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"Is that what cancel culture's devolved to?" Why everyone is talking about James Corden.

In recent months, the tide has really turned on James Corden.

The late night TV host and Gavin & Stacey actor is best known as a self-deprecating funny Brit - and the guy who does Carpool Karaoke.

But for a while now, there have been mutterings that Corden is not 'nice'.

Does this sound familiar? Earlier in 2020, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres faced severe criticism following a raft of allegations from past employees about how her kindness was a front.

Plus in July, BuzzFeed News published an investigative piece that outlined the "toxic work culture", including a black woman who says she experienced racist comments. There are also allegations of sexual misconduct on set.

The employees told the publication that they "faced racism, fear, and intimidation". Importantly, most of the accusations were levelled at the executive producers and managers working on the show, and not DeGeneres herself. 

The internet was swift and decisive: DeGeneres was 'cancelled'. Not in a practical sense (her show returned in September, despite many demanding it not go ahead), but in a social sense. DeGeneres' reputation is now irreparably damaged, and the Ellen who had become a broadly positive pop culture icon was gone. 

Offline, DeGeneres made staffing changes, held her job and addressed the issues in a five-minute apology during the first episode of the show's latest season.

But the damage is clear: the ratings drop in its first week back was 38 per cent.

Ironically, when questions remained about DeGeneres' future, there was speculation Corden could replace her as host of the daytime show.

But in the past week, there have been signs Corden's reputation could be heading the same way. 

What are the rumours about James Corden?

A lot of this is not 'new', but in the last week the internet - and a fellow comedian - have been talking about how Corden is not 'nice'. 

First, let's back up a little to past allegations.

In his homeland, Corden was painted as ungrateful and entitled, especially after moaning about Gavin & Stacey not being nominated for the 2008 best comedy BAFTA award.

There are articles about Corden's perceived attitude floating around from 2017, and in 2010 there was commentary about a very awkward, very public run in he had with Sir Patrick Stewart.

See below, and prepare to feel... uncomfortable:

In 2019, Corden made an appearance on Reddit's AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread to promote a special edition of Carpool Karaoke, but it massively backfired.

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Comments calling Corden names hijacked the thread. With more than 700 comments, Corden and his team were reportedly only able to answer about three fan questions before leaving the conversation.

Comments called him rude, an a***hole and much worse.

One person claimed Corden had "allegedly showed up to a WGA [Writer's Guild Of America] union meeting for late night writers with an executive producer and none of the writing staff" and advocated less pay for new writers under their union-negotiated minimum wage.

Corden had previously denied this was the case.

Murmurs of his attitude resurfaced when Corden's name was floated as a replacement for DeGeneres, with Twitter users claiming doing so would replace one problematic talk show host with another just as problematic.

Fast forward a month or so to October 22 of this year, and Vanity Fair published a profile on comedian Eric Andre - who was another name in the mix as DeGeneres' successor.

Image: Getty.

In criticising cancel culture, Andre may have helped the internet justify Corden's.

"We have a psychopath in the White House and we're in the longest war of all time. It seems like small potatoes compared to the world crumbling into these right-wing authoritarian dictatorships and these industrialised nations," Andre began.

"Boohoo, Ellen was mean. Who gives a s***? I never thought she was nice! She seems like she’d be like, 'F***ing get me a coffee! Now!'

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"Is that what cancel culture's devolved to? 'That guy's not nice!' James Corden is f***ed if that's the only criteria to get called out.

"James Corden and [The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon executive producer] Lorne Michaels are screwed! They're trembling in their f***ing boots."

Andre has a point.

If a famous person is held to an impossibly high standard - of being nice to everyone they meet, of always being in a good mood and 'nice' - then surely they are all destined for cancellation?

If a pattern emerges, sure - that's worth examining and scrutinising. But no one can meet the expectation of being nice all the time.

Within days of the Andre interview, Instagram account Deux Moi (which shares mostly anonymous messages about celebrities/pop culture, sent in by followers) had posted several stories alleging negative interactions with Corden.

Deux Moi does not confirm statements, and as far as this writer can tell, they all came from anonymous Instagram users.

Among them was someone whose co-worker said Corden dropped his jacket on the ground at the Met Gala and when he was told he needed to check it in, replied "someone will handle it".

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Another account claimed they had served Corden and other diners (including Harry Styles) at a London restaurant and he had been rude to wait staff.

"He screamed at me when his meal came out because it wasn't what he wanted," their message said.

This was shared alongside a screenshot from the previously mentioned AMA, where a commenter said:

"Me and my friends sat at a table next to you and Harry Styles + some others in Manchurian Legends in London's Chinatown about six years ago. We didn't bother you but you were a massively entitled c*** who yelled and treated the waitstaff like shit, and when one of my party politely suggested you calm down, you got really aggressive and threatening."

(One positive: Harry Styles remains unscathed. Maybe we can have nice things.)

Other Deux Moi claims allege Corden is a serial 'food returner'.

Among the posts, there were also messages from people who had different accounts of Corden and found these hard to believe.

"My husband has worked with [Corden] a couple of times... He said James was just the most congenial, happy-go-lucky [person], cracking jokes from the moment he came on, knows how to make fun of himself and puts the people around him at ease."

What has James Corden said?

Nothing addressing the most recent round of claims, yet.

But in January 2020, Corden admitted he began to "behave like a brat" and let fame get to his head earlier in his career - especially in 2008, when the British press and public blasted him for complaining about Gavin & Stacey's BAFTA nominations.

"I started to behave like a brat that I just don't think I am," he told the New Yorker.

"It's so intoxicating, that first flush of fame. And I think it’s even more intoxicating if you're not bred for it."

Feature image: Getty.

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