What To Do If You Get Cancelled


Are you prepared to handle a PR nightmare? In today’s internet culture, your public image is a delicate thing that must be protected and sometimes recovered. Today on The Legalpreneur Podcast, I give you examples of how you can handle a potential PR nightmare and recover from cancellation. 

If you have done nothing wrong, I often recommend taking the high road and avoiding public acknowledgment of the attack on you or your business. You must be honest and take responsibility if you have genuinely made a verbal blunder or done something to bring about public scrutiny. Often a genuine apology goes a long way to win back approval.

If you are the target of public defamation, then your strategy will be much more involved. I teach you how to keep your cool and handle the situation professionally. Even when you have done nothing wrong, defamation will damage the image you have built in the public eye, which can cost you business, clients, and opportunities. Having a well-thought-out strategy is vital to the recovery of your good name.

To learn how to effectively handle a PR nightmare, listen now!

Key Takeaways:

[1:20] What it means to be canceled

[2:10] Local versus a viral cancellation 

[5:00] Deciphering if you are legitimately in the wrong 

[6:10] How to respond to a personal attack 

[9:00] Issuing a genuine apology 

[10:40] Avoiding a PR nightmare: what to do and what not to do

[16:35] Women are held to a higher standard 


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The Legalpreneur Podcast is advertising/marketing material. It is not legal advice. Please consult with your attorney on these topics. Copyright Legalpreneur Inc 2022



Legalpreneur transcript:

Andrea Sager  00:03

Welcome to the Legalpreneur podcast. I’m your host Andrea Sager founder and CEO of Legalpreneur Inc. As a serial entrepreneur and someone that works exclusively with small business owners legally protecting their business. I’m dedicated to covering common legal issues faced by business owners, providing you with the business knowledge you need to catapult your business’s growth, and showing you just how some of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs have handled these legal and business issues themselves. In true attorney fashion, the information in this episode is not legal advice. This is for informational purposes only. And you should always consult with your attorney before implementing any of the information in the show.


Andrea Sager  00:46

Hello, there, happy Monday, welcome back, I have a treat in store for you today, this is going to be a really good in depth episode about getting canceled. This actually came up in conversation with a friend we were talking about just ridiculous cases of people getting cancelled. Because we were talking about my career as an attorney and how I used to really just consider myself a highly paid secret keeper. And I have seen so many people get canceled, quote unquote, canceled for ridiculous things. So I was like, You know what, this be a great podcast episode on what to do. If you get canceled. Now getting canceled, I really qualify this into two different categories, a local cancellation or a viral cancellation. And I’m going to explain Don’t worry, but basically how this episode is going to work, I’m gonna explain local versus viral, and then explain what to do in both of those situations. And then go over a couple of instances where people got canceled, and whether it was an appropriate response or not. So what it mean to get canceled.


Andrea Sager  02:00

Now this is a very, relatively new term to get cancelled. Basically, with the rise of the Internet getting canceled means that you have done or said something that has gotten a lot of traction online. And people are now basically ridiculing you. Maybe they’re abandoning your products and services abandoning you, as a business owner abandoning your like, whatever it is that you have, they are no longer a fan maybe, or they’re just not buying from you. They’re not listening to whatever it is you have going on. They leave it they don’t want any participation with that anymore. So it is a different definition for every instance. But basically, you’ve done something, and it is getting traction, and people are now no longer supporting you. Now local versus viral, a local cancellation, basically,


Andrea Sager  02:56

 I’ve seen this most commonly and it doesn’t mean like physically local, but I normally see this as when there’s a Facebook post that somebody writes about you. And there’s a lot of traction, people like there’s quite a few shares, there’s a lot of comments, people possibly reaching out to you on social media saying You’re awful. You’re like seeing so many mean things. And you guys, I have seen this happen so many times. And it’s ridiculous. And unfortunately, I’ve actually seen this happen more with females and not males. So the two bigger cases I’m going to discuss at the end of the episode are with females. And ultimately, these are the most relevant and prevalent cases of cancellation online. And the reason I picked those two is because they’re two females that a lot of people know. And they both provided a response that I want to comment on. And then I also want to point out that I really couldn’t find many instances of men being canceled, which I think says something in and of itself, but we’ll get that we’ll get to that in a minute.


Andrea Sager  04:08

Okay, so local cancellation, maybe just a social post that kind of get some traction, but it’s not crazy viral. Now viral is just what it sounds like it goes crazy viral, people you’ve never met, you’ve never heard of so many people just like commenting and giving their two cents and you’re just like, oh my gosh, I want to go in a hole and die and just delete all social media. Whatever it is, but virals, obviously she’s on a much bigger scale of getting canceled. I personally have dealt mostly with local cancellations. But I have dealt with all of them. And I just want to make sure we cover both. First of all, because you’re most likely if you’re going to go through being cancelled, it’s probably going to be a local cancellation.


