“Imagine”… no celebrities?

With the recent developments of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems like the world has come to a screeching halt. Streets are virtually empty, the economy is suffering, and it feels like I’m risking my life just by stepping out of the house. So it’s safe to say that things are a little hectic and scary right now. So where do people turn to when chaos is occurring. Why, the internet of course.

Enter the “anti-celebrity” campaign that’s been gaining support over the past few days. For those who may not be aware, this campaign consists of people calling out celebrities on their tone-deaf comments regarding the pandemic and the concept of social distancing.

It all started when Gal Gadot, the star of Wonder Woman, posted a video of her and many other celebrities singing the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. The video, which now has over 9 million views on Instagram, consisted of celebrities singing lyrics such as “Imagine no possessions – I wonder if you can.” I guess their intention was to spread the message that everyone is going through this pandemic, with their slogan being “We are in this together, we will get through it together.”

Needless to say, it caused a firestorm. 

People responded with rage, calling the video tone-deaf and out of touch. Responses varied from calling the video a form of self promotion, to annoying and cringe worthy, with one commenter even calling it “disgusting” and another calling it “cynical”. People questioned how Gadot and co. could even have the audacity to post the video, seeing that they are currently sitting in their multi-million dollar mansions with spacious yards, home gyms, and pools. 

From here on, it started. People ranging from Ellen DeGeneres, who got a lot of criticism for referring to her $24 million home as “jail”, to Priyanka Chopra, who clapped on the balcony of her multi-million dollar home as her “tribute” to health care workers, have dealt with the same backlash. Now, people are demanding answers out of celebrities as to why they haven’t been donating some of their millions to help fund relief and research programs. Many are responding by rejecting the celebrity’s attempt at quelling panic and asking them to just “write a check.”

They don’t want to hear about a celebrity’s time in quarantine, seeing as celebs will never understand what it is like to be isolated into a small space for months, or to lose their jobs during the pandemic and rely on measly stimulus checks to survive. The people have zero sympathy or empathy for the millionaires. 

Even now, when any news related to today’s entertainment stars, such as Taylor Swift or Jennifer Lopez, comes out, people respond with comments along the lines of “Who cares? We’re in the middle of a pandemic!”. Needless to say, anti-celebrity culture is brewing. 

Now here’s my opinion.

I’m kind of stuck in the middle of this issue. I understand that self-quarantine can be very difficult to everyone. It’s hard to stay inside all day, every day. Especially when today’s society and culture consists of constant traveling and movement in the workplace. Isolation can drive anyone crazy, so it’s unfair to say that celebs are unable to feel the effects of quarantine. 

However, I agree with some of these comments. While I don’t think it’s fair to force people to donate their own money, it is hard to feel sympathetic for them in this specific circumstance. Staying in a spacious mansion with a huge yard and all the technology one could possibly want is not the same as being stuck in a 800 sq ft apartment 24/7. Celebrities have millions and millions in their bank account. On the other hand, 30 million Americans were forced to file for unemployment, and are panicking on how they will be able to afford rent or food. 

And yeah, comparing your mansion to jail is kind of annoying.

And although I understand that many of these celebrities may have their best intention at heart, the last thing the world needs right now is a video of them singing a bad rendition of “Imagine” (seriously, some of these people cannot sing). 

So all in all, I mostly agree with the people on this one. I don’t think this calls for a culture and class revolution, as many others suggested, but I think that celebrities need to understand that their experiences are not the same as the rest of the world’s experiences. It was foolish of them to think that they could relate to, say, a working cashier or even a middle class family. It’s clear that they wanted to spread attention on the issues of this pandemic, and they succeeded. Just, not the attention they were going for.