Why TikTok Users Are Blocking Celebrities

A TikTok movement is calling for followers to block famous people over their stances on the Israel-Hamas war. It began at the Met Gala.

As protests over the war in Gaza unfolded blocks away, last week’s Met Gala was largely devoid of political statements on the red carpet. That the organizers of fashion’s most powerful annual spectacle (one for which tickets cost $75,000 this year) achieved this proved surprising to many observers. Less than two weeks later, though, a fast-growing online protest movement is taking shape. At least, it is on TikTok, the social media platform that was a sponsor of the Met event.

Blockout 2024, also referred to as Operation Blockout or Celebrity Block Party, targets high-profile figures who participants feel are not using their profiles and platforms to speak out about the Israel-Hamas war and wider humanitarian crises. Here’s what has happened so far, what supporters hope to achieve and why it all began.

The criticism began on May 6, when Haley Kalil (@haleyybaylee on social media), an influencer who was a host on E! News before the event, posted a TikTok video of herself wearing a lavish 18th-century-style floral gown and headdress with audio from Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film “Marie Antoinette,” in which Kirsten Dunst proclaims, “Let them eat cake!”

The clip (for which Ms. Kalil later apologized and which was deleted) was viewed widely. Given the current global conflicts and humanitarian crises, critics described it as “tone deaf.” Then posts emerged comparing ostentatious costumes worn by celebrities on the Met red carpet to scenes from “The Hunger Games,” in which affluent citizens in opulent outfits wine and dine while watching the suffering of the impoverished districts for sport.

Images of Zendaya, a Met Gala co-chair, spliced with photographs of Palestinian children, incited the online masses. A rallying cry soon came from @ladyfromtheoutside, a TikTok creator who found inspiration in Ms. Kalil’s parroting of Marie Antoinette.

SOURCE: New York Times

About Michael Zotos 468 Articles
Founder and owner of Performer.com/Performer Media LLC, a multimedia content creator for a variety of national plus local print & electronic media affiliates.