Andrea Sager  04:54

So but we need to know how to assess both of them. Okay. So if there is an instance where you’re getting canceled. And don’t think like, you’re literally getting canceled from life or the internet, it’s just you’re getting some bad PR, some bad press about something. So local, if it’s a local cancellation, there’s two things I want you to think about. Are you actually in the wrong like, whatever you’re getting canceled about? Are you in the wrong about this? Or did the right person, get a crowd together to say mean things to you or about you, because these are going to provide two different responses. If you are legitimately in the wrong and take a good hard look, are you actually in the wrong here, and get very real with yourself. Because if you’re in the wrong, you probably do want to issue some type of apology, and work on it, not just oh, I’m sorry, or this was wrong, but actually do something to work on that. Because it’s not just putting a face out there, you actually need to become a better person, and make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Now, it’s a matter that you actually aren’t in the wrong, you didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s the right person that got a crowd together,


Andrea Sager  06:18

I’m gonna give you a different answer. Most of the time when this happens, because a lot of times when people get locally canceled, this is why it’s because the right person with you know, a following says things about you and people without checking the facts, they just tack on to whatever that person saying, when that happens. Typically, I tell you to do nothing. And it is so hard being the bigger person. Because you’re like, everything they’re saying is wrong, this is so awful, and maybe it possibly is hurting your business. But a lot of times, the best option is to do nothing and say nothing. However, I have seen this go both ways. So let’s say it is this situation, it’s the you didn’t do anything wrong, but the right person said things to get a crowd involved. Because in that situation, it possibly could amount to defamation. However, if it is actually a person with a crowd, and you want to send a letter, a cease and desist letter about defamation, it could backfire. Because ultimately, you’re probably not going to sue, you could like you could be in a position where you actually do want to and need to sue, but most of the time, you’re not in that position.


Andrea Sager  07:39

And if you send a blank threat, an empty threat, that person could vocalize that and say look what they sent me. And because I’ve seen this happen so many times on social media where, you know, especially on Tik Tok. Now, somebody Wilson posts a letter that maybe somebody sent them a cease and desist letter, and they’ll post it online. And that goes viral. And that’s bad press for the party that sent it. So you really have to weigh your options. It’s obviously a case by case basis. But when you didn’t do anything wrong, typically the best option is to do or say nothing. There are instances where it is appropriate to reach out whether yourself post something or have an attorney send a letter, but a case by case basis. Now, that’s the local cancellation of viral cancellation. Again, it depends on the impact of your business, your venture your life. But most of the time, no matter what, if you’re in the wrong or you are in the right, you want to issue some kind of apology,


Andrea Sager  08:45

because at that point, it is really damage control. And you need to issue some kind of apology. And, of course, do the work if you’re in the wrong to make sure it doesn’t happen again. So viral cancellation, you typically do want to put out some kind of public statement or make sure something is done. And if you are in the right, and somebody is they are actually defaming you. If it is a true viral cancellation, then that may be the instance where you do actually want to have an attorney reach out and actually truly weigh your options of Hey, should we actually sue this person or pursue this matter for defamation? But then you have to worry about with defamation is the truth is a defense. So if there’s any truth to it, you have no case there’s nothing you can do. Okay, so that’s the two types of cancellation. This is not like in a book somewhere. This is just what I’ve made up. This is what I’ve seen. So don’t think you’re gonna go like Google, a local cancellation or a viral cancellation like it’s not anywhere online. Like I’ve made this up based on what I’ve seen I mean, in my career as an attorney, and the local cancellations, what I, ice typically see those arise the most, when a client comes to me, and they’re like, hey, this person is infringing on my trademark, or copyright, whatever. And I reached out to them, and now they’ve posted all these hateful things online, and all of their friends and family, they’re coming after me in my business. So you have to be really careful on Who are you reaching out to what’s going on. Because when you do actually go to pursue someone that has a voice that has a following, it could backfire for a PR nightmare.


Andrea Sager  10:43

Even though you are in the right, if they have an audience that is going to follow them and not check any facts, then it could backfire more than it helps anything. So always assess the situation. Always, when this happens, make sure you just get your attorney involved. Of course, we have the Legalpreneur membership, all these, like if you were in the membership, and this happened, all of like the phone calls, the emails all that would be included the membership, you don’t have to pay for any communication, like that’s included in the membership. So if you’re like, oh my gosh, I need a Bongo, I gotta tell you what’s going on, like, absolutely included in the membership. Okay, so the two bigger cancellations that I’ve seen, are what I would just want to quickly mention, and the two responses.


