To make void; revoke; annul
Historically, events could be ‘cancelled’, in response to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. People who had bought tickets may have been disappointed, but they usually received a refund. Nowadays, people are being cancelled if they say something that is considered to be beyond the pale or they express the wrong political opinions. No refunds are issued, and the cancelled person often loses their livelihood.
When a public figure such as a comedian, celebrity or politician transgresses, Twitter storms of outrage are generated, often supported by respectable newspapers and broadcasters. Erasing them from the public sphere helps to educate the public on what is now acceptable and the devastating consequences of saying the wrong thing. In this way, liberally minded people are protecting the public space from the dangers of spontaneous expression. Destroying individuals for their views is the best way to make society free.
“I’ve scrolled though 20,000 of your tweets and in 2008, you used hate speech. CANCELLED!”