Off with their…. Followers? 

People are growing disillusioned with celebrity culture, and nowhere is that more apparent than TikTok. 

The #Blockout2024 movement, a response to the growing disenchantment with celebrities, was seemingly ignited by influencer Haylee Baylee’s now-deleted TikTok from the Met Gala. In the TikTok, she used the trending audio featuring the line ‘Let them eat cake’ from the 2006 Kirsten Dunst movie Marie Antoinette, a choice that many found insensitive.

And while Baylee, real name Haley Kalil,  has apologised, it might be a little too late. 

People have also found the Met Gala distasteful in light of Israel’s attack on Rafah happening at the same time as the glamorous event. Other social media users have likened the gathering of the who’s who to the dystopian young adult book and film series The Hunger Games. In the series, there are twelve districts. Of all of the districts, District One, which is home to the Capitol, the seat of power, is wealthy and frivolous, with people in colourful outfits attending debaucherous parties while the rest of the districts are suffering from hunger and occupation by Capitol soldiers, known as Peacekeepers or, rather chillingly, Peacemakers. 

Disappointed by celebrities’ lack of action on social issues, TikTok user @ladyfromtheoutside initiated the Blockout 2024 movement. According to NBC News, she’s urging people to block celebrities, influencers, and wealthy individuals who aren’t using their platforms to help others. In a video with 2.5 million views, she said, ‘We gave them their platforms. It’s time to take it back, take our views away, our likes, our comments, our money.’ This movement, dubbed a ‘digital guillotine’ or ‘digitine,’ aims to hit celebrities where it hurts- their ad revenue, business sales, and engagement- by boycotting them and their products.

But… Should we expect celebrities to speak on social issues? 

We know it’s worked in the past.

For instance, legendary actress Jane Fonda became one of the most hated women in America for her protest against the Vietnam War. Fonda also championed the rights of Native Americans and the Black Panthers in the 1960s. Recently, she has been vocal about climate rights and was even arrested in October 2017 and in 2019 during demonstrations.  

But for others, it’s been labelled “tone deaf” and insensitive. Remember when Gal Gadot and other celebrities sang John Lennon’s Imagine during the pandemic? Even Gadot herself called the video “premature”. 

Maybe it’s time we let celebrities be just that—celebrities. But it is disheartening to see them go about their lives, flaunting their wealth and nonchalance while the world is (literally) burning. Do better, or it’s off to the digitine with you! Vive la révolution!