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What is the Celebrity ‘Blockout’ Over the Israel-Gaza War? Alia Bhatt and Virat Kohli Among Those Involved

Some social media users are criticizing celebrities for what they perceive as inaction regarding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Kim Kardashian Image Credits GettyImages What is the Celebrity 'Blockout' Over the Israel-Gaza War? Alia Bhatt and Virat Kohli Among Those Involved
Kim Kardashian, Image Credits – Getty Images

They have initiated a “blockout” campaign to pressure these stars to take a stand. Indian actor Alia Bhatt, who attended the Met Gala, is among those being targeted, along with Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Kim Kardashian.

Virat Kohli and Priyanka Chopra Jonas have also been included in the list.

Read More: Latin Music Sensation J Balvin Teases Potential Collaboration with BTS Before Military Service

Met Gala’s Opulence Amid Humanitarian Crisis Sparks Outrage

2024 isn’t the first time the Met Gala’s pomp and extravagance have been compared to The Hunger Games, and it likely won’t be the last. Beneath the frills and grandeur showcased by the annual Red Carpet event, the Met Gala serves as a high-end fundraiser supporting the arts, yet its opulent nature starkly contrasts with the realities of more humble origins.

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This year’s backlash against the Met Gala highlighted its grandiose presentation, which starkly contrasts with the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. While the Met Gala dazzled, civilians in the Gaza Strip faced one of the worst humanitarian crises, with deafening bombs and ammunition creating a grim backdrop. The number of innocent lives lost has escalated as Israel intensified its offensive in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.

Earlier this week, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ordered Palestinians to evacuate Rafah to launch a direct offensive against Hamas. According to the BBC, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported on Saturday that at least 34,971 people have been killed in Gaza since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. Additionally, UN officials have highlighted severe food shortages in southern Gaza due to the closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings.

Taylor Swift Image Credits GettyImages What is the Celebrity 'Blockout' Over the Israel-Gaza War? Alia Bhatt and Virat Kohli Among Those Involved
Taylor Swift, Image Credits – Getty Images

As heart-wrenching news from the conflict emerges hourly, the growing uncertainty heavily impacts civilian lives. Meanwhile, the stark divide between wealth and suffering is evident as A-list celebrities paraded down the ethereal Garden of Time on May 6, contrasting with the trauma-ridden landscape across the globe.

How is the general public responding? In an era where a click can wield immense power, netizens are choosing to distance themselves from their once-adored international stars by blocking them on social media.

Social Media Blockout Campaign Targets Celebrities

For the blockout, users are blocking all content from certain celebrities’ accounts on social media platforms including X, TikTok, and Instagram. Many have posted about the celebrities they’ve blocked, using hashtags like #blockout, #blockout2024, or #celebrityblockout. Others have shared posts criticizing attendees of high-glamour events like the Met Gala, contrasting these events with the situation in Gaza.

Blockout participants say this is a protest against celebrities who either haven’t spoken up or haven’t said enough against Israel’s actions in Gaza during its war with Hamas. Since the war erupted on October 7 with Hamas’ deadly attacks, Israel’s military has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

On social media platforms, users can see content from people they follow as well as from those selected by algorithms. In both cases, users can choose to mute or block an account.

Beyonce Image Credits GettyImages What is the Celebrity 'Blockout' Over the Israel-Gaza War? Alia Bhatt and Virat Kohli Among Those Involved
Beyonce, Image Credits – Getty Images

Social media was flooded with images from the star-studded Met Gala. At the same time, images circulated of Israel launching a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. This contrast led some users to criticize the opulence of the gala and condemn celebrities for not using their platforms to speak up for those suffering in Gaza.

Debate Over the Impact and Criticism of the Blockout Campaign

Beth Fossen, assistant professor of marketing at Indiana University, noted that the effectiveness and staying power of the blockout remain uncertain. The impact may vary depending on the celebrity and their public image. “A famous person whose ‘brand’ is tied to humanitarian causes may be more affected than one known primarily for talent,” Fossen explained.

If your identity is really tied to promoting something that is key to the boycotting, then this could potentially have really serious consequences for you,” Fossen said. “There might be some influencers that gain their fame by sort of promoting peace and then they’re being silent on this issue – followers may not forgive them.”

The blockout has faced criticism, with some arguing that focusing on celebrities diverts attention from the situation in Gaza. Others question the criteria for deciding whether someone should be blocked and what actions would be considered sufficient for a celebrity to take a stand.

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