Celebrities like Gal Gadot are not going to get us through the coronavirus crisis

We don't need the rich and the famous to chastise us from their mansions – we need their resources

Annie Corcoran
Sunday 22 March 2020 11:57 GMT
Comedians respond to Gal Gadot's Imagine video

This week, Gal Gadot released a video of herself and a collection of celebrities, each singing a line from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous song ‘Imagine’. Their aim was clearly to try and show how we are all going to get through this global pandemic together, one and the same – no matter our backgrounds.

However, with many people feeling increasingly powerless as their lives, incomes and homes come under threat, I’m afraid to say the video just came across as patronising and badly judged.

There is no doubt that we are all going through a difficult time, and we do need to pull together. However, the condescending input of a bunch of wealthy celebrities is not going to achieve this.

One particularly infuriating trend that seems to have emerged during this crisis (or at least become more obvious) is celebrities feeling empowered to chastise the rest of the population in an excruciatingly superior manner.

As an example, Chrissy Teigen – someone who is usually pretty in-tune with her audience – was quick to tell off us non-famous folk, who needed to be more forgiving (like her), when she took to Twitter to scold people for their justified reactions to Vanessa Hudgens’ insensitive comments about the current pandemic.

The former High School Musical star downplayed the seriousness of referring to the effects of the pandemic lasting till July as “bullshit” and told us it was "inevitable" that people would die. She seemed more concerned with how coronavirus might potentially ruin her summer plans, than how it was already ruining many lives.

The flip side of this, is celebrities admonishing their entire fan bases for not following official advice. Hilary Duff branded millennials as “assholes” for not staying in (despite being a millennial herself) and Taylor Swift was keen to talk about her “concern” that people weren’t taking social distancing seriously enough. While there are those who are not taking things seriously, there are plenty of people who are and don’t deserve to be lectured.

All of this serves a reminder that celebrities just aren’t like us. Many don’t understand that some people are simply unable to stay at home. They can’t afford to. If they can’t go to work, they risk losing everything. The majority of the population do not have access to the kind of wealth and resources that the 1% have hoarded.

Most can’t just drop everything and self-isolate away from vulnerable family members in one of their many properties, or pay for private medical treatment. It is hard to stomach being called an asshole by those who will most likely come out of this crisis relatively unscathed, with all their homes and wealth intact.

There are many ways celebrities could actually make a meaningful contribution to society during this time. If they really want to prove that we are all in this together, they could start by telling us how they are getting access to coronavirus testing, when frontline staff are going without. If they are buying the tests, maybe they could stop to think if their need is greater than that of a key worker.

Celebrities with the means to do so, could also focus on providing actual help to those less fortunate than themselves. Rather than making videos where they sing about imagining a world with no possessions; they could put their money where their mouth is and give some of their ridiculous wealth to those in need.

It is galling to think that whilst many are living from one payday to the next, if one of Hollywood’s finest were to donate even half of their wealth, they would still have plenty more than most. It is also infuriating to think that while the A-list are happy to tell us all to stay at home (from the comfort of just one of their many palatial pads, of course) they seem to forget that there are those who don’t have a home or somewhere safe to go.

There is a huge disconnect between the reality of the rich and famous and the rest of us, and their response to this pandemic has made that even more apparent. While their intentions may be honourable, the results have highlighted just how out of touch they are.

What people need right now is stability and security in a time when it is clear that our government and society are not equipped to deal with a crisis of this magnitude.

Practical help is what is needed. Resources are required. The rich and famous lecturing us on social media is something we really don’t need.

We don’t need them to patronise us and we certainly don’t need them to sing John Lennon songs into their front-facing cameras, as if it were the healing tonic the world needs.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in