How celebrities are reacting to COVID-19—from charitable to cringeworthy
Through social media, people can follow and connect with some of their favorite film and television actors, artists, singers, professional athletes, reality stars, and other prominent media figures. Growing social media usage means more people are exposed to the statements celebrities express publicly. And because many believe with great power comes great responsibility, the things celebrities say on social media may be perceived with heightened significance during the current coronavirus pandemic.
Celebrities and public figures have often used their social clout and wealth to promote various causes. While most celebrities are not medical experts and thus not primary sources of health and safety information, it's generally believed that their vast social media presence can promote knowledge and ideas meaningfully.
Amid the current coronavirus pandemic, many celebrities have gone the extra mile to donate face masks and ventilators to health care providers. Others have amplified discussions to help those who are especially devastated by the current pandemic. However, it seems a handful of other celebrities are using their power and social influence irresponsibly. Some have spread misinformation that could prove to be harmful. Others have expressed defiance toward stay-at-home orders or total callousness towards the casualty rate of the virus.
Several prominent figures may have had good intentions with their public statements, but the public may have viewed them as hypocritical if those statements weren't paired with the willingness to donate personal wealth. In fact, many of these celebrity reactions have been viewed as empty, tone-deaf, and overly sentimental.
Stacker scoured local and national news websites from March 2020 onward to compile 25 charitable and 25 cringeworthy celebrity reactions to the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to see if any of your favorite celebrities have been acting in goodwill or in bad faith.
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Popstar Lady Gaga and the group Global Citizen took the lead in a music festival called "One World: Together at Home," which took place on April 18, featured artists like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, and Lady Gaga herself, and benefited the World Health Organization. Even before the concert, which raised $128 million, Lady Gaga herself raised $35 million for WHO.
"Wonder Woman" star Gal Gadot thought that she could raise spirits by virtually gathering several film stars for a group rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine," but it didn't have the quite same effect as "We Are the World." While featuring actors such as Will Ferrell, Mark Ruffalo, and James Marsden, the video from this ensemble of celebrities was lambasted for lacking in any real action.
Legendary country star Dolly Parton made an extraordinary contribution to help combat the coronavirus, giving to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center as they research and develop potential treatments for COVID-19. Parton has a history of making charitable donations, and her $1 million donation will undoubtedly aid in the search for a cure.
"High School Musical" and "Spring Breakers" actress Vanessa Hudgens made comments regarding COVID-19 in an Instagram video that were characterized as insensitive. Hudgens in the video stated: "Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible... but inevitable?" She has since apologized for the remarks.
Jay-Z and Meek Mill
Rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill are behind the organization called Reform Alliance, which aims to reform the United States criminal justice system. With prisoners being largely at risk from COVID-19 due to their confined environments, Reform Alliance saw fit to send 100,000 face masks to several prisons.
In mid-March, "Lost" and "Ant-Man" star Evangeline Lilly expressed defiance toward stay-at-home orders. An Instagram post from the actress showed that she was still dropping her children off at gymnastics camp while attaching the hashtag "#businessasusual." The post was seen by many as irresponsible.
Superstar singer and artist Beyoncé has participated in several charitable acts relating to COVID-19, but one such donation was with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Beyoncé's BeyGOOD Foundation and Dorsey's #startsmall initiative donated $6 million to mental health organizations in several metropolitan areas, including Houston, New York, New Orleans, and Detroit.
Sports fans were shocked when the NBA completely suspended operations due to the pandemic, with the news even interrupting a Utah Jazz game. It had turned out that Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus—but not before he mockingly touched all of the microphones and recorders in a press room in response to the virus panic, creating a major safety hazard.
Rapper Future has been leading initiatives through his FreeWishes Foundation. During the pandemic, FreeWishes has teamed up with Atlanta Sewing Style to make masks for hospital workers and infected patients. With masks being amongst the medical supplies high in demand and low in supply, this "#MaskOn Campaign" from Future will certainly make hospitals just a little safer.
Rapper Gucci Mane isn't a stranger to controversy, but his latest had observers mark him as significantly insensitive. The rapper very simply tweeted, "I pray my haters die of corona virus," followed with a face mask emoji. As the death toll in the United States has climbed, the tweet from Gucci Mane has been looking increasingly worse.
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