Celebrities Fail to Understand Reality of Coronavirus

Emma Truchan, Features Editor

   In such times of crisis, it can be comforting to find information, advice, and predictions from trusted officials. Primarily, this means professionals: doctors, researchers, and (sometimes) our government. This does not include the input from celebrities and influencers that has recently skyrocketed on social media. From livestreaming the comfortability of their Los Angeles mansions to merely encouraging their fanbase to “unite” instead of donating a fraction of a vast reservoir of cash to helping the cause, A-listers have put in their fair share of COVID commentary. This content provides little solace for those who are out of work, confined to small abodes, or waiting in long lines in drive-thru food banks. Celebrity presence in this confusing and often tragic time simply highlights their blindness to the reality that most are facing, their egotism, and the socioeconomic results of combatting COVID-19.

   On an Instagram livestream, High School Musical Actress Vanessa Hudgens griped about the fear expressed toward the coronavirus outbreak and physical distancing. The former Disney star bluntly shared her thoughts on the matter. “Yeah… until July sounds like a bunch of b******t. But, like, it’s a virus. I get it. I respect it. But at the same time, even if everybody gets it […] people are gonna die. Which is terrible, but inevitable?” (instagram.com). Hudgens has since reversed her stance to actively promote physical distancing, but her initial comments provide candid insight to the perspective of the elite. Such public expressions of insensitivity show how celebrities’ self-centeredness prohibits them from experiencing the strife of the average person.

   So far detached from the world of mild to severe daily struggles that average Americans face, many celebrities seem simply oblivious to the weight of the pandemic. On Instagram, Wonder Woman Actress Gal Gadot featured a compilation of several celebrities participating in a cover of “Imagine” by John Lennon in an attempt to unify the public and show sympathy. The video features cameos of the likes of Amy Adams, Will Ferrel, Natalie Portman, and other big names from the comforts of their spacious lodgings (instagram.com). This went without any public donation to actually help those in need at this time. Junior Andrew Roosnovo commented, “The fact that the rich choose to hoard more money than they’d ever really need is upsetting in itself, but especially in a time like this.” Such attempts come across as opportunistic PR strategies to boost public opinion, rather than actual efforts to provide help for the thousands of Americans struggling.

   Though some A-listers have noted that they’ve struggled to get tested for the virus, the New York Times writes, “[G]enerally, celebrities of all kinds appear to have had a far easier time getting diagnoses.” Entire NBA teams, like the Brooklyn Nets, as well as individual celebrities, like Hiedi Klum, have had access to tests seemingly much faster than average Americans (nytimes.com). Such privilege and comfort provides a stark contrast to the grim reality that many are currently facing. California currently has the most pending test results, up to 60,000, and wait times as long as 12 days, according to Time Magazine (time.com). Many don’t even have access to testing kits, says National Public Radio (npr.org). This disparity in acquisition and wait time emphasizes the effect of one’s socioeconomic status on coping with this crisis.

   Many have complained of the elite’s detachment from the reality wherein many of us live, but the circumstance that COVID-19 has forced us into has exposed how wide the gap between reality and celebrity paradise truly is. From apathy to the strife of others, to their obliviousness regarding the gravity of the pandemic and blatant privilege in testing/treatment for COVID-19, the elite have proven that they are not the answer to the comfort that we need.