Are celebrities doing as much as they can for COVID-19?

Morgan Boll and Colin Sumner

Social media has been a way for us to communicate and connect to others during this global pandemic. There are no lack of videos showing celebrities doing the same things as us while stuck at home. They too have been using social media to connect with fans; however, they are also generating revenue from broadcasting their lives to thousands or even millions. As this new way of life becomes more of a reality, it’s encouraging to see people stepping up by donating: money, food and equipment. Still, why isn’t more being done? And why has everyone affected by the virus had to wait until now to get the help they so desperately needed?     

On March 19th, actress Gal Gadot shared a video montage of her and 25 other celebrities singing “Imagine” by John Lennon from seperate homes. The video was posted on CBS News’s YouTube account and, despite the initial positive message, this video has received a lot of hate. The message itself was understandable, a call for peace and unity. The most inspiring part was in the beginning of the video when Gadot references a trumpeter who played the song from their balcony in Italy during lockdown. 

The YouTube video has only 5.7 thousand likes and 46 thousand dislikes. Comments include things such as, “Imagine a world where celebrities don’t try to get attention by signing a badly chosen song and instead actually help by donating to hospitals and shelters, helping daily wage workers who have lost their jobs or even educating their fans about social distancing. You are not important during a global pandemic. Doctors are. Victims are. Helpless poor people are.” 

It even generated comments such as: “40 thousand people died in just 3 months. Gal Gadot: ‘Imagine there’s no heaven…’” and “People: dying and suffering. Celebrities: LOOK AT MY IPHONE 11 IN THE MIRROR.” One comment even went as far to say, “this is worse than the actual virus.” 

Also, due to the increasing unemployment rate there are many people who are left without jobs and struggling to even buy groceries. The richest man in the world, Jeff Besos called on his Whole Foods employees to donate their pay to others who were out due to the virus instead of just paying them on his own, which he could have done. 

Although the YouTube video was viewed largely in a negative way, and Besos called on others to help, many celebrities have actually stepped up and donated to a variety of places to help with the global pandemic. For example, Jay-Z and Meek Mill are donating over 130,000 surgical masks to frontline workers, correctional officers and inmates. 

On April 4, Elton John posted a tweet saying, “Today, I’m proud to announce that my Foundation @EJAF is launching a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to make sure that our front line partners can respond to the effects of COVID-19 on HIV care for the most marginalised communities around the world.” 

We are forever grateful for the millions of dollars they are donating but where are these payments when the world is suffering from other issues such as drug abuse, fires and other illnesses?

Dolly Parton posted on her Instagram, “I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center towards research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.” Selena Gomez is donating to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a non-profit hospital in Los Angeles, California. 

CEO of Twitter and Square Jack Dorsey invested $1 billion worth of his personal shares to Start Small, a limited liability company that he created to help fight the global pandemic. Dorsey also set up a public Google document in which individuals would be able to track the donations made from Start Small. Rihanna’s nonprofit organization, the Clara Lionel Foundation, donated $5 million to organizations and communities from the United States all the way to Malawi. 

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have donated $1 million, split between Food Banks Canada and Feeding America. Reynolds tweeted: “I think we can all agree, Covid-19 is an a–hole… Covid-19 has brutally impacted older adults and low income families.”

It’s not that we’re not appreciative of what celebrities are donating, what they are doing is great. However, it’s probably safe to say that we all know most celebrities can give more due to their immense wealth. Moreover, where were all of these donations in the rise of chronic illness, drug abuse and any other tragedy that happens in this world?