Andrea Sager  11:27

So Marie Forleo, and Rachel Hollis, Marie Forleo, was canceled. I don’t even remember when this was I didn’t even look at the details, I just want to mention them. Marie Forleo, she was cancelled. I know it was a race thing. I want to say it was around the Black Lives Matter movement. Possibly it may have been like the George Floyd incident, I don’t know for sure, don’t quote me on that I didn’t want to look at the details, because I didn’t want to give too much because I don’t think Marie Forleo was too much in the wrong. Basically, she put out a statement. And then people lashed out at her because they believed her statement was not good enough. She didn’t do enough in her position, which I understand their position. However, Marie Forleo did more than a lot of other people. And at that point, she just was not educated. And what she did after that was do more to get educated. So I think for her, I think it was unnecessary backlash to get people in her position to understand like, hey, you need to do more like you are in this position of power. And you should be doing more to bring up these underrepresented minorities and the issues that are going on in the world today.


Andrea Sager  12:46

And so I think like initially, her response is what caused the backlash. But then her response after that was, I think that was it was beautiful, what she did after that, and what she has continued to do to build up black communities, Latino communities, and the like. Now on the other hand, we have Rachel Hollis, who has continued to be canceled, because I think, and clearly I’m like showing a bias here. Like I am more of a fan of Marie Forleo now than Rachel Hollis, I was never like a Rachel Hollis fan. But seeing her responses and seeing how she has been canceled in the media. That is not okay. Her responses seem to be like the true definition of like white power. And people in her position not doing enough. I think she had initially been canceled. And then she posted a tick tock or nose on Instagram, something about her housekeeper who’s Hispanic. And I believe she had said something like, there’s a reason that she makes what she makes and I make what I make. Basically just it was it was not okay. I encourage you to go look it up. But she just kept was like shooting herself in the foot with her responses. She didn’t own up to it. She didn’t think anything she did was wrong. And at that point, any statement that she put out afterwards, it just felt very forced. And I know people were just like eff this like just done listening to her and her message. I have no idea of that’s what started to lead to the demise of her marriage, which her ex husband Dave Hollis,


Andrea Sager  14:29

he actually did pass away in February. May he rest in peace. I was very, very sad. It actually rocked the entrepreneur world. He was an executive at Disney he left that position to work with his wife Rachel, and they grew that empire and then they divorced. And I think he had a no Chris harder. I think he went to the funeral. But I he had been hospitalized for some respiratory issues or something but he was home resting. And then like passed away. I think it was on a Saturday evening. In a very, very sad, but yeah, Rachel Hollis is an example of what not to do when you get canceled. I think Marie Forleo is a good example of what to do. That being said, it does upset me that it’s so easy to find women that have been canceled, versus men that have been canceled. Because over and over, we’re seeing that women are held to a different standard.


Andrea Sager  15:24

And it’s just becoming more prevalent in every area of life. And I just don’t think that’s okay. Anyways, so this is my episode on cancellation getting canceled. If you ever have any questions reach out. Yeah, we’ve got about a month left of the podcast before we go on a hiatus, and the first week of April. So next week, we will be recording in Austin at the Oracle headquarters. We’re going to invite a small audience. So if you’re in the Austin area, reach out if you would like to attend that live recording, it’s going to be with George plaas. He runs the NetSuite accelerator that I’ve mentioned a number of times in the podcast, podcast episodes recently and it’s the reason why I’m always an Austin lately. So if you would like to just be there and come meet me, George, other people from NetSuite, Oracle, I think it’s a great opportunity. And, yeah, let me know if you are interested, feel free to reach out on Instagram or you can shoot me an email. I’ll see you next time. Here at Legalpreneur, we’re committed to providing a supportive legal community for all business owners. I know how scary the legal stuff can be. If you found this information helpful, I would be so grateful if you could share it with a fellow business owner.


Andrea Sager  16:47

And quite frankly, it doesn’t cost anything to rate review or subscribe to the show. Your support helps me reach more listeners, which allows me to support more business owners in their entrepreneurial journey. Have any questions or comments about the show? Feel free to drop me a line on Instagram I promise I read all of the messages and comments. And if you want to be a guest on the show or know someone that would make a great guest simply fill out our application form and a team member will reach out if we think it’s a good fit. I’ll see you in the next episode.