In the digital age, it can be easy to feel connected with celebrities as they constantly post about their lives online. From sharing their dinners to their favourite outfits, we are able to see into people’s lives more than ever. Although, now that we are more in touch with celebrities, it begs the question: how in touch with reality are they?
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, many celebrities have shown that the hierarchal divide between us and them, explicit at the best of times, is now stronger than ever. As millions of us have been affected by lockdown, tier systems and new regulations, many celebrities have flouted the rules and carried out actions widely deemed unsafe in a world where Covid is still a major threat.
Being honest on social media
The newly realised ignorance of this group of people initially presented itself back in March when celebrities teamed up to create a group video singing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. The video aimed to show togetherness and hopefulness but fell short of the mark, lacking any active help to those struggling. It was a great example of virtue signalling, doing nothing for those affected by coronavirus or the subsequent hardships many have faced.
Mostly, it sparked anger as there was little comfort for people being told by celebrities from their mansions that we would get through this together, with the difference between people’s lockdown environments prompting this outrage. The video suggested a unity among everyone which has scarcely been present in recent months, especially as the divide between celebrities and ordinary people has gained ground as restrictions continue.
Many celebrities live their lives primarily in the public eye, with their every movement being captured somewhere. Though it shouldn’t fall to these celebrities to be exceptional role models, they should have a better awareness of other people’s realities, especially in difficult times such as the pandemic.
It shouldn’t take the chance of being caught breaking restrictions to prevent it; it should be down to an individual’s moral code. While many people have broken the extensive yet confusing lockdown rules over the past months, there is a stark difference between privately seeing family and shamelessly displaying your actions to the public.
The moral issue of breaking Covid rules and regulation is one thing, but the celebrities and influencers who insist on posting about doing so publicly is another. These public displays of rule-breaking behaviours received backlash as the general public felt these celebrities saw themselves to be above the law. There was a general feeling that the celebrities hadn’t considered the wider public or acknowledged how tough 2020 had been for many.
The sheer process that goes into uploading a social media post provides ample opportunity for these celebrities to reconsider their actions and intentions. Yet, many still believed it was acceptable to boast about their parties and other lockdown breaches, shamelessly plastering these actions over social media.
Recently, celebrities such as Rita Ora have come under criticism for breaking lockdown rules and regulations. Nine months into the pandemic many people are becoming restless with restrictions and celebrities disregarding these rules put in place for our safety only makes people question why we should be following them. This poses a dangerous risk as celebrities hold positions of power in people’s lives, able to influence a person’s behaviour and attitude.
The case of Rita Ora’s rule-breaking is a classic example of people only caring once they are caught. In planning, preparing and hosting the party, Ora clearly did not doubt the safety of holding the party.
The incident was not a mere mistake and the sheer scale of the coronavirus pandemic proves that. Though it should be noted that celebrities are only human and will, of course, make mistakes, hosting a party in the middle of a pandemic when thousands have died and others are being kept apart from their loved ones, the decision is more than a simple mistake.
And it feels personal too. To the people whose loved ones have died, to the people working on the frontlines, to the people following the rules. For such celebrities to hold big and dangerous events shows the lack of awareness of, and consideration for, other people.
This detachment from reality that is obvious in the case of many celebrities may result in their actions not being in line with those of the general public, but with Covid, there is no exception. It is unlikely that these celebrities were simply ‘unaware’ of the rules, instead actively choosing to break rules with the knowledge that they would largely be unaffected by the consequences of their actions. The willingness to break rules correlates to the lack of fear from being caught, with many believing they could get away with breaking lockdown regulations, with their power, wealth and status often ensuring this.
The privilege to escape Covid
Many celebrities are in the privileged position to not be personally impacted by Covid in the way many regular people have. This was present when influencer Molly-Mae Hague travelled abroad on three separate occasions, taking to social media to complain about the heightened restrictions upon her third holiday.
Hague’s social media posts about her trips showed little acknowledgement regarding the problematic nature of holidaying during a global pandemic. This created a feeling that celebrities are superior, and are unlikely to be as affected by things such as the pandemic as the rest of us.
The privilege was also apparent when Kim Kardashian took her close friends and family to a private island to ‘escape’ Covid and experience a brief ‘normality’. This was an option that many others didn’t have, spending months apart from their loved ones while the pandemic continues to affect the lives of many. Most of us are not able to simply ‘escape’ the virus, with this being more apparent to those who have been personally affected by it.
Celebrities have always been separate from the rest of us. With their wealth, power and status they have got away with things that regular people wouldn’t. The presence of Covid in our daily lives has not had the same impact on these celebrities, meaning they have felt less inclined to follow the rules. They have essentially created their own rules, often with a complete disregard for other people, but especially those who have been greatly affected by Covid. But in the current world of social media, decisions to break regulations have been widely shared, and the domino effect of seeing others flout the rules is worrying.
The growing divide between us and them has caused a lot of tension and in a time we all need to come together. It is evident that although we are all in the same storm, we are not in the same boat.