Kid Rock Is “Uncancelable,” But Not for the Reason He Thinks

The homophobic musician made the assertion during a recent Tucker Carlson interview

Kid Rock performs during the Trump 2020 rally on September 14, 2020 in Harrison, Michigan.
Kid Rock performs during the Trump 2020 rally on September 14, 2020 in Harrison, Michigan.
Getty Images

Like attracts like, and so, naturally, Kid Rock is slated to sit down for an interview with Tucker Carlson Monday night. Carlson posted a brief teaser from his chat with the homophobic musician on his social media, and the clip is centered around Kid Rock’s assertion that he’s “uncancelable.”

“Why haven’t you been canceled?” Carlson asks. “Like, people aren’t allowed to say what they think. You are.”

“Cause I don’t give a fuck,” Rock — real name Robert Ritchie — responds. “I’m not in bed with any big corporate things. At the end of the day, there’s nobody I’m beholden to: no record companies, no corporate interests, no nothing. You can’t cancel me. I love it when they try.” 

The “Cowboy” singer is right that he’s “uncancelable,” but not for the reason he seems to think. He’s “uncancelable” because everyone of a certain level of privilege is; there’s no such thing as “cancel culture.” Carlson’s assertion that “people aren’t allowed to say what they think” is, of course, utter nonsense. We’re all allowed to say whatever the hell we want — even if it’s as dumb and unpopular as, say, Carlson’s recent defense of Vladimir Putin — but the First Amendment doesn’t protect us from the consequences of that speech. You’re free to spew as much bile as you please, but other people are free to push back and react to it as they see fit.

That said, it’s obvious that certain celebrities have been handed second (or third) chances. As we’ve pointed out before, no one is truly canceled as long as they continue to make other people money. In some cases, they’re even embraced by new audiences who sympathize with whatever controversial behavior led to them being “canceled” in the first place. (How else do you explain the fact that his n-word tape was the best thing to happen to Morgan Wallen’s career, or that Louis CK is still headlining arenas?)

But even if cancel culture were a real thing, is it possible to cancel a has-been like Kid Rock? In order to be canceled, doesn’t there need to be a certain existing level of popularity and acclaim to cancel? Barring some unforeseen resurgence in early-aughts rap-rock acts fronted by bigots who love to yell homophobic slurs, it seems safe to say that time already canceled Kid Rock long before anyone else had a chance.

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