150 public figures have decided to speak out against the prevalent cancel culture. The letter signatories are influential figure in various fields.
Other signatories of the letter include famous authors, public intellectuals and journalists. In terms of authors, we can see Jeffrey Eugenides and Martin Amis signing the letter. Noam Chomsky and Malcolm Gladwell have also signed the letter. Feminist journalist Gloria Steinem and chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov also signed the letter according to reports by The Guardian.
The letter was published this Tuesday, in Harper's Magazine. The letter states, "The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought."
The letter went on as it argued the signatories' stands.
"Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal," the letter argues. "We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement."
The letter concluded, saying, "We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won't defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn't expect the public or the state to defend it for us."