The controversy began with Eminem’s 2010 collaboration with Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie.” The lyric “I know I’m a liar/If she ever tries to f—kin’ leave again, I’ma tie her/To the bed and set this house on fire” has sparked outrage on social media, especially on TikTok. It’s the rapper’s most commonly quoted example of questionable lyrical content, and a major explanation for the growing “cancel Eminem” campaign.
A increasing number of TikTok users have used the lyric to demand that Eminem be barred from TikTok and other platforms for promoting a misogynist and violent message.
Furthermore, similar to the recent fallout for country singer Morgan Wallen, the attempted cancellation may result in Eminem being dropped by radio stations, his label, and other music industry partners and collaborators.
Part of the issue is that Eminem delivers the “Love the Way You Lie” refrain with such intensity that it seems as if he really believes in such violent acts.
Is he, however, sincere? Rihanna described the song as “authentic and honest,” adding that Eminem “basically broke down the cycle of domestic violence” in it.
Though Eminem is now being held responsible for the lyrical refrain as if he is promoting the acts themselves, that is a definition of role-playing to highlight a societal issue.
The repercussions are only beginning to be felt, but the attempted cancellation has already sparked some opposition. Many users (on TikTok and elsewhere) are debating whether Eminem is deserving of such a harsh rebuke. The rapper’s name has become synonymous with divisive lyrics and the personification of problematic characters over the course of his career, but does it make sense to end the career of a rapper who thrives on controversy and haters?