Date of Award

Summer 8-27-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Public Relations


Jiang, Hua


Brand Reputation, Cancel Culture, Goya, Image Restoration Theory, Social Media, Twitter

Subject Categories

Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Cancel culture is becoming a relevant topic for public relations practitioners because of its negative impact on brand reputation. When brands do or support a wrongful action, consumers involved in cancel culture will use this as a reason to boycott a brand. This thesis aims to answer four research questions: (1) What are some key social media trends for brands that encounter cancel culture, (2) How do audiences, who engage in cancel culture, respond to brands that face cancel culture, (3) What do consumers' emotional responses tell us about their relationship with the brand, and (4) What can brands learn from listening to consumers' suggestive responses online. In this context, this thesis will focus on this definition of cancel culture: a new social media phenomenon aiming to boycott people, companies and systems for misaligning with social values.

A case study on Goya Foods was used to answer these research questions along with a mixed-method approach. Focusing on the brand, social listening was conducted to learn about what consumers said about Goya in online conversations and identify their sentiment of the brand's overall actions. This was followed by content and thematic analysis conducted on 200 Twitter tweets using various hashtags. The results revealed that the consumers held negative sentiment toward the brand as well as showed various negative emotions when engaging in the act of canceling the brand which led to Goya's overall negative reputation.Based on these results, it is recommended for brands to take some sort of image restoration strategy to fix their reputation and relationship with their publics. It is also recommended for brands to listen to their publics' responses to prevent further damage from cancel culture.


Open Access

Included in

Communication Commons



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