Celebrities can spend lots of money to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions and host lavish events with many guests. These actions are under scrutiny for two reasons. First, they cannot guarantee the safety of themselves or their guests because neither regular nor rapid testing are 100% reliable. Excessive testing does not give anyone a free pass to attend large gatherings without wearing masks or social distancing, which still puts people at unnecessary risk. Second, pictures of these events helped millions justify not taking proper measures. U.S. experts in infectious disease response are positive that if everyone wears masks and practices proper social distancing, a decrease in the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 will occur.
Even if celebrities adhered to CDC safety protocols and local guidelines, when celebrities appear in photographs standing side by side and maskless, they fuel their fans’ wishes to do the same. Whether photographed or posted to social media accounts, these public figures send the wrong message to their fans and followers by not advertising strict adherence to the most effective safety protocols available.
Celebrities Celebrate During A Pandemic
The Kardashian-Jenner clan continues to have no problem justifying their actions to millions of followers. After two weeks of health screenings and quarantining, Kim Kardashian surprised family and friends with a trip to Tahiti for her birthday. She justified her party on Instagram. “I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is,” the caption read.
La La Anthony, one of Kim K’s best friends, spoke out, reminding fans of the good they do. She said to not focus on a single gathering.
“I know what we’re all doing individually when it comes to charities, when it comes to using our platforms, when it comes to voting, when it comes to prison reform, when it comes to the millions of things that we’re doing. We try to just help the world in general, and that’s what matters to me . . . I’d rather amplify that side of what we’re doing,” she told Entertainment Tonight.La La Anthony response for ET
Still, what the Kardashian-Jenner’s does for their friends and family is not possible for the general populace. Despite the good the Kardashian-Jenner clan does, the image of having family and friends gather on a private island without masks or social distancing is irresponsible. It does harm to the ideas individuals have of safe and not safe.
Kendall Jenner then had a 100 person Halloween party which served as an early birthday present. Hailey Bieber, Justin Bieber, Winnie Harlow, Sofia Richie, Devin Booker, The Weekend, and Jaden Smith attended. Her sister, Kylie, was in attendance too among members of the family including Scott Disick, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kim.
In their defense, Kris Jenner told SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen that they took precautions.
“We are very lucky to work in an industry where we get tested once or twice a week . . . At Kendall’s, everyone got tested before they walked in the door and they had to wait, you know, a half an hour until the testing was, the results were in. And everybody was tested before a few days before the, you know, Halloween. So we are really responsible and we make sure that everyone in our family and our closest friends are tested religiously,” Kris said.Transcript by Marissa Muller for Buzzfeed
Rapper Diddy followed in Kim’s footsteps when he moved his 51st birthday to Turks and Caicos. He went along with friends Mary J. Blige, Nas, French Montana, DJ Khaled, Draya Michele, ASAP Ferg, and Monica. With the benefits of private planes and constant testing, Diddy embraced many maskless partygoers throughout the two-day experience.
Cardi B hosted 37 for a Thanksgiving day function at her home, 25 adults and 12 kids. She bragged on twitter. Then, in a series of tweets, she apologized. Cardi later recanted, citing how much money she spent on testing. “Sorry my bad wasn’t trying to make nobody feel bad. I just had my family in my home for the first time and it felt so good & uplifted me . . . spent so much money getting every1 tested but it felt worth it . . . wasn’t trying to offend no1 . . . everyone that works around me get tested literally 4 times a week,” the rapper tweeted.
Amid more criticism, Cardi added, “people be trying tooo hard to be offended. I wonder how they survive the real world 🤣.” Similar to the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Cardi B’s ability to host her family for thousands of dollars, and a still significant risk, does harm to general perceptions of what is possible right now. Cardi B can do it, but that does not mean everyone can. However, people will interpret her actions that way.
Rita Ora’s 30th birthday bash caused the most recent outrage. Last Saturday, London’s Metropolitan Police responded to a call around 9 p.m. That call referred to Ora’s celebrations, dinner and dancing at Casa Cruz in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London. Cara Delevingne and her sister Poppy attended the singer’s birthday, but the number of individuals in attendance is unclear. Claims range from 7 to 30. However, the police “found no indication of any offense being committed . . . Officers continue to assess the allegations and are liaising with the local authority regarding a potential breach of regulations at the premises. Enquiries continue.” A celebration of Ora’s 30th birthday was in London at a restaurant amid a lockdown. Ora agreed to pay £10,000 in fines, equal to $12,000, but Casa Cruz, which hosted, may end up paying that fine instead.
Ora took to Instagram stories and posted an apology.
It read, “hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK . . . I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk. This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgement. Given the restrictions, I realize how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility. I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe. Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologize.”Original Instagram story posted on Vanity Fair
These are not the sole rich and famous criticized for hosting and attending gatherings without masks or social distancing. Another example includes the man People Magazine dubbed “Sexiest Doctor Alive” in 2015. Mikhail Varshavski has millions of fans that know him as Dr. Mike on YouTube and Instagram. Throughout the pandemic he was, and still is, on social media and cable and broadcast news channels, stressing the seriousness of adhering to regulations surrounding the virus. After his birthday on November 12th, photographs and videos of Dr. Mike maskless on a private boat with at least 14 others in Miami surfaced. While he checked the safety measures and recommendations for Miami, Florida and determined for himself the risk he could incur, that does not make him blameless.
“I thought for me, this risk level was okay, but even considering all that, even considering following the rules and the guidelines that are set forth, it doesn’t matter. I messed up . . . The reason I’m saying this is because of the impact of my trip. The impact can harm the medical message that I’ve been delivering from the beginning of this pandemic . . . When I see bad actors and conspiracy theorists try and use my situation to attack the legitimacy of COVID-19, to downplay its risks . . . that kills me . . . Don’t attack the science. Don’t attack the hard working women and men of the CDC and the WHO . . . While I may be following rules and guidelines, it’s not enough to just think about that. I have to think about the impact.” He said that in an apology video he posted on YouTube.Dr. Mike Clips on YouTube
Celebrities And Their Impact Right Now
Celebrities take extensive measures to host or attend get-togethers with large groups of people. Without masks or the right social distancing, the pictures that permeate social media encourage a dual narrative. Everybody must wear masks, except those in the limelight with enough money and prestige to get test kits and quick results for themselves and their guests. While wealth is an enormous help during a pandemic, it does not protect anyone. The testing and precautions available are not foolproof. In fact, experts say that regular and rapid testing, no matter how often, does not cut any potential hazard. With long gestation periods and occasional false results, the virus can be undetectable for up to a week and test results can mislead, giving a false sense of security to those attending. It takes one wrong move to start a super spreader event, or a large outbreak.
They fought hard to be influencers. Now celebrities should think twice before hosting or attending functions. Celebrities are a source of inspiration to their fans and followers, and any wrong move they make could inspire a hundred more. That burden dictates a responsibility to keep the festivities private, with no public disclosure of any kind. An excellent alternative to this negative public message is a post on social media that sends the right message. Show the public that they are wearing masks, keeping distant, and staying outdoors when together sends a coherent message to those celebrities’ fans and followers that they abide by and promote the recommendations of the healthcare community to stay safe and COVID free.