How Ben Franklin Fought Cancel Culture in His Time
When cancel culture came for Ben Franklin – here’s how this founder fought back
If Franklin were alive, would he agree with the 64% of Americans who believe that cancel culture threatens freedom? Yes, because he lived through it.
“Being frequently censur’d and condemn’d by different persons for printing things which they say ought not to be printed, I have sometimes thought it might be necessary to make a standing apology for myself, and publish it once a year,” Franklin published on June 10, 1731, in his Pennsylvania Gazette.
This twenty-five year-old newspaper publisher had recently printed an advertisement from a ship captain who’d obliquely compared clergymen to loud birds and refused them passage.
“Men are very angry with me on this occasion,” he wrote. “That it could proceed from nothing but my abundant malice against religion and the clergy.”
Franklin was being canceled.
“They therefore declare they will not take any more of my papers, nor have any further dealings with me; but will hinder me of all the custom they can. All this is very hard!”