but Gibson, and my memories of his anti-Semitic tirade during his 2006 arrest for drunk driving (for which his conviction was later expunged), were more than I could take. (It also seems to romanticize stalking in a way I am not cool with, but that’s a different conversation.)

I’m apparently in the minority, as Gibson is set to direct the latest Lethal Weapon movie. His continued success is proof that “cancel culture,” that Twitterific phrase, is kind of a bullshit notion, as even Gibson’s arguably non-criminal acts seem like the sort of thing that might get one booted from society.

Gibson isn’t the only pubic figure convicted of a crime but seemingly beloved despite it. (Hell, in some cases you can even get fired for mentioning civil allegations against a public figure!) Why do you think that, despite loud public claims that “you can’t do anything anymore without getting canceled,” many folks seem to enjoy flourishing careers in the public eye despite troubling criminal pasts? And what high-profile celebrity transgressions do you with more folks would take note of? — EB

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