- You meet someone new at a party. They seem like a nice person you'd like to become friends with, so you invite them out for coffee with the intent of striking up a friendship. Later that evening, you find out that this person had, five years ago, done the bad act.
- Same as #1, but except instead of the bad act having occurred five years ago, it was committed in the immediate past and was currently in the process of coming to light (with whatever consequences that entails).
- You've been friends with someone for several years. They're not necessarily your BFF, but you're pretty close and you like them a lot. You find out, however, that five years before the commencement of your friendship, they had done the bad act. They never had mentioned this part of their history to you.
- Same as #3, but here the bad act was committed during the course of your friendship. Again, you had no knowledge of it and your friend had not mentioned it until now.
If you haven’t come to terms with [what Haywood did], I understand. I see people in the audience that can’t — I know a lot of people, for years, a lot of people since they were teenagers looked up to him, looked up to us, and they just refuse to believe it. You need to accept it … He is not coming back. He’s gone. I hope he doesn’t come back in any fashion, and we’re never going to talk about him again.
This is, perhaps, the clearest illustration of "cancel culture" operating in an idealized fashion -- actually being about accountability, but being very explicit that this entails fully cutting someone loose ("we're never going to talk about him again."). When they say there's not going to be any retrospective, there's not going to be a reunion, there's not going to be a big conversation about whether he's "done his time" -- that's what this is. And again, it's fully justified in this case. But this case also drove home just how agonizing that process is. It is not the case that severing a relationship with a close friend will ever be easy, no matter what terrible thing they've done. It will never be easy, and I daresay it should never be easy.
* If you're wondering how they could have not known, Haywood apparently made a habit of staying an extra day at the end of conventions and events -- saying that he wanted to spend time in the city or visit friends -- and it was then, after his colleagues had already flown home, that he would meet with his victims.