While taking a solitary hike a few days ago, Eve Barlow espied a former friend, someone who had turned to her many times for advice and encouragement, but had for over a year given her the cold shoulder. Their falling-out occurred because Barlow was anathematized by the liberal journalistic circles in which both women traveled. Her sin? Criticizing the anti-Semitism within the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in 2020, and some of the other excesses of that moment. She reflects on the experience of being cancelled just when her star as a writer was on the rise:
The weekend of the initial BLM protests in Los Angeles, synagogues were vandalized, . . . and I put my foot in it. I tweeted “How dare you,” and all hell broke loose.
It was decreed that I was a racist by my entire industry. And I remember talking to this [same friend], and talking to my former editor at [the men’s magazine] GQ, who elicited empathy towards me but said that I’d had a “mini yikes” moment. Meanwhile everyone else was having a major yikes moment, in my opinion, becoming indoctrinated en masse.
Slowly but surely, the Internet began celebrating its hatred of me. People I’d known for years, who [had long curried my favor], turned on a knife’s edge against me—and with glee. The editor of [the influential music company] Bandcamp wrote some heinous bile about me being a hysterical mad woman; ironic given her affinity for feminism. A few months went by and I realized that I was no longer receiving the round-robin record-review emails from the editors at [the music-criticism website] Pitchfork, and . . . I noticed that all the staff writers, and my editor, had stopped following me [on social media].
The entire staff at Vulture unfollowed me if not on the same day, definitely within days of each other. I wish I knew if it was the same day, and I wouldn’t doubt there wasn’t some directive about it.
More about: Anti-Semitism, Black Lives Matter, Cancel culture