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Platforms over politics


A new trend is gaining momentum following the Met Gala this year where members of the public block celebrities who aren’t using their platform to alleviate social issues. The trend is also known as ‘digitine’, stemming from the phrase “Digital Guillotine.” Media users believe that influencers should contribute to social change, and help those in dire situations who helped them receive fame.

While it’s an amazing thing to help people in dire situations, I believe it’s irrational to force and expect celebrities to use their platforms to influence issues to keep their fans. Celebrities aren’t professionals on these topics, their audience is present for other reasons, and it divides the world even more than it is.

Celebrities post about social issues to promote social changes throughout the world. Hip-Hop artist Macklemore has been vocal on the war between Israel and Gaza making speeches at concerts and at protests in Washington D.C. He’s made a song called “HIND’S HALL”, addressing the war, the resistance from the United States Government and calling out other celebrities for their lack of activism. Since then, the song has received a shadow from YouTube, a platform known to silently block videos regarding pro-Palestine opinions, and has donated every penny of profit it receives from all platforms to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. While Macklemore is informing millions about death in the middle east, he isn’t the most knowledgeable or professional on the topic. He doesn’t live in Gaza, nor does he experience the pain and suffering Israelis may experience. Forcing a celebrity who isn’t educated on, or has experienced the pain and suffering to make a statement isn’t appropriate.

It’s not their place to talk about these political topics either. Music artists’s platforms focus on their music, not politics. Bringing up politics is always an uncomfortable topic, and for a platform about movies or music, it doesn’t blend well and causes discomfort among fans. It’s also not the celebrity’s fault for the conflict and they aren’t responsible for it, therefore they shouldn’t have to speak for it.

The impact given by removing or blocking celebrities for their lack of activism is very minimal. Since the start of the ‘Digitine’ movement, Taylor Swift, who is targeted in this movement, has only suffered 300,000 followers on TikTok and only 50,000 on Instagram, which is less than 1% of her total platform. The dent being made is too little to have an impact, and those who block these celebrities eventually suffer from the fear of missing out and will likely just follow them back anyway.

While celebrities can use their platforms to promote social activism, I don’t think we should force them to. People have the right to exercise their own freedom of speech, and we can’t and shouldn’t force them to say everything we want them to. Celebrities don’t dive into politics to keep their fans interested in their main profession. Showing their political beliefs is always controversial, and as a result millions can be unhappy with them. Celebrities aren’t the greatest source of information for these scenarios either, and could advocate for the wrong side. Activism by celebrities is a wonderful way to help those in need, but it shouldn’t be forced on them.

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