It used to be a funny scene in one-too-many dystopian or apocalyptic movies — the out-of-touch celebrity who wonders why everyone’s panicking in the midst of a pandemic or a zombie apocalypse.
This refers to the social media mob that went after record producer David Geffen after he posted a photo of his quarantine life: him enjoying the sunset in his $590 million superyacht while he isolates himself in the Grenadines to avoid the virus. He capped off the post with an “I’m hoping everybody is staying safe.”
A Viral Post
It didn’t take long for the billionaire’s post to earn him a spot on Twitter’s trending list as thousands of people ridiculed him, expressing their rage. His wish for everyone to “stay safe” was not enough to mask the fact that he was flashing his privilege while people got sick from COVID-19, lost their jobs and struggled to survive during the pandemic.
David Geffen and the social media mob story says much about a new reality during COVID-19: if there was a fourth wall dividing stars from the rest of social media, the quarantine has (temporarily) broken it.
As normal people worry about their jobs, how to get food, should they hire residential plumbers or fix the problem themselves, celebrities are posting IG photos of their mansions, high profile vehicles, and lavish lifestyles — simply because, well, they’re bored.
Since the stars are left to their devices and are bored, they speak freely. And the results of their social media habits have been decidedly mixed.
How the Stars are Quarantining
Like Geffen, some stars have revealed themselves to either be oblivious or ignorant with the world’s situation. For example, Jennifer Lopez, who is quarantined with celebrity lover Alex Rodriguez, posted a video of her son riding his hoverboard and enjoyed the sun. “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens got herself into hot water when she let fans know that the deaths due to COVID-19 were “terrible” but also “like, inevitable?”
Evangeline Lilly is probably one of the most controversial. The celebrity refused to self-quarantine, saying that some people “value freedom over their lives,” which suggested that she hadn’t realized the full impact of the virus on others. Arnold Schwarzenegger joins her on the list of controversial quarantining celebrities when he reminded everyone about the importance of social distancing while he enjoyed his cigar in his bubbling Jacuzzi.
But there are celebrities who have made efforts in helping raise awareness or offer solace for followers. John Legend, Christ Martin and Shawn Mendes each gave intimate concerts at home. Lizzo played the flute while offering a “mantra to promote healing.” So there’s hope.
But there are still woeful miscalculations.
COVID-19 Made Us All Equal?
The social media mob went after Gal Gadot and her celebrity friends when they shared their rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Understandably, they released the video with the intention of unifying everyone against the effects of COVID-19. But the stories surrounding the video (plus the cringe-worthy singing from some stars) triggered the uproar. “The Wonder Woman” star mused that she felt a bit philosophical after being quarantined at home. Simply put, she believed the virus united everyone.
Madonna had her share of cringe-worthy comments. Soaked in her bathtub filled with roses and water, the celebrity expressed a similar statement, saying that COVID-19 has made everyone equal in many ways.
Equality is a nice thought ,but it is also debatable. The pandemic has shed light into the inequities of the healthcare system. Celebrities who’ve had COVID-19, such as Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, update the public with their COVID-19 status while the rest of the population wait for their chance to access same tests and care easily.
Celebs Vs. Celebs
Another kind of drama sprung from the celebrity ignorance to COVID-19. Stars speaking directly about the disparity were a refreshing episode. For example, Fran Drescher (“The Nanny”) reteweeted a call for a general strike, speaking about capitalism and how the elite are profiting from the expense of more important issues.
Pop star Britney Spears also shared a Mimi Zhu quote on her Instagram. The message, which called for wealth redistribution, was complemented by Spears’ caption: “Communion goes beyond walls.” Joining her was Cardi B, who told off fellow artists who had money for testing and treatment. The star demanded the government to fund public testing, as well as added that the pandemic could have been prevented once the government caught word about its existence. ;
The pandemic has surely showed everyone’s true colors, including your favorite celebrity’s. But it shouldn’t stop you from still believing the best and doing your part in the fight against COVID-19. Just don’t settle for PSAs in a Jacuzzi.