Why Celebrities At MET Gala Are Facing The Brunt Amid Israel’s War On Gaza

While the MET Gala was underway in the US on May 6, Israel decided to further intensify its war on Palestine by attacking the city Rafah.

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A pro-Palestine protestor writes Gaza on a memoriam near Central Park during a march on the outskirts of the Met Gala on May 6, 2024 in New York City. A demonstration at Hunter College drew around 200 protesters, who joined other area-college marches to the Met Gala being held this evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Alex Kent/Getty Images

Some social media trends in recent years have shown that celebrities are not as out of bounds for criticism. Celebrities while gracing the MET Gala red carpet, draped in couture posing for media and their fans, would not have imagined they’d be facing boycott soon. While the much-hyped MET Gala was underway in the US on May 6, Israel decided to further intensify its war on Palestine by attacking the city Rafah.

The stark contrast between the glitz and glamour of the event and the destitute and destruction of Gaza has sparked rage in social media users against the silence and apathy of a section of celebrities and influencers towards the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region.

“Blockout 2024”

The MET Gala 2024 has sparked a online movement called “Blockout 2024,” where social media users are digitally boycott celebrities and influencers. The movement comes in response to the perceived silence of some public figures on the Israel’s war on Gaza.

Social media users are blocking high-profile individuals on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and others. There are reports that the boycott has cost celebrities some share of their earnings from social media advertisements. The movement is also being seen as users holding celebrities and influencers accountable.  

The movement started after Haley Kalil, model-turned-influencer, shared a video where she was dressed in lavish clothes while standing near the MET Gala venue and lip-synched  the ‘Let them eat cake’ phrase from a 2006 movie. These infamous words are believed to be originally said by Marie Antoinette the queen of France in 1789 when the country was going through an economic crisis which led to severe food shortage. Her words have been a symbol of apathy and complete disconnect of the rich towards the crises of the public.

A user on X (formerly known as Twitter) while criticising Kalil posted a video saying, “It’s time for the people to conduct what I want to call a ‘digital guillotine.’ A ‘digitine,’ if you will. It’s time to block all the celebrities, influencers and wealthy socialites who are not using their resources to help those in dire need,”. She also said, “We gave them their platforms. It’s time to take it back, take our views away, our likes, our comments, our money, by blocking them on all social media and digital platforms,”.

Kalil has deleted the controversial video and apologised for unknowingly using a trending audio. But the apology has not gone down well with the users. She has, reportedly, lost one million followers on TikTok since the boycott movement began.

Some of the other major celebrities and influencers who are facing boycott are Kim Kardashian, who has reportedly lost three million followers on Tik Tok. The list also includes Israeli actress and former soldier Gal Gadot, actress Zendaya, singer Taylor Swift and British singer Harry Styles.

Artists4Ceasefire Movement

While a section of celebrities and public figures are facing backlash over their silence on Israel’s war on Gaza, there are many others who have been standing with the people of Palestine. The Artists4Ceasefire, a collective started in October 2023 of filmmakers, actors and other artists, is calling for immediate and permanent ceasefire. The collective, on its website, has posted an open letter to US president Joe Biden urging him and “the US Congress [to] call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost.”

The open letter is signed by artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Joaquin Phoenix, John Cusack, Jon Stewart, Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett, Dua Lipa and many more.

Many artists wore the Artists4Ceasefire pin to support the cause at the Academy Awards 2024. These artists include Billie Eilish, Mark Ruffalo, Ava DuVernay, Ramy Youssef, Riz Ahmed, Mahershala Ali, Kaouther Ben Hania and Misan Harriman.