AceShowbiz - Whether they realize it or not, public figures have such a great power with their words. Having millions of followers on social media and being under constant spotlight, they easily spread their opinions and install their beliefs in their fans' mind. Thus, in this difficult time of coronavirus crisis, many celebrities are using their influence to spread positivity or raise awareness about the disease and charity projects to help those in need.
Not all, however, have chosen their words wisely and carefully while addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps driven by their overwhelming emotions while being stuck in home quarantine, lack of knowledge or simply ignorance, some famous persons have landed in hot water for making controversial statements regarding the disease.
In hopes that whoever reading this will be learning a lesson or two from their mistakes, here are celebrities who have faced backlash due to their coronavirus-related comments.
Being in quarantine can be frustrating and that's apparently what Vanessa Hudgens felt when she ranted about the stay-at-home order on Instagram Live. " 'Till July sounds like a bunch of bulls**t," she said, before adding, "I'm sorry, but, like, it's a virus … I get it. I respect it. But at the same time, even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are gonna die, which is terrible but, like … inevitable?"
Inevitably, her remarks sparked backlash. The "High School Musical" star then posted an apology on Instagram Stories, claiming that some of her "comments are being taken out of context." She noted how serious the situation is as saying, "It's a crazy time, it's a crazy, crazy time and I am at home and in lockdown and that's what I hope you guys are doing too." She added, "Yeah I don't take this situation lightly, by any means, I am home."
Ever since COVID-19 hit the United States, a handful of senior citizens have become casualties of the novel virus, which has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people worldwide. Perhaps driven by the staggering number, Roseanne Barr put forward a conspiracy theory suggesting that the disease that started in Wuhan, China is actually a plot to get rid of her generation.
"I think they're just trying to get rid of all my generation," said the former "Roseanne" star during a phone call with Norm MacDonald for his YouTube talk show, as she believed that the human race is being "forced to evolve." She added, "The boomer ladies that, you know, that inherited their, you know... are widows. They inherited the money so they got to go wherever the money is and figure out a way to get it from people." Despite the pros and cons caused by her statements, the 67-year-old actress never retracted them.
As a physician, Dr. Drew Pinsky should have known better the danger caused by coronavirus. However, instead of alerting people of the risk, the celebrity doctor downplayed it when he addressed it on several appearances he made over a two-month period. He repeatedly suggested the coronavirus would be not as bad as the flu, at one point saying the probability of dying of COVID-19 was less than being hit by an asteroid. He also criticized people's reactions as "press-induced panic."
After a compilation of his statements was posted online by a Twitter user, the "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" host realized he was wrong. Admitting that he was "part of a chorus" that was equating coronavirus to the flu, he acknowledged, "They were incorrect. ... I wish I had gotten it right, but I got it wrong." He went on explaining that he didn't understand the ferocity of the illness and had been primarily looking at the number of influenza cases.
We get that Ellen DeGeneres is bored after having spent weeks at home and not being able to film her show in the studio, but comparing quarantine to being put in prison was just too much. Not to mention that the daytime talk show host gets to live in a spacious and luxurious house, a privilege which not many Americans have got to enjoy.
"One thing I've learned from being in quarantine is... this is like being in jail, is what it is," she said in the April 6 episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show", which she hosted from her comfortable couch in her living room. "Mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days, and everyone in here is gay," she jokingly added. Her attempt in making light of the difficult situation drew public's ire, with people labeling her a "hypocrite" and calling her out for her "tone-deaf" joke.
Candace Owens is known for her controversial views on various issues and this time she chose to be on the wrong side on how to best deal with the coronavirus pandemic. While majority of Americans has willingly sacrificed their freedom of roaming the streets and going to work to stay at home in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, the conservative political commentator complained about having to wear a mask in a grocery store.
"WOW. Just had a police officer called over to me and my husband at Whole Foods bc we were not wearing masks. We come to this @WholeFoods EVERY DAY. Apparently beginning yesterday, it is now illegal to come in without a mask," she ranted on Twitter. But even after people reminded her about the DC mayor's mandate to wear marks, she didn't feel sorry at all and argued, "So we weren't required to wear masks to keep them safe when HUNDREDS were dying from the flu (majority young)-but we are now required to wear them bc 69 people died from Covid (majority elderly)."
