Rihanna now joins the list of celebrities who comment on global and political issues to then take it back.
Hours after posting (then swiftly removing) a tweet, “#FreePalestine” Rihanna has posted a follow-up tweet, “Let’s pray for peace and a swift end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Is there any hope?….”
After eight minutes of backlash the singer took the tweet down, but Ri-Ri isn’t the only one tweeting about this political affair. On July 12, NBA player Dwight Howard also tweeted “FreePalestine” and within a few minutes, he deleted his tweet. He replaced it with a tweet stating, “Previous tweet was a mistake, I have never commented on international politics and never will.”
It seems that both celebrities have “accidentally” posted their views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which we can see from a lack of discussion, even the most prominent of politicians are not comfortable to speak about. What makes these celebrities think they understand the situation? Do their opinions sway fans beliefs?
Comments of this type can damage a star’s career. So why are they so quick to post their controversial opinions, and why be so quick to then remove them if they actually believe in what they have said?
Many celebrities are open with their occasionally unpopular opinions, for example Russell Brand, known for his roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. His past includes sex, drugs and rock n’ roll but these days he is fighting for political revolution.
“I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics,” he wrote in the New Statesman.
“Total revolution of consciousness and our entire social, political and economic system is what interests me, but that’s not on the ballot,” Brand added. His global fame not only helps him spread the word but it may actually sway the opinions of others.
This is the problem with celebrity status. If Justin Bieber tweeted, “Beliebers, I want you to destroy the world,” I bet you my last twenty dollars that thousands of young girls across the globe would dominate the world and lets be honest here – there is nothing scarier than a bunch of twelvies. We only have to look at the whole #cutforbieber debacle. After a website asked fans to cut themselves for the young pop-star, the sick joke turned into a campaign to stop Bieber from smoking drugs. Fans appeared quite serious about the issue, posting disturbing messages such as “you stop using drugs and we’ll stop cutting” along with pictures of their bleeding arms. This exemplifies the impact celebrities have on their fan base and how careful a celebrity must be about what they post on social media sites.
TV show host Dr. Phil posted a question back in 2013 that caused major backlash, “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teenaccused.” After angry messages from fans claimed the tweet was promoting date rape, a spokesperson for Dr. Phil’s show said, “This tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic. It was not intended to be taken lightly. It’s based upon a recent news story, hence the #teenaccused label.”
These tweets, whether they have been ‘accidentally’ or purposely posted, open a new can of worms on celebrities and social media. The fact that they have access to thousands of people and can change their opinions in one tweet is just the start of their problems. But when it comes to political views is it unfair to expect these individuals to keep their opinion to themselves just because they are in a higher status? — Alana Scott
Top photo from Esten Hurtle’s Flickr feed.