May 2, 2023
The Business of Meetings – Episode 164 - The Cancel Culture Curse with Evan Nierman
Today we have the great pleasure of speaking with Evan Nierman, the Founder, and CEO of Red Banyan, a well-known specialist crisis management, and PR firm!
Evan has recently published an important book called The Cancel Culture Curse: From Rage to Redemption in a World Gone Mad. He joins us today to tell his story and talk about his book.
Evan Nierman is the Founder and CEO of Red Banyan, an international crisis management, and public relations firm. He and his team have provided counsel to thousands of clients across the world, including scores who have been the targets of cancel culture attacks. Evan’s writings on issues related to communications and marketing are featured in a range of leading outlets. He speaks at various conferences and universities around the world and is often called upon by the media to provide insight and analysis.
Evan grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. He enjoyed growing up there but could not wait to leave Louisiana, so he went to George Washington University in Washington DC. In DC, he got to do an internship while being a student. One of the organizations where he interned became his first job. He left the organization seven-and-a-half years later to work in high-stakes crisis PR for a small firm that did interesting work for some high-profile clients. He was unhappy there because he did not like the firm’s values and decided that one day he would have a firm like that one and do things differently. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Evan spent a year-and-a-half working in-house at a startup, which moved him to South Florida. Working for the startup, he learned about interacting with investors, raising money, and the challenges of exponential growth. He then left to start an enterprise of his own. He set out to build what he was looking for and create the culture he would like to have had when looking for a job. He wanted to do work that would empower people and improve the lives of his clients. Now, almost twelve years in at Red Banyan, he feels he is right where he should be and is happy with the work they're doing!
Evan tries to be active on social media to let people know what is going on with Red Banyan.
In his book Crisis Averted, Evan spoke about pressing the truth. That means you must put your message out there and advocate for yourself. Because if you fail to do so, someone else will!
Red Banyan is expanding
Evan is pressing the truth about the expansion Red Banyan is going through right now. They currently have people in locations across the United States and 30 full-time team members, coast-to-coast. They are also getting an increasing number of clients from across the world.
The Cancel Culture Curse
Evan is patriotic and believes that America is the land of opportunity. Writing The Cancel Culture Curse was the labor of his love for democracy and America. He thinks America is off-track and believes we can and must do better. He and his co-author, Mark Sachs, wrote The Cancel Culture Curse to define cancel culture, help people better understand what it is and the devastating impact it has on people’s lives, and help small business owners prepare their organizations for dealing with potential cancel culture attacks or how to avoid them entirely.
The elements of cancel culture
Evan identified six key elements to cancel culture. He based the elements he identified on previous research by sociologists and academics and also added some of his own. (Most of the earlier research focused on political witch hunts.)
The six key elements of cancel culture
The perceived crime the targeted person committed against the collective
It arises very quickly.
The nature of the offense is usually minor, or it gets fabricated.
There is a disproportionate response.
Everyone is afraid to defend the accused.
The moral absolutism of those doing the condemning.
How to survive cancel culture
The first thing you must do is refuse to get canceled. Then, don’t apologize unless you are clear about what you are apologizing for and to whom you are apologizing. (Because in a cancel culture world, no mistakes are allowed. So you will not be forgiven, and your apology will become the rope on which they hang you.)
The mainstream media is essential for making cancel culture all-powerful because it jumps onto manufactured scandals, amplifies them, and helps spread them.
Teaching our children
Children should be taught the difference between journalism and sensationalism. They must learn to review online content critically and be encouraged to develop critical thinking skills.
Why it is so difficult to cancel politicians
Most people assume the worst about politicians and believe political leaders are unlikeable, self-interested, corrupt liars who will do anything to hold onto their power and advance their careers. So when they say stupid, objectionable, or distasteful things, people tend to accept them. Additionally, politicians refuse to be canceled.
Evan's deepest wish for the future
Evan hopes that his book, The Cancel Culture Curse, will contribute to moving America back to when people could disagree politically, remain friends, and be happy to be surrounded by others with different beliefs.
Connect with Eric
Connect with Evan Nierman
The Cancel Culture Curse by Evan Nierman and Mark Sachs
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
What’s Our Problem by Tim Urban