The Year 2020: Cancel culture comes for everyone

Madonna, Ellen DeGeneres, and Lea Michelle were among several people who were called out on social media for accountability on a variety of issues.
4:55 | 12/30/20

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Transcript for The Year 2020: Cancel culture comes for everyone
Here's Deborah Roberts. In 2020, we learned about cancel culture. That stinging social media label that spares no one. People have been trying to cancel me for a really long time. One misstep can definitely unleash the online mob, and they will come for you and come for you hard. A de facto checks and balances. It's all about calling people out, usually online, for unpopular comments or behaviors. It is seen by some as being a legitimate way to reject bad ideas. Other people think that it is a very, very sinister way to suppress independent thought and free speech. People should be able to complain about stuff. It's America. That's what we do. Imagine being a parent and you tell your kids when they messed up, you canceled. What did I do? Doesn't matter, you're canceled. You know what you did. I posted a Thanksgiving tablescape and because there was a lot of place settings, people are like, why are there so many people? I just did that because I wanted a ful tablescape. Calm down! With so much swirling tension, many are on edge and now more than ever, pointing fingers, demanding accountability. Lea Michelle is kind of at the intersection of cancel culture and what they call virtue signaling. The "Glee" star tweeting, "George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end." Lea in making a statement saying, here are my values, and then somebody else is saying, wait, wait, wait. Samantha ware, a former costar, calling out Michelle, claiming racial and traumatic microaggressions, posting, "Remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?" A contrite Michelle later posting online -- "When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support. I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused." Wrong is wrong, but we address it and we figure out how to move on. Oh, girl, if your name was Karen in 2020, you got canceled. They've been out there forever. We've just named them now. They're karens. Her nonproblem is the biggest problem in the universe. Viewed more than 45 million times, a white woman calling 911 and making false allegations about a black man, a birder who asked her to comply with park rules by lea her dog. I'm being threatened by a man. Please send the cops immediately. Not only are they comfortable accusing others of committing crimes where there weren't any crimes -- I'm going to tell them there's an African-American man threatening my life. -- But they also are very good at making themselves victims. After that viral and ugly moment, Amy cooper, publicly shamed, charged with a misdemeanor and lost her job. It's a pointed example of how cancel culture cuts different ways. I was in the car the other day and I heard R. Kelly on the radio and I was like, I could have sworn we canceled R. Kelly. Who is playing R. Kelly? With the richest celebrities, you're like, I don't know who really got canceled. In her 2018 Netflix special "Relatable," Ellen DeGeneres, declared she's a good person. I'm the "Be kind" girl. Be kind to one another. Be kind to one another. So when accusations of a toxic environment surfaced from "The Ellen show" this year, her kindness behind the curtain came into question. There was actual direct Al gages, people in charge mistreated people, harassed people and that Ellen didn't know about it. All right, everybody! Dance when she dances! Rolling! I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power, and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. They've made significant changes. A lot of the leadership was replaced. Actor and TV host Nick Cannon also landed in the hot seat with what many saw as hateful, anti-semitic comments on his podcast "Cannon's class." Who they want to be, that's our birthright. That's our birthright. I don't quite understand someone that would be a member of an oppressed group and would spout anything that would be anti-semitic. Get smart. Get some education. Read up on it. Otherwise, shut up. Cannon issuedology. And despite the outrage, kept his job as host of the hit competition show, "The masked singer." Nick Cannon here and finally we have sng fun involving mad. I think we should shift the idea from cancel culture to counsel culture. Clearly, we're living in a very systemic infrastructure where everyone's guilty. Most celebrities live in fear and just say what they think they're supposed to say and backpedal when they do something that offends people. If you think you're seeing a window into somebody's true self, think again.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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