The right-wing political activist was blasted for feigning ignorance about the pandemic, but that wasn't the first time she expressed her controversial opinion on the disease. She has also been tweeting about how she thinks people are overreacting to the COVID-19 outbreak and that the media are telling lies about it.
Dr. Mehmet Oz confused many when he suggested that people should consider reopening schools amid the pandemic. During an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity", he cited "a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3 percent, in terms of total mortality." He added, "And, you know, any life is a life lost. But to get every child back into a school where they're safely being educated, being fed and making the most out of their lives - with a theoretical risk on the back side, that might be a trade-off some folks would consider."
His remarks quickly drew backlash as he seemingly thought it's okay to sacrifice 2 to 3 percent of the population to keep things normal. Realizing his mistake, the health expert later admitted that he "misspoke." Noting that it's important to figure out "how we get our children safely back to school," he continued, "We know for many kids, school is a place of security, nutrition and learning that is missing right now. These are issue we are all wrestling with, and I will continue looking for solutions to beat this virus."
Madonna's message about coronavirus was not delivered well in a bizarre video she posted in March. The visual alone, which saw the pop star lying naked in a bathtub surrounded by candles, raised eyebrows as to what her intention actually was by addressing the serious issue with such racy display. But it was her statement about COVID-19 being "the great equalizer" that baffled people even more.
"That's the thing about COVID-19," she preached in the Instagram video. "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. It's the great equalizer." She added, "What's terrible about it is that it's made us all equal in many ways, and what's wonderful about is, is that it's made us all equal in many ways." Madge never explained her controversial remarks, but she deleted the video as a response to the criticism.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there have been many conspiracy theories, including one that claimed the pandemic had something to do with 5G networks. Keri Hilson is among those who believe in this 5G theory. "People have been trying to warn us about 5G for YEARS," she wrote on Twitter in March. "what we're going thru is the affects of radiation. 5G launched in CHINA. Nov 1, 2019. People dropped dead. ... TURN OFF 5G by disabling LTE!!!" she spread the theory.
She also shared links and video clips to support her argument, but people were not easily convinced. In addition to the negative feedback from fellow social media users, the singer was forced by her team to remove the controversial tweets. "Management has asked me to delete vid/articles," she shared, without admitting that she was wrong about her earlier claims. She added though, "I appreciate good discourse on unconventional thinking. Let's all just be safe out there, cuz whatever the cause the virus a real thing."
Evangeline Lilly wasn't just complaining about quarantine, but she refused to comply to the federal stay-at-home order. Showing her defiant attitude, the "Ant-Man and the Wasp" star shared an Instagram post about her dropping her children off at their activities, saying it was "business as usual." Responding to her fans' concerns and judgmental comments, the 40-year-old actress said, "Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives. We all make our choices."
Despite her stubborn response, the "Lost" alum later had a change of heart about how to best deal with the situation. Days later, she returned to her social media page to convince her fans that she's doing her part in flattening the curve. "I am writing you from my home where I have been social distancing since Mar 18th - when social distancing was instituted in the small community where I am currently living," she wrote, explaining that at the time she made her controversial post, the stay-at-home order had not been applied in the small community where she's living.
While some celebrities have fallen victims to COVID-19, with some ending up in deaths, Cardi B didn't seem to show any sympathy. Instead, she refused to believe these stars' claims that they tested positive for the novel virus. The "Bodak Yellow" hitmaker stated that she was beginning to believe celebrities were being paid to say they have the coronavirus, a conspiracy theory that has been floating around online amid the pandemic.
Having experienced the illness first-hand, Idris Elba clapped back at the crazy theory, though he didn't name Cardi. "This idea that someone like myself is going to be paid to say I've got coronavirus, that's like absolute bulls**t, such stupidness," said the "Thor: Ragnarok" actor. Cardi then clarified her remarks, explaining that it was prompted by confusion because stars have revealed that they tested positive for the coronavirus despite not displaying any symptoms.