The celebrity courage and fear of airing views loudly on the interwebs
With the death toll at over 2000, celebrities of all kinds have emerged to voice their reaction to the recent massacres in Gaza. Conversely, with the great deal of attention that stars receive, a lot of celebs have been pressurised into retracting their comments and apologising for any offence caused to their pro-Israel fans. Some celebrities have taken to posting more diplomatic comments, seeking to appear to be on both or neither side. Either way, the events in Gaza have sparked reactions beyond just the general public.
Rihanna was among the first to tweet the popular hashtag, #FreePalestine, but as quick as she was to post it, she was even quicker to delete it due to a barrage of complaints from pro-Israel fans. The deletion of her tweet was met with equal amounts of criticism, and some sarcastically declared that we are all human – for at least all of two seconds. Since then, Rihanna has tweeted a far more non-biased comment.
Let’s pray for peace and a swift end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Is there any hope?…. pic.twitter.com/jHD56KXkcu
— Rihanna (@rihanna) July 15, 2014
One Direction’s Zayn Malik was another who tweeted the hashtag, but unlike his fellow star, the young pop singer refused to delete the tweet despite incensed pro-Israel fans. He received numerous responses with threats of boycotting the band, including death threats. There were a few that were less hostile, but displayed heartbreak over the singer’s loyalties. Nonetheless, Malik has stood by his comment. Ironically, One Direction was shaped on X Factor, a show run by Simon Cowell, who donated $150,000 to an Israeli soldiers’ charity. Other artists have exhibited their disapproval of Israel, such as rock legend Brian Eno, who questioned the justification of Israel’s actions. Likewise, John Legend, nine times Grammy award winner, has tweeted his frustration over the recent events.
So sick watching our Secretary of State have to grovel so hard to tell Israel how much he loves them while Israeli cabinet shits on him
— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 30, 2014
For those asking, of course I believe the Palestinian and Israeli people all deserve peace, freedom, justice and genuine human rights.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 30, 2014
Selena Gomez was another who voiced her desire to see peace in Gaza through the use of social media. On Instagram, Gomez posted a picture quoting, “It’s about humanity. Pray for Gaza”. The post generated over 668,000 likes, but not without criticism from other fans, as well as fellow celebrities. Joan Rivers, faced with Gomez’s humanitarian streak, attacked the 22-year-old’s intelligence, claiming that she probably doesn’t even know how to spell Palestinian. Rivers defended Israel’s right to annihilate the Gazan population, using the bizarre comparison of New Jersey being wiped out for bombing New York.
Footballer Joseph Barton was condemned for his support of Palestine after he tweeted that the conflict is not a war, but ethnic cleansing. He went on to assert what many of the public have already protested:
If this was anybody else but Israel the West would intervene. It cannot continue. Innocent children being slaughtered. This must stop.
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) July 25, 2014
His tweets were attacked by fellow footballer, Yossi Benayoun. Still, Barton justified his views proclaiming, ‘… you cannot and should not kill innocent children…’. He ended his multiple tweet length retort, not with a quip to his peer, but a well-wishing to him and his family, proving to be the bigger man. Barton has continued to channel his views on Twitter and has recently posted his congratulations to Sayeeda Warsi for her resignation.
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) August 5, 2014
Among other sportsmen, Dwight Howard also tweeted and deleted #FreePalestine, claiming it was a mistake and swore to never comment on world politics again. Like Rihanna’s deletion, this caused uproar from pro-Palestinians and started the trend, ‘Howard the Coward’. That said, other NBA players such as Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson have shown their distaste for Israel’s actions by calling off their visit to Jerusalem as a way of protest. Furthermore, former international footballer turned actor, Eric Cantona articulated his anger towards the French President Francois Hollande for his support of Israel.
Actors and Brits
Mark Ruffulo, known for playing the Incredible Hulk in The Avengers, has also used Twitter to campaign against Israel’s violent regime. He often posts articles depicting the horrors happening in Gaza, and even tweeted an article conveying Hamas’ blamelessness in the kidnap and killing of the three Israeli teens that started this now month-long attack. When a fan expressed that Hamas is using human shields, the actor responded asking the person to use their heart when coming to such conclusions.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) July 26, 2014
@LaneShari1 Do you honestly think these people, these fellow human beings, would use their own children as shields? Use your heart.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) July 21, 2014
Actors such as Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and other Spanish stars signed an open letter condemning Israel’s genocide in Gaza, but not without backlash from actor Jon Voight, who called them ‘ignorant’.
British actor and comedian Russell Brand, too, stood in Palestine’s defence, having a very public spat with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity. On his satirical YouTube series, ‘The Trews’, Brand took apart Hannity’s intimidation tactics and suggested the anchor-man carried traits of a terrorist, thus igniting a Twitter argument. Hannity went on to host a panel discussion in which he ridiculed Brand. The comedian actor, undeterred, made a follow-up video where he again picked apart Hannity’s show bit-by-bit on his ‘bigoted world view’.
Amid other Brits, Piers Morgan has taken to Twitter to vent his condemnation, and has continued with a stream of tweets within this theme. More recently, he questioned when Israel will be labelled a terrorist state, just like the group they claim to be fighting.
Israel’s making a massive mistake with this monstrous child-slaughtering military strategy. Someone needs to rein @netanyahu in… fast.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 31, 2014
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 3, 2014
Last but not least, Irish actor Emmett J Scanlan, known for his portrayal of anti-hero Brendan Brady on Hollyoaks, similarly took to Twitter during the commonwealth games.
— Emmett J. Scanlan (@EmmettScanlan) July 30, 2014
We couldn’t agree more.
Image from: http://www.reveal.co.uk/showbiz-celeb-gossip/news/a476797/justin-bieber-back-with-selena-gomez-star-hints-at-reunion-with-photo.html
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