Sarah Silverman argues that ‘path to redemption’ is needed in ‘cancel culture’ moments

Clémence Michallon
·2-min read
Sarah Silverman at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on 9 February 2020 in Beverly Hills, California (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Sarah Silverman at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on 9 February 2020 in Beverly Hills, California (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Sarah Silverman has argued in favour of a “path to redemption” for people facing instances of “cancel culture”.

The comedian herself has faced backlash for wearing blackface in a 2007 sketch. She said last year that she lost out on a movie role due to a resurfaced photo of the sequence.

Silverman, who has since landed a comedy special and a pilot order, touched on the topic of “cancel culture” in a recent episode of her podcast.

She referred to Christian Picciolini, a former skinhead who left a white supremacist movement in 1996 and has since worked as an activist against hate groups. Silverman interviewed Picciolini in an episode of her series I Love You, America in 2017.

On her podcast, Silverman described the way some people get radicalised as “going towards love”, stating that Picciolini found “family, camaraderie, and a place to be” when he joined a hate group.

She extended her reasoning to “cancel culture” at large, adding: “In this cancel culture – and we all know what I’m talking about, whether you think there is one or there isn’t one or where you stand on it, and there’s a lot of gray matter there.

“But without a path to redemption, when you take someone and you found a tweet they wrote seven years ago or a thing that they said and you expose it and you say ‘This person should be no more, banish them forever’ – they’re going to find some place where they are accepted, and it’s not going to be with progressives,” she said.

“If we don’t give these people a path to redemption, then they’re going to go where they are accepted, which is the motherf****** dark side.”

Several people responded to Silverman highlighting the need for “contrition” and “repentance” in the context of redemption.

“ We don't have to offer a god damned MINUTE of redemption to people who aren't interested in repentance, and who are still actively doing harm,” one person wrote. “They can change first. We can forgive later.”