Celebrity Responses to COVID-19: Tactful or Tone-Deaf?

From donations to pictures to charity livestreams, celebrities have not been keeping quiet about the coronavirus. Their actions have been met with mixed reactions on social media: some have been labeled tone-deaf and ignorant, while others were praised and applauded.

One example that easily comes to mind for many is actress Gal Gadot’s celebrity singalong to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Gadot posted a video on social media on Mar. 18, showing her and a long list of other famous stars singing the song paired with the caption, “We are in this together, we will get through this together. Let’s Imagine together. Sing with us … All love to you, from me and my dear friends.”

The video was hit with massive backlash from viewers, who labeled it “cringe,” “tone-deaf” and “tasteless.” Several social media users questioned why Gadot and her collaborators didn’t use the time to donate to COVID-19 relief efforts or volunteer their help instead of making the video. However, others said it was inspiring to see these celebrities come together and claimed that the gesture was kind and harmless.

Gadot isn’t the only celebrity to post videos or livestreams to social media in the midst of the pandemic, only to be hit with criticism. Actress Priyanka Chopra posted a video of herself clapping on the front balcony of her home, a gesture that was meant to show support for first responders like medical workers. Citizens in countries hit hard by the pandemic were applauding these essential workers on their front porches, and Chopra joined in from afar.

Viewers tore into the actress for not doing more, such as donating masks to medical workers or money from her and husband Nick Jonas’s fortune; others argued that there was nothing wrong with encouraging first responders like Chopra did in the video.

Despite the backlash, it seems that the celebrity videos and Instagram posts aren’t dying down anytime soon. Are all these videos and posts heartwarming and sweet, or do they fall flat and amount to nothing? It’s up to the public to decide.