Social Media

Why are social media users blocking celebrities?

Users are using hashtags like #blockout, #blockout2024, and #celebrityblockout to share their activities and highlight the contrast between VIP events like the Met Gala and the situation in Gaza.

Social media users are condemning the celebrities for what they perceive to be their inaction regarding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. They organized a “blockout” campaign to force these stars to speak up and take a stand on the issue.

In this blockout, social media users are putting a block on certain celebrities’ accounts on platforms like X, TikTok, and Instagram. They are using hashtags such as #blockout, #blockout2024, or #celebrityblockout to share their activities, and some are even emphasizing the difference between VIP events like the Met Gala and the current situation in Gaza through posts that are criticizing the attendees.

The blockout participants are protesting because they think celebrities haven’t spoken or didn’t speak enough against Israel’s actions in Gaza amid the conflict with Hamas. The conflict started on October 7 with the bloody attacks of Hamas, and Israel’s military has killed over 35,000 people in Gaza without making any distinction between civilians and combatants.

Protests over the Israel-Hamas conflict have been growing on college campuses across the USA. In recent times, attention to what celebrities and influencers are saying or not saying has increased, especially after the Met Gala. The Met Gala is an annual event that draws a huge crowd of famous people from different fields, such as fashion, movies, music, and sports, and is known for its red carpet arrivals and elaborate celebrity outfits. This year’s gala was accompanied by the massive number of protesters that were on the streets all day.

As social media was flooded with images from the Met Gala, at the same time, pictures were being posted of Israel’s military operation in Rafah, Gaza. This led to the criticism of the users, who pointed out the sharp difference between the gala’s celebrity fun and the tragic situation in Gaza. They utilized images from both events to criticize celebrities for not using their platforms to promote those who are going through challenging times.

Beth Fossen, an assistant professor of marketing at Indiana University, said that the effect and continuity of the blockade are still unclear. The author pointed out that its success could depend on the celebrity’s reputation and what they are good at. For example, a celebrity whose brand is closely linked with humanitarian causes will likely be implicated more than someone who is mainly recognized for his or her talent. Fossen stated, “If your identity is really tied to promoting something that is key to the boycott, then this could potentially have really serious consequences for you. There might be some influencers that gain their fame by sort of promoting peace, and then they’re silent on this issue: “Followers may not forgive them.”

Criticism has risen about the blockout because some people say that the focus on celebrities is the reason that the real events in Gaza are not noticed. Moreover, it has been pointed out that the criteria for blocking someone have been questioned, and the actions that a famous person should take to speak out or to take a stand are yet to be determined.

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