Written by staff writer Prisha Puntambekar
While basking in the luxuries of her $14 million net worth, Vanessa Hudgens spread a peculiar message about COVID-19 on Instagram Live.
“I’m sorry, but, like, it’s a virus, I get it. I respect it. But at the same time, even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are gonna die, which is terrible but, like, inevitable?” she said to 39 million followers. Upon receiving backlash for her comments, Hudgens claimed that her statements were used out of context. According to Forbes, Hudgens never clarified what ‘said context’ was.
Meanwhile, in an ill-advised attempt to spread cheer, Gal Gadot and other celebrities created a cover of “Imagine” by John Lennon. Viewers of the tragic video took to Twitter to express disgust with the celebrities – most of whom were anything but singers. The loathed cover not only sounded horrific but provided no service to struggling communities during the COVID-19 situation. Stars of the video, such as Will Ferrell, possess over a hundred million dollars in net worth.
Fans were frustrated with the A-listers for using nonexistent singing abilities rather than their bank accounts to assist the pandemic. From a place of privilege, the stars were capable of more impactful actions to benefit the situation. Although the celebrities meant well, their art generated more publicity than healing. Many celebrities took to Twitter, criticizing the uselessness of the cover.
“Hey celebs, we don’t want to be sung to. We want you to use a million or two of your money and order ventilators, masks, and gloves from the manufacturers then donate them to a hospital. Or pay for the salaries of an entire staff at a bar, restaurant, or daycare,” Actress Casey Cipriani stated on Twitter.
Although other stars are taking action through donations, the insensitivity of some displays the privilege of higher economic classes; in times of international weakness, they choose to prosper in their own greedy bubble of safety.
When a country is founded on the base of capitalism, morals become nonexistent; the brighter lusts of wealth and success steal the attention of today’s citizens. According to Teen Vogue, capitalism builds off of greed in order to function. As capitalism teaches citizens to prioritize money above all else, their greed turns to selfishness – as shown with the celebrities. Having enough money, access to COVID-19 treatment becomes effortless and the stars can afford to thrive in ignorance. Subsequently, America receives a disgraceful tribute to John Lennon – with an ironic message of peace and hope – rather than relief funds during an emergency situation.
Americans must find a balance between prioritizing wealth and moral values. When a nation refuses to educate children on helping one’s neighbor, it’s – in Vanessa Hudgens’ words – “like, inevitable” they will become similar to the actress: a 31-year-old with more money than compassion.