In case you missed it — both the bad tweet from 10 years ago and the apology that she issued literally last week for it — Kapuso actress Maine Mendoza apologized to netizens for racist and homophobic remarks she tweeted back in 2011.
In a tweet on Friday, Mendoza owed the tone-deaf tweets to her “careless self” and that she has learned to “be more careful with [her] thoughts and words” since then. The decade-old tweet that recently resurfaced saw the GMA mainstay, who was 16 years old at the time, using bading (gay) as an insult.
To her apology we say, don’t mention it. As in, she literally didn’t have to.
Notwithstanding the apparent lack of reason for digging up a tweet from a decade ago, causing a whole commotion just to “cancel” someone seems so counterintuitive — how can a tweet from 2011 stand as a moral compass for a fully-matured person living today? Is she not allowed to grow out of her measly mistakes?
Admit it: we all went through our rebellious phase. We skipped sleeping time, we dreamt of running away, and we hurled slurs and curse words at friends. It wasn’t our proudest moment, and we know it because we grew out of it. Whether or not Maine meant the bad joke at the time, ten years is too long of a time to not see how much someone has grown — unless they meant not to.
That’s how “cancel culture” shoots itself in the foot. None of our past mistakes exist in a vacuum. People can realize their mistakes, learn where they went wrong, and pivot to a better person — all on their own. And if at any point through this you notice that they haven’t progressed a bit, and the first thing you do is start a witch hunt, then you’re as good as an accomplice to their bad actions, and it might as well be your head at the stake.
Everyone should be accountable for their bad deeds, regardless of when they committed them. They must be able to acknowledge, show remorse, and take responsibility for their conduct at the time. But we don’t always have to instill guilt and squeeze an apology out of them. In its place, a changed behavior is enough.
Especially when it comes to celebrities — whose personal lives we don’t know much about anyway — a changed behavior lets us know that they are accountable to their spheres of influence. Most of the time, this includes young people who, by idolatry, are more likely to be swayed by what celebrities say or do.
So chill, you guys. Off the top of our heads, we can think of at least a dozen names who are (1) in a position of power; (2) have been committing all kinds of misdeeds, and (3) haven’t apologized for any of them. We’re much better off directing our energy at demanding accountability from these folks.