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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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It’s okay for Met Gala celebrities to avoid politics

Thursday

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During this year’s Met Gala, as some celebrities donned dramatic dresses made of sand or thousands of crystals, there was a noticeable absence of political statements. Some activists on social media responded with a campaign aimed at taking away the platform for celebrities who have refused to use their positions to speak up for people in need, particularly when it comes to the ongoing crisis in Gaza.


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Watch the above video as Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid argues in favor of having the Met Gala for the sake of the Met Gala itself, and questions why Americans expect pop celebrities to have nuanced political opinions on complex global events. Below is an excerpt from that video:

Yes, they can drive awareness, yes they can encourage donations. Yes. And it’s wonderful when they do. But it is not their obligation (and, while we’re at it, it’s also not their obligation to agree 100% with these protesters on what is quite clearly a deeply complex situation in the Middle East). There is, perhaps, some wisdom in knowing when you shouldn’t speak, and instead deferring to those who are knowledgeable.

And then there’s this: I also think that there is value in enjoying a moment of indulgence. I, for example, spent a long, glorious evening sitting on my laptop sifting through the photos and dissecting each look with my best friend (if you’re curious, my winners for Best Dressed were Tyla, Gigi Hadid, and the endlessly elegant Jeff Goldblum). 

So, when every last sequin had been assessed, I went back to my phone and my news alerts and my kids class schedules and the problem of what to make for dinner. I remembered everything that’s still undone, and everything that’s left to do — in my own home, and in the world at large. But for a few minutes, all I was doing was looking at some pretty dresses. And it felt good. 

Last week, the annual Met Gala brought the world’s biggest celebrities together for its annual display of couture and general fabulousness.

With tickets costing $75,000 and the evening itself being an overt celebration of opulence and exclusivity with a decidedly “Let them eat cake” quality, 

 

the Gala doesn’t always sit well with people who feel like…well, like it’s an embarrassing waste of money, time, and attention – frivolous at best. 

 

And we are a nation with very little patience for frivolity these days Which made it unsurprising how some activists – many of them young supporters of Palestine – reacted to the spectacle, which coincided unfortunately with Israel’s announcement of a military offensive in Rafah. 

 

The movement that arose with the hashtag #blockout2024 aims to deplatform celebrities who have failed to voice their support for Gaza and by encouraging followers to block them.

 

TikTok creator @ladyfromtheoutside, the originator of a movement, said in a viral video that it was time for a “digital guillotine.” “It’s time,” she said, “to block all the celebrities, influencers and wealthy socialites who are not using their resources to help those in dire need. We gave them their platforms. It’s time to take it back, take our views away, our likes, our comments, our money.” 

 

Celebrities who have appeared on the list of targets include Zendaya, Justin Bieber, the Kardashians, and Selena Gomez. I think Taylor Swift is on there,

 

I understand this frustration, deeply. There’s just too much on the line these days to allow oneself to be distracted by beautiful people in beautiful outfits. There’s too much else deserving of our time and attention. 

 

But. While I obviously think celebrities and influencers wield far too much power via their platforms…I wonder often why we expect celebrities to have well-thought-out opinions on global events, let alone coherent action plans.

I understand the value of a platform, and do think that those who have large ones should treat them responsibly…

but these people are not obligated to share their personal beliefs on topics that have virtually nothing to do with livelihood or skill set with the world. 

 

Yes, they can drive awareness, yes they can encourage donations. Yes. And it’s wonderful when they do.

But it is not their obligation (and, while we’re at it, it’s also not their obligation to agree 100% with these protestors on what is quite clearly a deeply complex situation in the Middle East). 

 

There is, perhaps, some wisdom in knowing when you shouldn’t speak, and instead deferring to those more knowledgeable.

 

And then there’s this: I also think that there is value in enjoying a moment of indulgence. 

 

I, for example, spent a long, glorious evening sitting on my laptop sifting through the photos and dissecting each look with my best friend (if you’re curious, my winners for Best Dressed were Tyla, Gigi Hadid, and the endlessly elegant Jeff Goldblum). 

 

When every last sequin had been assessed, I went back to my phone and my news alerts and my kids class schedules and the problem of what to make for dinner. 

 

I remembered everything that’s still undone, and everything that’s left to do – in my own home, and in the world at large. 

 

But for a few minutes, all I was doing was looking at some pretty dresses. And it felt good. 

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