What Happens When Your Influencer Partner Gets Canceled? 

Key points
        • Speak up against issues and drop creators that violate your policy
        • Partner with micro-influencers and nano-influencers with a proven track record of reliability and professionalism 
        • Consider having a clear code of conduct prior to partnering with influencers
        • Want more? Check out our Guide to Generating Quality Content.
        • Connect with Mavrck for a demo and see how we can help brands manage their influencer marketing strategies


Picture this: you’re getting ready to activate a campaign with an influencer your brand is excited about when unsavory details about their conduct come out. Now, you’re feeling uncomfortable about having them represent your brand.

Chances are, the influencer is about to get immersed in cancel culture, which occurs when widespread backlash over a public figure’s behavior negatively impacts their career. When an influencer is canceled, there are typically significant ramifications, like steep drops in follower counts and clout, and professional opportunities rescinded. And of course, if their wrongdoings have legal ramifications, they should face the full extent of the law.

#InfluencerIsCanceledParty is trending. Now what?

Influencers typically have the opportunity to redeem themselves with a sincere apology and promised actions to improve themselves depending on their action’s severity. The influencer’s critics and fans may accept this as penance, or they may not. Some influencers have been noted to gain followers and notoriety following bad behavior, like the Paul brothers’ mega-follower empire that continues to grow after slews of criticized content

But that in itself highlights the gamble brands take when partnering with bigger names. Mega-influencers – and macro-influencers, at times – are more likely to be controversial figures compared to their micro counterparts. What it comes down to is what kind of influencers would resonate with your brand the best.

How brands can protect themselves

While influencer cancelation may or may not resonate with a creator’s most devoted fans, brands should take a hard look at their influencer partners before determining a course of action. Brands should also keep in mind that their audience may criticize the canceled influencer’s brand partners just as harshly, which results in the bad press that any brand would want to avoid. 

Here’s how brands can work through a partner cancelation

      • Use this time as an opportunity to reevaluate your overall creator strategy
      • Consider dropping your problematic influencer in favor of creators who are more closely aligned with your brand values
      • Partner with micro-influencers and nano-influencers more often as opposed to bigger names
      • Monitor your social media platforms closely for follower questions and concerns
      • If you don’t have a code of conduct for your influencer partners, consider drafting something with the help of your public relations and human resources departments to guide influencer relationships

We also recommend getting in touch with your company’s public relations team to see if they recommend issuing a statement over the influencer’s conduct. This will also help brand representatives to respond to press questions if necessary. 

How creators can recover their reputation

If you’re a creator who is worried about getting caught in cancel culture’s current, here are a few things you can do to mitigate your risk:

        • If you’ve made a mistake that upsets your audience, own that mistake
        • Acknowledge the criticism’s validity – and work toward improvement in an actionable way
        • Apologize to anyone you’ve hurt, to your audience and to the brands that support you. 
        • If you need more education in a certain area, avoid placing that burden on your followers

Influencers and creators aren’t the only ones who can encounter cancel culture. Brands have faced cancelation in the past due to inappropriate products, problematic company names and likenesses,
insensitive social commentary and much more. Brands who are working toward recovering their reputation – or protecting themselves to prevent being canceled – can look to these recommendations to help.