It’s The Morning Show’s charismatic meteorologist, Yanko Flores, who finds himself “cancelled”. Early in the season, Yanko makes an off-hand remark about Trump’s border wall while at a dinner party, which sees his new boss Stella (Greta Lee) take umbrage with what she perceives as his right-wing tendencies.
“I think it’s interesting because he’s pegged as a Republican,” Nestor Carbonell, the man who plays Yanko, tells us. “I don’t think he ever comes out and says it? I think there is a tendency to want to put people in boxes, and I think that’s always been the case, but we’re in a much more polarising time politically here, at least here in the US.”
“And because we’re in such polarising political times,” he continues. “There’s even more of a desire to put people in boxes and say, Well, what camp Are you in? What team are you on? And I think with Yanko, he feels he’s been placed in a box by his new boss, this news director.”
To Carbonell, Yanko’s story this year is about exploring what he describes as the slightly more “insidious” and “dangerous” side of modern-day cancel culture. That immediate impulse so many of us have to judge someone for doing something we don’t like without taking the time to examine their actions or get to know the person based on our own biases.
While Carbonell doesn’t think that freedom of speech should protect potentially harmful speech from criticism, he worries about the dangers of cancel culture. For him, the threat comes from the anonymity (and therefore the lack of repercussions) that social media can provide to potentially malicious people.
“When people are determined. When they’re hell-bent on destroying you, destroying your career, and your livelihood, then social media becomes a really dangerous tool,” he explains. “A really dangerous arm, and there’s no accountability on the person making those claims. You know, they can say whatever they want, and nothing happens to them. So I love that [the writers] tackle this issue because I think we’re in a very dangerous time – we’re living in a time where, you know, everyone’s watching their back. Comedians can’t do their sets anymore for fear of being cancelled.”
To Carbonell, it’s all about motive. If you’re saying something to be deliberately hurtful or out of hate, that’s when it crosses the line, and his character Yanko certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone. Instead, Stella judges him based on her perception of events, and it’s this nuance that appealed so much to Carbonell going into the second season.
“I think [Stella’s] put him in a box, you know, that he’s this conservative guy, a hardcore, right-leaning Trump-supporting guy,” he said. “I think that relationship never recovers from that moment. You know she hasn’t even bothered to investigate where he is politically, not that it really matters, nor should it really matter. He’s just trying to do his job, when this issue comes up.”