Heating up in Hollywood

Recently, more and more celebrities have been speaking out to advocate for certain movements and take sides on political campaigns. While everyone has an opinion, many Drops of Ink staffers feel that these A-listers shouldn’t take sides one way or another because it would upset their fans who don’t agree.

DOI members discussed whether or not the opinions of people in the public eye should be valid or not and came to the consensus that celebrities should be able to take a stance without being ridiculed by the public, but only if they want to.

Celebrities shouldn’t have to speak out against a certain topic or take a side in politics if they don’t want to because that isn’t their job. That is different than just being generally informed with what’s going on in the world, which is equally as important.

Not being informed can lead to celebrities saying things they don’t truly understand themselves. During the discussion, briefly touched on author J.K. Rowling how lives in the United Kingdom but is constantly commenting on US politics with no evidence to back the claim up. However, this can be a double-edged sword for the celebrities: if they decline to comment on a certain topic because they are not knowledgeable about it, the media and public twist that and usually the person receives a good amount of criticism for either commenting too much or too little.

When speaking up, the general public is more likely to believe what a well-liked celebrity says if they provide facts to back it up more than just a claim on Twitter with no proof. But people can misunderstand what they think the facts are, creating a much larger problem of spreading false claims. This is also amplified by all the followers that A-listers have; because of their mass following, it allows everything and anything to be shared and posted instantly.

Due to the technology of today’s day and age, anything a celebrity says can be instantly shared, reposted and retweeted. Negative press has the potential to destroy anyone’s career, so, historically, celebrities have tended to stay out of heated conversations. However, recently Taylor Swift spoke out on Instagram about voting for Phil Bredesen for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, her home state. The singular post sparked a rush of more than thousands of people going out to vote early. While Swift lost followers, she deemed her message about voting to be more important to her than the number of followers she has on social media.

We also discussed how celebrities should reach out to audiences when talking about controversial things. Celebrities should always be respectful and understand that not everyone will agree with them and that’s okay. Celebrities shouldn’t feel pressured to speak out and they do it in a format that makes them most comfortable, whether that’s through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or even ads. For example, JJ Watt was in multiple commercials for relief to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Another musician who has recently been in the news for discussing politics is Kanye West, who posted on Twitter about his support for President Donald Trump. President Trump acknowledged West’s support on Twitter with a tweet saying “Thank you Kanye, very cool,” and he also went as far as to invite West to the White House and talk with him in the oval office.   While his tweets and subsequent visit to the the White House may have stirred controversy, some of us feel like that shouldn’t and doesn’t take away from his abilities as an artist, however it does make some more cautious of buying his music and supporting his career.

West has since gone back on what he said, possibly because of the large amount of  bad press he received about his tweets.

Celebrities will be criticized either way, but overall, it’s important for people with power to be able to  express their opinions without having to worry about how their fan bases will react.