Two podcasters are sounding the alarm on the perils of cancel culture after the Podcast Movement, an organization hosting its annual convention this week in Dallas, issued a widely rebuked apology in response to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro briefly showing up to take photos with fans.
Listen to the latest episode of CBN’s Quick Start podcast 👇
Misty Phillip, founder of Spark Media Ventures, and fellow Podcast Movement attendee Jodi Howe told CBN’s Faithwire the entire ordeal is an example of cancel culture run amok.
“We’ve got to stop this, and we have to accept the fact that we’re not all going to think alike,” Howe said during a video interview from the conference. “We don’t get to shut people down when they say and do things that we don’t like, and it’s OK to disagree. It’s OK to disagree without attacking people that have different opinions.”
Watch Phillip and Howe react:
The strange ordeal began Thursday, when the Podcast Movement sent a series of tweets addressing Shapiro’s presence at the conference the day before.
“Hi folks, we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day. Yesterday afternoon, Ben Shapiro briefly visited the PM22 expo area near The Daily Wire booth,” the organization tweeted Thursday. “Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence.”
The Podcast Movement went on to admit Shapiro’s organization, The Daily Wire, was sold a booth at the conference, acknowledging the “weight of that decision is now painfully clear.”
“Those of you who called this ‘unacceptable’ are right,” read another tweet. “The pain caused by this one will always stick with us. We promise that sponsors will be more carefully considered moving forward.”
Phillip and Howe expressed their dismay over the Podcast Movement’s messaging, noting numerous people enthusiastically approached Shapiro and took photos with him.
Hi folks, we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day. Yesterday afternoon, Ben Shapiro briefly visited the PM22 expo area near The Daily Wire booth. Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence.— Podcast Movement at #PM22 (@PodcastMovement) August 25, 2022
“We actually ran into Ben and he was gracious and kind and stopped and took a picture with us and several other people,” Phillip said. “So, I was so shocked when I saw the tweets … and I was wondering, ‘What did he do to harm? He was kind and gracious to us.'”
Phillip, who runs a large network of Christian podcasts, was “disappointed” by the Podcast Movement’s reaction because the conference is “supposed to be a place that celebrates diversity and inclusion.”
And considering Shapiro’s standing as one of the world’s most popular podcasters, she was especially flummoxed by the push-back to his mere presence.
“They were canceling and apologizing for one of the top podcasters,” Phillip said. “It should have been a celebrated thing, and so it was confusing, and it was disappointing, because we were thrilled that he was there and that The Daily Wire was there.”
Howe said she was especially shocked the Podcast Movement called Shapiro’s presence “harmful,” focusing on the weight of that word.
Literally shaking rn. Podcast Movement is threatening my right to exist. This is erasure. https://t.co/FGu5u3nG3g— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 25, 2022
“The word ‘harm’ that was used in that Twitter feed — that’s a very serious word,” Howe said. “And there’s really no explanation as to why they use that word.”
Howe found it particularly strange The Daily Wire was invited to have a booth but that their presence was suddenly problematic enough to issue a public apology. And Phillip said the flap over Shapiro shows the overarching cultural conundrums plaguing society.
“Throughout history, there’s been a marketplace of ideas where people have been able to sit down and discuss their opinions and listen and that is no longer the case,” she said. “We’re podcasters. We use our voice to tell stories. And everybody’s story deserves to be told and to be heard, but that’s not what’s what’s happening in the industry. We’re seeing people that believe differently are just canceled for their beliefs.”
Howe mirrored these sentiments, noting she’s well aware not everyone at the Podcast Movement will accept or agree with her Christian beliefs but believes everyone should have a voice.
“We live in a country, a beautiful country, that is about freedom,” she said. “Even though I’m a faith-based podcaster who loves Jesus and I want the world to know that, I respect that not everyone’s going to be in that place in their spirit.”
Phillip and Howe are hardly alone in their rebukes, as social media erupted with thousands of reactions to the Podcast Movement’s tweets.
The Daily Wire also responded to the viral messages with a video juxtaposing the claims with elated videos of people gleefully taking photos with Shapiro and thanking him for his stances.
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***