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For the second night in a row a heated discussion erupted between hosts on The Project, with Waleed Aly and guest panellist Rachel Corbett disagreeing after Chrissy Teigen’s apology for her past cyber-bullying during Wednesday night's show.
Chrissy Teigen this week apologised for her "awful, awful" old tweets directed at Courtney Stodden, which at the time she believed to be "crude, clever, harmless", though she now says, "I was a troll, full stop. And I am so sorry".
Rachel put full blame on Chrissy for her past actions trolling people on Twitter, particularly pointing out the death threats that were part of that.
"I don’t believe in cancel culture. I don’t think we should cancel people for their bad behaviour because it doesn’t give any encouragement to learn, grow, change, whatever," Rachel said.
"But I can fundamentally say as a person, you make mistakes in the past but making death threats. That’s something above and beyond. Can you really change from the person who used to do that at one point? Do you change that much as a person?"
Waleed instead argued the platforms on social media were also to blame, encouraging people to make awful comments.
"Let’s be honest, the line between death threats and bullying is shrinking and becoming fuzzier as a result of social media. That’s what the platform is. (Chrissy) was joining pile-ons," he said.
Rachel was clearly shocked responding that the platform doesn't "absolve her of personal responsibility".
"You can’t say it’s a fault of the platform," she added.
But Waleed disagreed. “I can say that, and it’s not the same as absolving her from responsibility. But it absolutely is a result of the platform. If we’re going to pick out the people who do the wrong thing and attack them, well great, do that if you want, but you’re solving nothing."
Clearly frustrated, Rachel pointed out you are still responsible for your own behaviour on any platform.
Waleed again disagreed, saying: "It’s not that you can say it’s not your responsibility but the platform absolutely does drag people into that and we see that time and time and time again. I don’t know why we don’t just be honest about that. The problem is the machine. You’ve got to blow up this machine.
"I’m not taking the responsibility away. But the two things are not mutually exclusive. Some platforms drive us into worse behaviours than other platforms, that’s just a fact," he added, leading to another outburst from Rachel.
"That drives me nuts," she said. "As someone who would never behave (badly) on that platform, why am I trying to be a good person if I can just say, ‘Oh, well, the platform made me do it’."
"No, I’m not saying the platform made me do it, but I’m saying the platform creates that environment and encourages it," Waleed countered.
"I would love to know how many people are piling on to Chrissy Teigen and making death threats and I’d be surprised if the answer is zero."
Waleed and @RachelCorbett have a heated discussion about people's behaviour on social media, and where the responsibility ultimately lies - with the platform, the person, or a mix of both? #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/VS4qQAC0Bq
— The Project (@theprojecttv) June 16, 2021
Viewers hit out at The Project host Waleed
After the segment however, viewers took to social media to share their own thoughts on the matter, with many calling out Waleed for his argument.
On person on Twitter sarcastically said: "I agree with Waleed. Whenever I hit someone with a stick, I always blame the stick!"
While another pointed out The Project host "has never been active on Twitter, so he cannot opine authoritatively on it."
"I've been on this platform for some years now Waleed & I've yet to suggest someone kill themselves, no matter how abusive someone was to me," another said, agreeing with Rachel's points.
There were a few that agreed with Waleed though, with one person writing: "Waleed is right though, platforms *do* encourage it. The person attacked trends, those who join in on the attack get likes and are pushed to the top, and because of it they gain followers. It is absolutely a system that allows people to directly benefit from joining attacks."
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