Did the Met Gala Ignite Social Media Boycott?

ByThe Counter Journal

The opulent Met Gala on May 6th became a flashpoint for social commentary. The price for the ticket itself is US$75,000 for each attendee. This doesn’t include the cost of lavish pieces of jewelry, bespoke suits and couture dresses worn by celebrities.

While celebrities dazzled on the red carpet, 27 pro-Palestine protestors were arrested nearby, highlighting the stark contrast between the event’s extravagance and the ongoing crisis in Gaza. This disparity fueled the “Celebrity Block Party,” an online movement urging users to unfollow celebrities who haven’t spoken out for Palestine.

The Block Party, also called the “Celebrity Block List” or “Blockout 2024,” targets celebrities who either support Israel or remain silent on the Gaza conflict. This comes after months of fans pressuring celebrities to address Palestinian suffering. The tipping point was a video by influencer Haley Kalil, who mocked the situation by lip-syncing to a tone-deaf Marie Antoinette reference, “let them eat cake”.

This incident, coupled with Israel’s attacks coinciding with the Met Gala, sparked outrage. Activists saw the lavish event as a distraction from the humanitarian crisis. They argue that all attendees, by their participation, are complicit to some degree.

The Block Party isn’t just about unfollowing celebrities. Activists hope it will spark critical conversations about celebrity culture and its exploitative nature. They see fans’ blind loyalty to celebrities as problematic, urging them to prioritize the Palestinian cause.

Critics argue that politicians, not celebrities, hold the real power. However, activists highlight the close ties between Hollywood and politics. They believe pressuring celebrities can indirectly influence political discourse. The Block Party aims to disrupt the algorithm that feeds us celebrity content based on our online behavior.

By dismantling the platform we give celebrities through our attention, the Block Party seeks to impact marketing efforts and force a reckoning within the entertainment industry.

The impact on celebrities is potentially significant. Influencers rely on high visibility and engagement to land advertising deals. Blocking them cuts them off from this revenue stream. Additionally, blocked celebrities see a decrease in audience size. Social media algorithms prioritize content based on user interaction, so blocked celebrities’ posts become less visible overall, even for those who haven’t blocked them.

This isn’t the first time consumers have used online boycotts. Reports suggest some celebrities are already feeling the sting. NPR claims Taylor Swift lost 300,000 TikTok followers in just a few days, while Kim Kardashian reportedly lost 3 million. However, the long-term impact of the Blockout remains to be seen.

Image—Quin Tauetau/RNZ

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