The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyday life in the United States of America. Hundreds of thousands of people have declared unemployment each week with millions of Americans still waiting to receive some sort of aid from the government. While most Americans are suffering from the pandemic, it seems like celebrities have hardly been affected at all. However, the connection between celebrities and fans is starting to dwindle because of how the media portrays them.
Celebrities have gained wealth and social status by becoming these influential figures that the public look up to. Seemingly average people have become wealthy based on their talent, looks and even power. But this wealth is the very reason why the division between influencers and their audience is expanding.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how out of touch celebrities are with their audience. Kim Kardashian, once again, was in the headlines in October when she posted a picture of her and her friends on a private island celebrating her 40th birthday. While it’s perfectly fine for celebrities to spend their money as they please, Kardashian claimed this event was a grounding experience, tweeting, “I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now.” Her comments obviously sparked the ire of many online who don’t see how a planned trip to a private island can be considered normal. Many in the United States can hardly afford to go on a vacation, especially when countries around the world have restricted flights to and from their borders.
Kim Kardashian isn’t the only celebrity that’s catching heat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple stars have stressed how important it is for people to stay inside their houses and keep a positive outlook during these stressful times, but it’s much easier to do that while stuck in a luxurious house, not having to worry about your next paycheck. Even Pharrell Williams, who simply asked people to donate money to front liners, was faced with animosity from his fans. Most people aren’t in situations where they can comfortably stay home and not have to worry. Many have to leave the comfort of their homes in order to help provide for their families. Sometimes, people don’t even have jobs to help them pay for basic necessities like groceries or rent. Many celebrities who are asking for people to stay home and donate money don’t seem to understand that the average person isn’t able to do so. Fans don’t want to hear celebrities telling them what they could be doing, but instead want to hear what they plan to do to help in their position of power.
Yet, most of this hatred toward celebrities stems from how the media portrays them. There have been many instances where celebrities would donate supplies to hospitals or food banks. Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in “Frozen,” has read bedtime stories to help parents. Many artists have held mini-concerts virtually and some celebrities have taken the time to actually talk to fans with Instagram. However, people rarely hear about these acts of kindness because people tend to focus on the negatives before the positives.
The harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have painted celebrities in a light we haven’t really seen before, with more and more celebrities showing how tone-deaf they are to the situations of the everyday person. However, that doesn’t mean that all celebrities act and feel the same way. Some celebrities do understand how it is to be a normal person and know that simply staying home doesn’t work for everyone. Society’s general opinion toward celebrities mostly has yet to change, but at the end of day, it’s not a bad thing to have people to look up to. Luckily, our time during quarantine has revealed to us what matters most, and what helping other people really looks like.