In the era of Cancel Culture, once an individual has been cancelled and banned it is often very difficult to bounce back and return to their normal life. This is extremely unfortunate, as it forces perfection upon the individual with no room for grace. Artists at the highest level, including Anna Netrebko, are just normal human beings like you and I, with flaws and imperfections. We must remember that although these artists are famous in the opera world, they have families, loved ones, and lead normal daily lives just like you and I do. What we often see on social media is just a glimpse, and often artists share only the best aspects of their life- pictures of glimmering gowns, fabulous food, and lavish lifestyle- predominately featured and highlighted. What we must not forget is these artists have feelings just as you and I do; they cry over their trials and heartbreaks, they suffer when they receive backlash, and the pressure put upon them to attain perfection is insurmountable. What we don't get to see on social media is all of the moments of doubt, anxiety and stress, and difficulties an artist faces throughout their career.
What is most troubling with Cancel Culture is that banning and cancelling an artist leaves no room for them to learn and grow from their experiences and to try and do better in the future. What happened to second chances? What happened to forgiveness and grace? What happened to empathy towards our fellow man? Is it not enough to apologize and ask for forgiveness- must one be thrown in the trash as a worthless object with no room for redemption?
What is detrimental to society is the notion that we must be perfect and accept nothing less or risk getting cancelled forever. Making the judgement that one must attain perfection or risk being banned from a normal, meaningful life in society is taking the place of God- actually worse- because God at least offers the chance for redemption and gives mercy and forgiveness to those who ask for it. How do you cancel a HUMAN BEING?
Despite Anna Netrebko yet again releasing another public statement condemning the war and distancing herself from Putin's politics, the Metropolitan Opera refuses to give her any grace or forgiveness. In a statement posted to her social media pages, Netrebko wrote,
"I expressly condemn the war on Ukraine and my thoughts are with the victims of this war and their families. My position is clear. I am not a member of any political party nor am I allied with any leader of Russia." -Anna Netrebko
She also clarified to her previous statements by adding,
"I acknowledge and regret that past actions or statements of mine could have been misinterpreted. In fact, I have met President Putin only a handful of times in my entire life, most notably on the occasion of receiving awards in recognition of my art or at the Olympics opening ceremony. I have otherwise never received any financial support from the Russian Government, and live and am a tax resident in Austria. I love my homeland of Russia and only seek peace and unity through my art." -Anna Netrebko
Peter Gelb, who had stated a demand that Anna Netrebko denounce Putin or risk being cancelled from future performances at the Metropolitan Opera, made a statement in response.
"Having read Anna’s statement, we’re not prepared to change our position. If Anna demonstrates that she has truly and completely disassociated herself from Putin over the long-term, I would be willing to have a conversation." -Peter Gelb
So apparently, denouncing Putin, stating you do not agree with his politics, clarifying that you do not receive any money from Putin, and praying for peace is not enough. Apparently, Anna has to go for a long period of time without any income before returning back to grovel at Peter Gelb's feet, before he will even have a CONVERSATION. Peter Gelb is acting like he's GOD- but even God offers us forgiveness immediately and isn't cruel to make us wait.
"His compassions fail not. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING: great is thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV)
We pray the Metropolitan Opera realizes that the answer is not to ban artists, but rather to show love and grace, and try to bring about peace and unity for all.