Canceled celebrities 2023: Who’s lost the most net worth?

Experts say it’s social media that delivers the financial hit

“If enough people on social media agree to ‘cancel’ you, then it doesn't matter how big your platform is, your livelihood will be affected.”

So says social media influencer Paige Michael, who has 171,000 Instagram followers on her fitness channel @peanutphysique. She knows the stakes because like anyone whose reputation is made online, she has seen firsthand how quickly and aggressively social media tides can turn a person—especially a celebrity—from massive success to target of boycott and online vitriol. 

What exactly does getting “canceled” look like? “People very much ‘team up’ and hide anonymously behind their phone screens to deteriorate someone's platform,” she told ConsumerAffairs. 

“The algorithms are designed to reward content that triggers strong emotional reactions, where users interact the most by sharing, leaving longer comments, and often immediately reacting to the post,” Cassaundra Kalba, senior publicist at Society22 PR, told us. “This mechanism can contribute to a mob mentality.”

It happens a lot and a ConsumerAffairs review of Internet estimates about canceled celebrities suggests the extraordinary size of the financial damage that can be done to whoever is being held accountable.

Most recently, actor Danny Masterson was roasted on social media after being convicted of rape. Musician R Kelly experienced a similar fate after being convicted of sexual abuse. Both reportedly saw their net worth decline.

Actor Kevin Spacey was recently acquitted of sex abuse charges in the U.K. But already, over the previous six years, the online reaction had cost him his reputation and tens of millions in net worth, according to The Things, an entertainment industry publication.

But some celebrities have been canceled for a lot less than criminal activity. Will and Jada Smith suffered a public relations disaster after Will Smith’s infamous slap of Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars but it didn’t seem to affect their pocketbook.

James Corden was publicly shamed after he allegedly yelled at the wait staff at a New York City restaurant. Armie Hammer found himself on the defensive in January 2021 after an anonymous Instagram account shared messages allegedly sent by Hammer, detailing conversations with women about sexual fetishes.

Anti-Semitic comments were costly to musician Kanye West in 2022. He has been dropped by everyone from his lawyer and agent to lucrative endorsement partners like Adidas.

Olivia Wilde came under a barrage of online criticism for the way she handled staffing issues during the production of “Don’t Worry Darling.”

Below is a chart of recently canceled celebrities and the estimate published on various websites, from Celebritynetworth to Yahoo, of what it has cost them. 

Photo

According to the chart, Elon Musk has seen the largest decline in net worth after he acquired and made changes at Twitter, changing the name to X. Comedian Dave Chappell, meanwhile, actually saw his net worth increase after being called out for including LGBTQ jokes in his routine.

Michael says cancel culture probably wouldn’t exist without social media. Kalba, the Society22 PR professional, agrees.

"The psychology behind social media interactions fuels cancel culture,” Kalba told us. “Users pile on the condemnation without fully understanding the situation at hand because doing so provides a sense of belonging and moral validation in a large, faceless virtual crowd.”

While holding individuals accountable is important, Kalba says, the rush to judgment seen in cancel culture raises important questions about fairness. 

“As we navigate this era, it is crucial to find a balance where mistakes are called and confronted, but there's also space for dialogue, growth and forgiveness by the public," she said.

Need cash now? Use our Personal Loans Tool to lock in great offers in minutes!