Thanks to the rise of social media, celebrities can easily and directly communicate with their fans and the world. But when a tragic event such as a global pandemic or war arises, should celebrities, with their huge platforms, speak up or just stay quiet?
The majority of celebrities tend to speak up to spread awareness about various social issues but this can miserably backfire; For example, Gal Gadot’s infamous video that featured herself and multiple celebs – like Will Ferrell, Sia and James Marsden – John Lennon’s Imagine singing was incredibly insensitive.
While Gadot intended for the video to inspire struggling people during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was ridiculous for these rich celebrities to sing about imagining “no possessions” while they spent lockdowns in huge mansions and didn’t have to worry about financial issues.
Now, with the Russo-Ukrainian war escalating due to Putin’s recent decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it’s unsurprising that various celebrities are once again weighing in. Some are tastefully sending thoughts and prayers to the innocent victims of the war, like Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo.
However, others are getting creative. Actress AnnaLynne McCord, best known for her roles on 90210, Nip/Tuck and Dallas, tweeted a video of herself reading a poem she wrote that’s addressed to Putin. Lines of the poem include “I’m so sorry I was not your mother” and “whatever your story Mister President Putin, I can’t imagine how it feels in your heart.”
Some Twitter users are praising McCord’s poem but most are calling it ‘cringe’ and ‘tone-deaf’.
In another vein, Oscar-winner Sean Penn is in Ukraine right now filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion. According to Varietythe actor – of Mystic River, Milk and Dead Man Walking fame – actually attended a press briefing that took place in the Ukraine capital, Kyiv, and listened to government officials speak about the crisis.
according to Newsweek, Penn has also met and spoken with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk and Ukrainian military members. The Ukrainian government actually released a statement that thanked Penn:
“[Penn] specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country. Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.”
While Penn should definitely be applauded for his actions, he’s in the minority when it comes to celebrities ‘getting involved’. For the most part, celebrities are out of touch with the common man and are usually not educated enough when it comes to grievous events or social issues; which is why they should refrain from commenting on these matters.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule; if a celebrity is spreading awareness about an issue in a tasteful way (à la Ruffalo), linking to reliable information on the issue, sharing a reputable place to donate to (that they’ve donated to themselves), or are committed to actually going to the forefront and helping as much as they can (like Sean Penn), then that’s A-OK.
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