#Blockout2024 Campaign Targets Celebrities Quiet on War in Gaza

On May 7, many elite, A-list celebrities descended on the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the annual Met Gala, the star-studded fashion extravaganza and most important red carpet (this year, green and white) event of the year. Online coverage of the glitzy affair always blankets media coverage as fans pore over each gown’s details.

But this year, dozens of pro-Palestine protesters were arrested a block away while marching toward the event. And for those closely watching the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and Gaza’s harrowing devastation — as the death toll topped 35,000 (many of which are women and children) — the Met affair led some online critics to launch the #Blockout2024 movement, which this week is gaining traction.

What is the #Blockout2024 movement?

Many celebrities have used their platforms to express sympathy for Palestinians, condemn Israel’s campaign in Gaza or call for a ceasefire in the conflict that has now stretched into its eighth month. Many have chosen to remain silent on the matter. The #Blockout2024 movement is essentially a loose group of pro-Palestine online celebrity hawks who are assessing the actions and words of A-listers, and deeming their speech on Gaza adequate or insufficient. If they’ve said nothing or not enough, the movement calls for those supporting Gaza to block that celebrity on social media. 

Who started the #Blockout2024 movement?

On May 9, two days into post-Met Gala media coverage and as Israeli military operations were escalating in southern and northern Gaza, TikTok user @ladyfromtheoutside, whose bio indicates her name is Rae, posted a video that already has over 2.5 million views. In the clip, she looks into the camera and tells viewers that it’s time to take celebrities to task for keeping quiet, remaining neutral, or otherwise not speaking out enough to condemn the devastation. 

“It’s time to block all the celebrities, influencers and wealthy socialites who are not using their resources to help those in dire need,” Rae says in a video. “We gave them their platforms. time to take it back, take our views sway our likes our comments our money by blocking them on all social media and digital platforms.”

Rae, a productive TikTok creator whose catalog of clips includes humorous lip sync videos and other fun dissections of modern life, suggests a “digital guillotine — a ‘digitine,’ if you will,” in her call to action. This refers to the “block” feature on social media platforms.

Soon, Blockout 2024 accounts appeared on both TikTok and Instagram. Posts from the accounts list major celebrities who they deem should be blocked over their silence or comments on the invasion of Gaza, some of the businesses owned by the targeted celebrities, and a list of celebrities deemed as Zionists and who the account has placed on the block list. On May 9, the same day that Rae’s video was published and went viral, X.com user @literarycore tweeted a graphic-heavy thread that explained the movement in further detail. 

Which celebrities are being targeted?

A-listers including Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, Justin and Hailey Bieber, and more made the initial Blockout List, while Zendaya, Nicki Minaj, Lil Nas X and other Met Gala attendees were deemed “tone-deaf” by the Blockout 2024 account. 

Any methodology on the critics’ decision-making is unclear and at times, there is heated debate: Did Billie Eilish do enough by wearing a pro-ceasefire button to the Oscars? Should everyone quit following the wildly popular Instagram of Kim Kardashian after she was heard saying “Free everybody” to a protester shouting, “Free Palestine”? (Kardashian reportedly followed that up by saying, ​“I sympathize with the people of Israel and with those in Palestine. I sympathize with everyone. All we want is for everyone to feel safe and free.”)

How are celebrities reacting to the #Blockout2024 movement?

As the movement is less than a week old, few celebrities have posted any sort of reaction or thoughts on the concept. Its efficacy and whether it will hinder the bottom line of anyone famous and blocked remains to be seen. But the idea has been heavily criticized online, with it being called “pointless” and “hypocritical.”

In her inciting TikTok clip, Rae mentions influencer Haley Kalil, also known as Haleyybaylee, as her pick for the first victim on the digitine’s chopping block, as Kalil was seen at the Met Gala dressed as Marie Antoinette, where she posted a now-deleted video saying the aristocratic phrase attributed to the Queen, “Let them eat cake.” After being mentioned by Rae, Baylee quickly posted a video earnestly explaining that she attended the pre-Gala to interview celebrities. “I am not elite,” she says, adding that she watched the event from home, having never received an invite from Vogue top dog Anna Wintour. 

Meanwhile on Monday, Lizzo posted a face-to-camera thank you video to campus activists and explained the reason for her silence on the conflict over the past nine months. 

“I just want to take a second and give a personal thank you to all of the activists who have been working tirelessly to help the liberation and the free freedom of the people who have been genocided all over the world — specifically Palestine, Sudan, and the Congo,” the Grammy-winning singer told her Instagram followers. Lizzo then opened up about the dark place she’s been emotionally lately but added that it was the activism she’s seen that has motivated her to “get my ass up and get back to who I am.”

Lizzo’s timing in sharing this heartfelt explanation of her lack of support for the pro-Palestine activism and how she’s now throwing her better self into the movement was called out by some online as convenient for the burgeoning movement. Ditto for influencer Chris Olsen, whose mile-a-minute Palestine news update and throws to donations were called out as well. 

Should celebrities be concerned?

While the movement is gaining traction this week, those commenting online seem to be split on whether this is an impactful form of protest — blocking these accounts could make only a tiny dent in follower counts, likely leaving any sponsorship, sales or deals unscathed. For example, throughout Kalil’s whole affair, her TikTok follower count fell slightly below the coveted 10 million mark to bottom out at 9.9 million.




Source From: www.hollywoodreporter.com

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