Why Are Some Of Our Favourite Pop Stars So Tone Deaf On COVID?

Why Are Some Of Our Favourite Pop Stars So Tone Deaf On COVID?

When ordinary fans miss out on key life events, their social media feeds are a little galling...

There are no exceptions when it comes to COVID-19... but who’s going let rule-breaking pop stars in on this open secret?

With massive fan followings and the opportunity to set a good example for anyone itching to breach rules, many celebrities have done their part by putting out social media messages telling people to stay at home or follow the rules…only to promptly follow this up by doing the exact opposite themselves.

In April of last year, singer Dua Lipa shared some sound coronavirus advice tweeting “PSA - STAY AT HOME” alongside a (relatable) broken-heart emoji. Only a few months later in August, she was throwing a lavish, star-studded party for her 25th birthday.

More recently, she continued the trend of ignoring her own advice by jetting off to Mexico on holiday with her boyfriend Anwar Hadid and few friends, with stranded-in-the-UK fans left to simply scratch their heads.

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Much like Dua, Rita Ora has proven herself an exhausting celebrity to be a fan of during the pandemic. In April 2020 during the first UK lockdown, Ora broke the rules by travelling from her North London home to spend time with friends at a rented Cotswolds property. This was only the beginning, as it seemed like once she got a taste of it rule-breaking became a bit of a norm for the singer.

During the second lockdown in November when all restaurants were shut and any indoor socialising was strictly prohibited she hosted a gathering of around 30 people in a London restaurant to celebrate her 30th birthday. It was also revealed that she was meant to be in quarantine during the period of this party, after having returned from a work trip to Egypt. Instead of quarantine, Rita of course went onto throw a birthday party adding another tally mark to rule-break count.

The singer clearly knew it wasn’t the smartest decision and that it put people at risk because went on to apologise calling her actions “a serious and inexcusable error of judgment“. With news last week about her prime spot on Saturday night TV with The Voice in Australia, the drama surrounding Rita Ora’s repeated flouting of rules has gained momentum.

In both Dua and Rita’s case, fans have reacted with deserved criticism. While many have returned Dua’s advice with some of their own telling her “needless travel puts all at risk,” the reaction to Rita’s mistakes have been more extreme with the singer losing over two million followers, particularly after it was alleged in police reports that her team asked the party venue to switch off the CCTV cameras.

Despite the widespread attention and backlash faced by Dua and Rita, they are not the only public figures in music to break or ignore rules. Artists like Justin Bieber and The Weeknd were caught attending Kendall Jenner’s birthday bash late last year, BTS star Jungkook was found breaking social distancing rules in Korea during the peak of the pandemic last May, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist and former I’m A Celeb contestant AJ Pritchard was seen leaving Jako club and heading back to his cousin’s house breaking the rules which prohibited indoor household mixing within the tier-2 system in London, and Lana Del Rey caught flack for wearing a bedazzled mesh face mask during an impromptu meet and greet. 

Some like Jungkook have apologised and seemingly stuck to rules since their first mistake, others like Lana have explained themselves citing the layer of plastic inside the mask which provided protection, and some others have let off the hook rather easily.

The amount of heat that artists like Rita Ora or Dua Lipa are taking may seem unfairly intense in comparison to some other celebrities, but it’s not about comparing the actions and lives of these public figures against each other, it’s about taking into account the year that those less-privileged than these famous folks have had; the graduations cancelled, the weddings and funerals missed, the birthdays spent alone. When we’ve done our part despite the hardships and heartache, why can’t someone who has certainly more comfort and luxury than us do theirs?

This isn’t to say that members of the public who’ve continued to be selfish or insensitive in their breach of rules aren’t wrong - they are and they deserved to be critiqued just as much. Take away all the money and fame, and pop stars are human so they are allowed a few mistakes in these tough times, and criticising them for very single error of judgement is unfair. But at the same time, they are in the public eye and have a responsibility to use their influence for good rather than using it to break rules and make things unsafe for them and others.

It’s not about apologies or paying fines - they can do all this a thousand times over, but it’s pointless if they simply pick up that mistake a few months down the line and make it worse with another mistake to follow-up. Privilege may have kept them safe from many things so far, but it’s not going to keep them - or their loved ones - safe from the virus and it’s time they realised this.

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Words: Malvika Padin

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