Nickelodeon briefly found its self targeted by cancel culture on April 23, all over a nearly eight-minute clip from the station’s long-running program, Nick News. This clip featured minority speakers from across the United States who are fighting against environmental damage done to their communities.
The first area featured a speaker from Duplin County, North Carolina, a small community which shares the county with a massive hog farm. The speaker in the video said that, growing up in Duplin, the stench made it difficult to play outside. She said the biological waste from the pigs gets into their pipes and drinking water. She said companies choose lower income areas to place their hog farms and that they disproportionately impact people of color.
The clip also featured Oak Flat, Arizona, a sight which Native Americans have spent years protecting from copper mining companies in court. The speaker, identified as Naelyn, started participating in her community’s activism when she was 9 years old.
Naelyn said the struggle to protect the environment is a struggle not just for her community but a struggle for the survival of humanity. In the case of copper mining, the removal of the copper would leave a two-mile wide crater as deep as the Eiffel Tower, and waste left by such operations cause cancer within their communities.
Youth Activist, Sabirah, blamed environmental racism for the poor air quality in her home city of Philadelphia. She said she became involved with activism based partly on inspiration from Greta Thunberg, and also because she hadn’t seen many Muslim women leading activist efforts.
Nickelodeon did not allow replies to the video, but several conservative Twitter users made their thoughts known with the “quote tweet” option.
Quote tweets outnumbered likes by more than two-to-one at the time of this writing, with several users accusing the network of “brainwashing children” or promoting “propaganda.” At least a few have threatened to call their local cable companies and demand the network’s removal. The results remain to be determined, but successful cancellation seems doubtful. Nick News has been a feature of Nickelodeon for nearly three decades and has always covered topics such as racism, the environment, body image, representation, and even more controversial subjects such as the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.