For the most part, the celebrity reactions to the coronavirus crisis have been better than expected. Kylie Jenner has urged her millions of fans to stay home, while Miley Cyrus has launched an Instagram Live series to remain positive. However, as these worst celeb coronavirus reactions show, not every star’s opinion has been well thought-out.
Since the first coronavirus case was discovered in Wuhan, China, in November 2019, the virus has infected more than 300,000 people across the world. TV shows, from Riverdale to Grey’s Anatomy to The Bachelorette, have been shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while celebrities who have tested positive, such as Tom Hanks, Idris Elba and Andy Cohen, have warned their followers to stay the F home.
Of course, not every star has had a productive response to the COVID-19 outbreak. While we appreciate the thought behind stars like Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson and Kristen Wiig singing “Imagine” via two-second clips on their phones, that’s not exactly what we need right now. In the words of Kourtney Kardashian, “There are people dying, Kim,” so we need those who can afford to take action to do so to stop the spread of COVID-19. Ahead, we rounded up the most controversial coronavirus takes so far.
Hudgens was criticized in March after she called coronavirus deaths “inevitable” on her Instagram Live. Til July sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I’m sorry. It’s a virus. I get it. I respect it,” she said at the time. “But at the same time, even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible, but inevitable? I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now.” After the criticism, Hudgens took to her Instagram Story to deny that she was taking the coronavirus crisis “lightly” and claim that her words were “taken out of context.”
“I realize that some of my comments are being taken out of context,” she said. “It’s a crazy time. it’s a crazy, crazy, time, and I am at home and I am in lockdown and I hope that’s what you guys are doing, too; in full quarantine and staying safe and sane. I don’t take this situation lightly by any means. Stay inside y’all.”
When the backlash continued, Hudgens released a statement on her Twitter, where she apologized for her “insensitive” words. “Hey guys, I’m so sorry for the way I have offended anyone and everyone who has seen the clip from my Instagram live yesterday,” she wrote. “I realize my words were insensitive and not at all appropriate for the situation our country and the world are in right now. This has been a huge wake up call about the significance my words have, now more than ever. I’m sending safe wishes to everyone to stay safe and healthy during this crazy time.”
Gadot drew backlash in March when she posted an Instagram video of her and other celebrities (including Natalie Portman, Ashley Benson, Kaia Gerber, Cara Delevingne, Sarah Silverman and more) singing different lines from John Lennon’s “Imagine.” She wrote in the caption: “We are in this together, we will get through it together. Let’s imagine together. Sing with us ❤ All love to you, from me and my dear friends.”
Several Twitter users slammed the Wonder Woman star for being “out of touch” from the struggles that non-celebrities face. “To Gal Gadot and all the rich celebrities in that video with money, top insurance, and are out of touch to the struggle of everyday American during this time: The struggle is real people are losing their jobs and they don’t need a Beetle song trying to make it better,” one user wrote. Another user wondered why Gadot and her celebrity friends covered “Imagine” instead of donated money to causes that could stop the coronavirus crisis. “Gal Gadot and the rich trying to be relatable. No one want to hear it just donate and go,” another user wrote.
King faced backlash in March when she posted an Instagram video, where she expressed thanks for the virus. “Thank you,” she wrote in the caption. The video featured a voiceover of a woman saying, “Thank you for shaking us and showing us we are dependent on something much bigger than we think. Thank you for making us appreciate the luxury we lived in, the abundance of product, freedom, health, and realizing we were taking it for granted. Thank you for stopping us, to make us see how lost we were in the busyness, not having time for the most basic things. Thank you for allowing us to put aside all our problems we thought were so important and showing us what is actually important.”
It didn’t take long for King’s Instagram comments to be flooded with critics who reminded her that people are dying from COVID-19 and it’s nothing to be thankful for. “Thank you??? So many people are dying everyday, losing their jobs… this video makes me sick!” influencer @CollageVintage wrote. Another user commented, “My husband is a doctor risking is Life everyday to save people against this virus. I dont see him anymore he is working all the Time. Hospital are overloaded and in lake of everything. People are dying every day. We have to choose cause we cant save everyone cause too many people are sick. How dare you thank this fucking virus ?? I dont Know why you cant stop and appreciate, i know i was before this. More than a hundred of poeple died yesterday just here in France. please. Show some decency.”
In March, Lilly outed herself as one of the many people who are not quarantining or social distancing because of the virus. “#morningtea ☕️ Just dropped my kids off at gymnastics camp. They all washed their hands before going in. They are playing and laughing,” she captioned an Instagram photo of a teacup. In the comments of her post, Lilly explained that she’s choosing not to quarantine because she values “freedom” over her life.
“I am living with my father at the moment, who has stage four leukemia. I am also immune compromised at the moment,” she wrote in response to a commenter. “I have two young kids. Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives. We all make our choices.”
In another comment, the actress dismissed COVID-19 as a “respiratory flu.” “Where we are right now feels a lot too close to Marshall [sic] Law for my comfort already, all in the name of a respiratory flu,” she wrote. “It’s unnerving…Let’s be vigilant right now. And kind. Watchful and gracious—keeping a close eye on our leaders, making sure they don’t abuse this moment to steal away more freedoms and grab more power.”
Madonna found herself amid controversy when she posted an Instagram video of her in a bath, where she called coronavirus a “great equalizer.” “No-Discrimination- Covid-19!! #quarantine #covid_19 #staysafe #becreative #brianeno,” she wrote in the caption.
In the video, Madonna explained why she thinks the coronavirus is both “terrible” and “great.” “That’s the thing about Covid-19,” she said. “It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell.”
She continued, “It’s the great equalizer and what’s terrible about it is what’s great about it…What’s terrible about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways—and what’s wonderful about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways…Like I used to say at the end of ‘Human Nature’ every night, we are all in the same boat. And if the ship goes down, we’re all going down together.”
Several of her fans reminded Madonna that, though anyone can be infected by coronavirus, the underprivileged are at a greater risk. “Sorry my queen, love u so much, but we’re not equal. We can die from the same diseases, but the poor will suffer the most. Do not romanticize nothing of this tragedy,” one user wrote. Another added, “You sure about that? Covid testing… the rich and famous seem to be getting tested without any issues… ahem.”