Just when it seemed to have temporarily disappeared amid the presidential debates and renewed virus concerns, Cancel Culture is back with a vengeance, and this time it’s coming for any businesses so much as accused of racist behavior.
Months after the height of cancel culture, Yelp issued a “New Consumer Alert” stating “Yelp Takes Firm Stance Against Racism” on Thursday. Their latest move takes the saying “the customer is always right” to a new level.
— Yelp (@Yelp) October 9, 2020
VP of User Operations Noorie Malik announced the company will begin flagging businesses as racist, “when there’s resounding evidence of egregious, racist actions from a business owner or employee,” she wrote.
Yelp explained the first step they will take if a business is accused of being racist.
“We’ll default to a general Public Attention Alert to inform consumers if someone associated with the business was accused of, or the target of, racist behavior.”
This will result in “an alert on the business’s page to warn users that some of these reviews may not be based on first-hand experiences.”
The company has not indicated the businesses are entitled to any recourse in the face of false or illegitimate accusations.
Then, Yelp will take it upon themselves to investigate the issue and escalate the warning if they find merit.
“We’ll only escalate to a Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert when there’s resounding evidence of egregious racist actions from a business owner or employee, such as overtly racist slurs or symbols; and this alert will always link to a news article from a credible media outlet so users can learn more.”
However, what the online review company fails to acknowledge is the lack of any protections for the millions of businesses that pay to advertise and list on the platform.
Yelp does not clarify what will happen in the event of a false accusation of racism. It also does not explain whether flags can be removed.
Also, while Yelp’s latest announcement recognizes white-on-black racism, it does not acknowledge black on white racism, or any other dynamic for that matter.
A business should not be ostracized or prevented from getting business because someone simply accused them of racism. If Yelp wants to begin flagging businesses based on potentially baseless accusations, those establishments deserve the right to challenge those flags.
Platforms like Yelp should not take on the #MeToo mentality with race because in America, we believe people are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.