It’s the hottest social event of the year and often referred to as the “Oscars of the East Coast” and invites are incredibly hard to come by. But the list of people who are banned from the Met Gala is far more interesting than those who do go… in our opinion anyway.
The ostentatious event is a charity fundraiser held to benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute (which, by the way, is the only wing of the museum that does not receive government funding), and to celebrate the newest fashion-related exhibition each year. It’s also the fashion world’s hottest social event, so don’t think just anyone can buy a ticket just because it’s a charity event. The guest list, since 1995, has been carefully presided over by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and her team, with only around 600 people making the list each year.
Together, they compile a list of just about everyone that’s hot at the moment, including musicians like Rihanna, actors and actresses like Zendaya, and models like the Hadid sisters. Then, they suggest to the various fashion houses attending to invite them as their guests. Yes, famous people really do get everything for free—even seats at charity events.
In Wintour’s reign over the famed Gala, there’s only one person who’s actually banned from it but a few notable people have sworn they’ll never go again. Read on.
In a round of James Corden’s Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts, Anna Wintour replied “Donald Trump” when asked which celebrity she would never invite to the Met Gala. The former President and reality TV personality has been before, however. In fact, he was quite the fixture from 2004 to 2012, accompanied by his first wife, Ivana and later by Melania. He’s the only person who’s actually banned from the event, per Wintour herself.
Fashion TV personality Tim Gunn revealed in 2016 that he’d been “banned” from the event after sharing an anecdote about Wintour. “It is very true. It is a crazy story, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a very matter-of-fact story. I was asked what is the most unforgettable thing I’ve ever seen in fashion and I said, ‘It’s easy. It was watching Anna Wintour being carried down five flights of stairs by two bodyguards—two big hulking men—from a fashion show.’ All hell broke loose. It was insane. We’ve had an open war ever since.”
There were rumors celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe got into hot water with the Vogue EIC when she told the New York Times in 2007 that “Anna Wintour is one of my heroes, but they say that I’m more influential. As great as it is, Vogue won’t change a designer’s business. But if an unknown brand is worn by a certain person in a tabloid, it will be the biggest designer within a week,” she said. “When I worked with Nicole [Kidman], there were things that she wore that designers had to remake for another season because there was such demand.” But she can’t have been nixed for that long because Zoe was back at the Gala in 2012.
Making her Met Gala debut in 2016, the comedian told Howard Stern that the event is “people doing an impression of having a conversation. I don’t like the farce … We’re dressed up like a bunch of fucking assholes. I don’t like it. I have no interest in fashion, I don’t care. I left earlier than I should have been allowed … I got to meet Beyoncé and she was like, “Is this your first Met Gala?” And I was like, “It’s my last’!”
She obviously didn’t hate it so much to never go again, though. Schumer was back in 2017 and again in 2022. “I had fun I really did … It’s an intense environment … I had fun inside,” Schumer told E!, speaking about the 2017 event.
The toast of New York and comedy at large, Tina Fey attended the Met Gala in 2010 and never returned. She said: “If you had a million arms and all the people you would punch in the whole world, they’re all there,” she told David Letterman in 2015. “It is so unbelievable. Clearly, I’ll never go again. But you go, and it’s this beautiful space and it’s just every jerk from every walk of life is there wearing, like, some stupid thing.”
After stepping out at the Met Gala in 2016 with his then-partner, supermodel Gigi Hadid, Malik said the event was not something he’d rush back to. He told GQ in 2018: “The Met Gala is not necessarily anything that I ever knew about or was about. But my [former] stylist…would say to me, ‘This is really good for you to do.’ And no matter how strong you are mentally, you can always be swayed to do certain things,” he said. “Now, it’s not something I would go to. I’d rather be sitting at my house, doing something productive, than dressing up in really expensive clothes and being photographed on a red carpet … To do the self-indulgent ‘Look at me, I’m amazing thing’ on the red carpet, it’s not me.”
Paltrow told the Australian radio show Kyle and Jackie O in 2013 that her time at the Met ball “seems like it’s the best thing in the world, you always think, ‘Oh my god, it’s gonna be so glamorous and amazing’ and you’re going to see all these people and then you get there and it’s so hot and it’s so crowded and everyone’s pushing you. I think we’re all a bit old to dress up punk,” she said.
They’re certainly some of the biggest names in attendance at the Met Gala in recent years, but after rumors circulated in 2021 that she was banned from the Met Gala, Khloe Kardashian herself responded “Absolutely NOT True” to a fan on Twitter.
An anonymous source told Page Six in March 2023 that year’s Met Gala could be “Kardashian-free” entirely, but that was disproven. “Anna had wanted to do a cull of the guest list this year and make it more of an exclusive event,” a source explained to The Sun. “And while lots of names were discussed, attendees have always been an ongoing conversation and nothing was ever set in stone. Kim was never told she might not be on the list … While invites have now officially been sent out and Kim has been confirmed, the news leak about her possibly not getting an invite did see tensions run high behind the scenes in what has been a big misunderstanding.”
Demi Lovato’s first and last time at the Met Gala was in 2016. She told Billboard two years later that she would never go again after “one celebrity was a complete bitch and was miserable to be around. It was very cliquey. I remember being so uncomfortable that I wanted to drink,” they said, having previously battled alcoholism. Lovato actually went directly from the Gala to an AA meeting, saying, “I changed my clothes, but I still had my diamonds on—millions of dollars of diamonds on in an AA meeting. And I related more to the homeless people in that meeting who struggled with the same struggles that I deal with than the people at the Met Gala—fake and sucking the fashion industry’s dick.”
Riverdale actor Lili Reinhart attended the Met Gala in 2022 but doesn’t believe she would be invited back after criticizing Kim Kardashian’s crash diet to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s iconic ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress. In a May 3, 2022, Instagram Stories post, Lili wrote, “To openly admit to starving yourself for the sake of the Met Gala. When you know very well that millions of young men and women are looking up to you and listening to your every word. The ignorance is other-worldly disgusting.” In a later interview with W Magazine, Reinhard said the evening “was fun, but after going again this year, I don’t think I’ll be invited back. I said a certain something about a certain person in a certain dress.”
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