#Eattherich has been trending on social media. But behind the tongue-in-cheek statement lies real desperation and anger. America’s growing class divide has been magnified into even sharper focus during the global pandemic. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs (and consequently their health insurance) and are facing evictions. Others are struggling to work full time from home while being caregivers for their children and/or aging parents. Perhaps now more than ever, movies, television shows, and celebrity gossip provide some much needed escapism for those who, literally and figuratively, cannot escape the pressure cooker of 2020. But following the glossy, seemingly carefree lives of the rich and famous has also brought a sense of deep resentment. Throughout the past year, many celebrities have posted tone-deaf or just downright callous remarks and/or videos on social media. Here are a few celebrities who have angered and alienated some fans this year.
No stranger to controversy, Madonna launched a thousand eye rolls when she decided to post a video of herself musing philosophically about coronavirus. She says in the video (with creepy piano music playing in the background), “It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell. It’s the great equalizer, and what’s terrible about it is what’s great about it. What’s terrible about it is it’s made us all equal in many ways — and what’s wonderful about it is it’s made us all equal in many ways.” While we get the point Madonna was trying to make, perhaps the words “great” and “wonderful” shouldn’t be used in any sense when describing a virus that has killed thousands of people. Oh and sorry – I forgot to mention that Madonna delivered her speech about COVID making us all equals while naked in a marble bathtub. Surrounded by candles and rose petals. Wearing expensive jewelry. Sigh.
After allegations of being a bully who creates a toxic work environment, Ellen didn’t help her image when she made a “joke” about quarantine on her show back in April. She told her viewers, “One thing I’ve learned from being in quarantine is that people — this is like being in jail, is what this is. It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days, and everyone in here is gay.”
Ellen laughed after the quip but viewers weren’t so amused. Many people pointed out that inmates in crowded jails were dying of the virus at alarming rates. Others were outraged that Ellen would compare being voluntarily “stuck” in a mansion to being incarcerated in a 6 by 8 foot cell. Many people took to Twitter to call out the comedian.
Billionaire businessman David Geffen is most likely a highly intelligent man. But “reading a room” doesn’t appear to be one of his attributes. Back in March, Geffen posted a picture to his Instagram account of his $590 million yacht. No, that number isn’t a typo. The caption was, “Sunset last night…isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I’m hoping everybody is staying safe.” Yikes bikes. Perhaps Meghan McCain summed up most people’s sentiments best when she responded, “David Geffen is worth 8 billion dollars! For God’s sake help this country get ventilators, our health workers masks and the medical supplies they need! Or no, just stay on your f***ing yacht instagramming. This is just shameful and grotesque.”
Oh Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa… The High School Musical actress decided we needed to hear her thoughts on coronavirus during an Instagram live video. She begins the video looking totally relaxed and carefree, doing her makeup, smirking, laughing, and whining about quarantine. And then she says it. “Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible… but inevitable?” No analysis needed on that one.
Fans love Cardi B for her rapping, colorful personality, and “zero f***s given” attitude. But if you don’t want to come across as an insensitive attention-seeker, sometimes you should give more f***s. The rapper has thrown or attended multiple gatherings and parties during the pandemic and in all of her pictures, no one is wearing masks or social distancing. Cardi has also continued to flaunt her wealth on social media during a time when many Americans are barely getting by.
Earlier in December, Cardi posted her dilemma about whether or not she should buy a purse. A purse that was almost as much money as a house. She posted to her twitter, “Should I spend 88K for this damn purse? Omggg it’s tempting.” The backlash was swift and many followers were NOT having it.
Others piled on calling the purse an “ugly Ugg boot with a strap.” To her credit, Cardi pointed out that she has donated to various charities for coronavirus relief and even offered to match donations. She wrote, “Any charity or foundation drop your receipts under the comment I will match what you donated and match your donation to that same charity or foundation. Lets match energy.”
Let's Avoid Another French Revolution
Celebrities flaunting their wealth or making controversial jokes isn’t a crime. Both of these tactics lead to an increase in publicity under normal circumstances and perhaps even more publicity during a global health crisis. But the rich and famous may want to tread lightly during a time when so many people are experiencing real tragedy and poverty. We all know what happened when Marie Antoinette tweeted out, “Let them eat cake!”