I'm a longtime lover of true crime and podcasts as separate entities, so naturally, Sword and Scale is one of my favorites. For background, Sword and Scale bluntly describe stories of gruesome murders, abuse, and other unspeakable crimes, staying true to their tag line "The worst monsters are real."
It's produced by Incongruity Media, under the wing of the podcast network Wondery. Both Sword and Scale and Incongruity's newer podcast, Monstruo, have received backlash from the beginning due to their graphic nature. I agree with the creators of these shows in that it's no different from watching a crime show on TV, but I digress...
As a long-time listener of the show, I was shocked and saddened to get a notification this week for, instead of a new hour-long episode, a seven-minute one titled "Important Announcement - The End of Sword and Scale". The announcement was basically Mike Boudet, the show's host, ranting for seven minutes about how continuous internet backlash led the show to be dropped by Wondery and their sponsors (which is how podcasts are funded, just like radio ads).
After hearing the news, I was initially shocked and upset, but then I went on Twitter and discovered the immediate reason for the five Incongruity Media podcasts being dropped: not the backlash from the show itself, but a post on Sword and Scale's Instagram account.
I'm not going to include the post here because of its inappropriate and possibly triggering content, but it was definitely grounds for me to re-think my feelings about this whole situation. If you really want to see the post in question, just search the Sword and Scale tag on Twitter and you'll find it easily.
Should Wondery have dropped Mike Boudet and his team from the network because of pressure from one post? I don't think so, but I do understand where they're coming from. Sword and Scale didn't only represent itself, it represented Wondery and the companies that sponsored them, and that post did not represent anyone well.
Sure, freedom of expression is important, but when you're representing other people's livelihoods there should be a certain level of professionalism.
When it comes to matters like these, it's difficult to come to a consensus on what's "right" and "wrong". The internet is a platform of self-expression and allows for people to express themselves creatively, in outlets like the podcast world and Odyssey. This allows for beautiful, fantastic art to come about but it also produces endless gray area.
The culture war continues, and with war comes casualties.