Arts and Entertainment

Social Distancing Has Celebrities Entertaining Us Virtually

Celebrities are resorting to social media, in both positive and negative ways, in order to entertain fans during this pandemic.

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By Sophie Poget

In the past few weeks, our lives have been canceled to the point where we can’t even leave our homes. The same is true of the entertainment industry: most TV shows and movies have postponed filming; concerts have been called off; and any events requiring social interactions or large audiences have been canceled. Even celebrities aren’t immune to the effects of the worldwide pandemic. In the wake of this change, celebrities are increasing their online presence, perhaps providing a welcome reprieve for many struggling with the quarantine.

When people turn on the news, COVID-19 is often talked about. When they FaceTime (or Zoom) friends and family, the virus is often a subject of discussion, and even now, reading this article, you are reading about COVID-19. People need a break sometimes from the onslaught of information and discussion. We are usually told to abstain from social media and limit our screen time, but in these unsure times, mental health professionals have actually recommended going online. Watching YouTube, keeping up with your favorite celebrities, and going on TikTok are great ways to distract yourself from the realities of COVID-19. Lucky for us, celebrities are providing more than enough entertainment to keep us occupied.

Since celebrities are staying isolated as well, they are going online more. I have personally seen an increase of celebrities on my “For You” page on TikTok. Celebrities are live-streaming on Instagram, whether it’s to sing for thousands of viewers like John Legend or to host virtual “puppy playdates” like Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, is doing his part in providing virtual entertainment by recording himself reading kids’ bedtime stories.

Many celebrities are using their platform positively, helping to spread awareness and precautions regarding COVID-19. Mindy Kaling, who played a doctor in the television show “The Mindy Project,” posted a video tutorial on how to wash your hands in the context of the show. Millie Bobby Brown, among many others, has also put out videos about social distancing.

Not everyone, however, is using their platform for good. The actress Evangeline Lilly dangerously used her platform, calling COVID-19 nothing more than a “respiratory flu.” After backlash from many people, including actress Sophie Turner, she apologized, saying she sent “a dismissive, arrogant, and cryptic message.” At the start of this crisis, actress Vanessa Hudgens created a scandal, saying on her Instagram live, "Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible... but inevitable?" After much backlash, she apologized for her actions, but she unfortunately isn’t the only one using her platform in problematic ways. Kendall Jenner was caught in one of those moments when she posted a picture of her with her car, leading fans to believe she wasn’t staying fully isolated. She later clarified that she was “taking this quarantine v seriously.” The behavior of these celebrities is concerning given their huge fanbases. People look up to their favorite celebrities, and even their smallest, unintended mistakes can sway the opinions and mindsets of their fans.

As much as celebrities are being active in this worldwide crisis, many people have also been making fun of them. One noted TikTok that jabs celebrities is set up with the TikToker sitting in his huge pool while sipping a “fancy” drink and talking about how hard quarantine has been for him. In an effort to make fun of all these celebrities, he says, “I had to pick up and leave my New York City penthouse because of Corona. Currently, we are at my mansion…” He goes on to say, “We are really roughing it out here: the bowling alley broke on Sunday… we can’t get anyone out here to fix it.” Celebrities are becoming the source of entertainment in many forms, even if it’s through making fun of them.

Overall, the increased social media presence of celebrities has positively impacted the current situation. For the most part, they are encouraging us to stay inside while entertaining their fans stuck at home. They are getting more personal and connecting with their audience in new ways, helping to distract us from the current crisis while keeping themselves in business. As the isolation continues, we can all be on the lookout for new types of content to help us escape from our corona-centric realities.