These days, many celebrities and entertainers cower in fear of Twitter mobs and, even if they privately have serious concerns, don’t speak out against cancel culture or the far-Left’s extremes. But one brave TV star, Ice T, is taking a stand for free speech.
The Law and Order SVU actor and rapper will feature in a new, pro-free-speech ad that’s set to air during his show’s upcoming season premiere. Produced by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), the ad calls for open debate and argues against censoring or “canceling” artists and comedians who stir up controversy.
You can watch the ad here:
“We don’t have to like what we hear, but we all have the right to express ourselves,” Ice T says in the ad. “Silencing artists doesn’t make our society any better or safer. Free speech makes free people.”
If you’re not terminally online, you might be wondering why this once-uncontroversial message is really necessary. But unfortunately, we’re witnessing a rise of censorious backlash in the name of “social justice” that attempts to deplatform comedians and censor songs that violate some progressives’ personal mores.
Similarly, singers as famous as Beyoncé have faced online mobs for using common but apparently “offensive” language like “spaz” in their songs—prompting them to cave and literally self-censor their art. These are just a few examples, but practically every week a new celebrity trends in some targeted cancelation campaign over some perceived offense.
So, clearly, Ice T’s message is sorely needed.
FIRE is sponsoring this important message as part of its broader dedication to “defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought.”
“Ice-T faced censorship in his music career and knows firsthand the importance of protecting the expressive rights of artists,” FIRE Executive Vice President Nico Perrino said in a statement. “For art and culture to flourish, artistic freedoms must be preserved.”
“In America, we don’t take the microphone or the paintbrush out of artists’ hands because we don’t like what they have to say,” Perrino concluded.
We certainly shouldn’t. But many of our fellow Americans are increasingly gravitating toward these censorious proclivities, seeking to shut down ideas they dislike rather than debate or debunk them. That can’t continue if we hope to preserve the spirit of free expression that has made America great.