Social Distancing and Social Ignorance

How celebrities and influencers are handling COVID-19 and their ever growing divide from the average person.


Erica Niehoff

This is an opinion article piece. Erica Niehoff is a junior at Mendham who writes for Arts and Entertainment. All opinions expressed in the following editorial are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Patriot.

The one-year anniversary of the lockdown is coming next month and a lot has happened. From social to political, America is changing constantly. Somethings have gone from bad to worse, which is the current pandemic. Many say that it is getting better or that it’s not that bad or that it will be over by the end of 2021. However, January has been the deadliest month of Covid-19 so far, and people around the nation still aren’t taking the necessary precautions. There have been many ways that the past presidency could have handled the pandemic well, however, the virus is still present as every. 

With Los Angeles being populated with all different kinds of influencers, it also is the epicenter for the current pandemic. Los Angeles County, as of February 5th, has 4,761 new cases and has 1,138,764 reported cases, and soon will be reaching 18,000 deaths. Even with these statistics, people can’t seem to stop partying. And the problem of it all is celebrities, but more specifically “influencers”. Whether from youtube, Tik Tok, or well-known artists, they can’t seem to back away from their party culture as thousands die every day. 



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Sia’s virUS tweet, with someone quote tweeting “celebrities are really doing everything BUT donating money lmao…. like what does this even mean i-“

It is very obvious to point out the extreme disconnect celebrities have to the outside world. Trapped in their own bubble of fame, they forget the average person and their daily struggles. They often find themselves getting into a lot of controversial situations because of this extreme disconnect and lack of sympathy. In April, Sam Smith (they/them) posted “the varying stages of a quarantine meltdown”, from their $13 million dollar mansion. With others like Sia (she/her) who do nothing to help better the pandemic but try to relate to their fans by posting the word virus, but the “vir” is crossed out to show just “us”. To the absolute disaster of famous celebrities singing Image by Elton John (he/him), as they ironically sing “imagine no possessions”. Even though these are silly pieces of evidence further dividing these stars with the real world, there are extreme examples of celebrities’ mishaps during Covid. Kim Kardashian (she/her) is a great example. The Kardashians are often like those celebrities that try to connect with the world because they believe that they are relatable, but forget that their unattainable wealth and fame impede that. As many may remember from early quarantine, Kim decided to flex her birthday party on a remote island on Twitter. She made sure that everyone knew that they were tested and it was only a close group of friends, which I guess is better than nothing, besides the fact that she says she and her friends “could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time”. After describing her lavish getaway, she ended her thread with the tweet “I realize for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is.” Her complete incompetence left people commenting “read the room” as others commented about their horrible struggles throughout the pandemic, losing jobs and loved ones. Even though any celebrity could have done this and it would have been normal, the fact that Kim decided to publicly share this event while the world around her suffered shows a complete lack of sympathy. Learning from their lessons, the Kardashians decided not to share. Soon after at Kendall Jenner’s (she/her) maskless birthday party with instead a “no social media” rule, stating that they could take pictures but shouldn’t post on social media. But of course, no one listened to this rule. Another difference was the number of people, which sadly was not a close group of friends. The Weeknd (he/him), Doja Cat (she/her), Justin Bieber (he/him), Hailey Bieber (she/her), Saweetie (she/her), Quavo (he/him), Jaden Smith (he/him), Winnie Harlow (she/her) were amongst many others who violated the Covid restrictions that were present in Los Angeles county, one of them stating “residents that father with up to two other households, should do so only outdoors, wearing face coverings, and keeping six feet of distance the entire time.” Obviously this is clearly breaking the restrictions and further shows the complete disconnect these celebrities have with responsibility. Kris Jenner (she/her) went on the offense though, blaming others for attacking them as she states that they “[were] tested religiously” following with “we do what we can. We try to follow the rules.” Acting as if she was not the coordinator of the party in spite of clear guidelines. To further rub salt in the wounds, she states “We live our lives trying to be just really good people” which is completely insensitive as people can even say goodbye to their dying loved ones in the hospital, or hold funerals for family members because of the lack of care coming from the nation, more specifically influencers. Events like these show how celebrities have the ability to break the rules with no consequences, have the same comfort levels they had before, and the ability to keep their family safe, while the average person can not. However, at the very least it does not put anyone in direct harm’s way, with them all apparently being tested. So sadly, they are the least infuriating influencers that will be showcased.

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Lana Del Rey wearing her “face mask” during book signing at Barnes and Nobles.

Lana Del Rey (she/her). Indie Singer, internet menace, many still try to understand why people like her music, and with the dedicated fanbase one would think she is not as controversial as she actually is. The internet storm washed over Twitter as photos circulated of her wearing jewelry as a mask. For some background, she was having a Barnes and Noble meet-up for her poetry book, with notable lines like “people think that I’m rich and I am, but not how they think”. It is completely irresponsible attracting people to gather in such a small enclosed area for something as insignificant as continuing to make a profit off fans during a global pandemic. What makes this worse is that she was taking pictures with fans, right next to their face, and to top it all of she was wearing a mesh mask, which completely destroys the purpose of a face covering. A mask is designed to stop droplets that exit from your mouth and spread into the air. With a decoration like this, it’s the same thing as not wearing a mask at all. As she was being dragged on the internet for doing something obviously dangerous, she decided to completely ignore the comments for a month and a half. Later, she would state would reply on Twitter humbling stating that she was “working on 2 albums and excitedly and happily donating a million dollars throughout the nation.” A month later, the student newspaper, the Michigan Daily release “Lana Del Rey Wore a Mesh Mask. What Now?”, where they give a history of her previous controversy along with the current one, and also give insight into how the artists are falling out of favor with her fans. “Mask etiquette has become synonymous with compassion, intelligence, and human decency. Del Rey’s fashion choice feels like a slap in the face for those who have been intimately hurt by Covid-19 and for those who wear their masks without issue. Celebrity status does not exclude Del Rey from this responsibility.” This, out of all the hate she was given, was her prince charming kiss as she was woken up from her social media hiatus to respond to the backlash. She finally tweets “the mask had plastic on the inside. They’re commonly sewn in by stylists these days. I’m lucky enough to have a team of people who can do that.” Although everyone was so glad Lana had the ability to get a stylish mask, many proceeded to point out how this is a complete lie, as more photos and proof circle around of how there was indeed no plastic on the inside. How when she pulled it down it only showed mesh material on the front and inside, how the inside of the mask didn’t fog up as it would if made out of plastic, and how her voice was never muffled as a normal mask would. In the past, many fans jumped to Del Rey’s defense. Many fans connect with her because of how personal her music is, and for some reason that just makes you a good person, making these fans predisposed to defend her at all cost. However, this decision was too serious for fans to ignore. Sadly, Lana Del Rey, and celebrities in general can never be canceled because rich people don’t go away no matter how many times they are tagged on Twitter. As the previous article pointed out, celebrity status does not exclude Del Rey from the responsibility of doing simple tasks such as wearing a mask and social distancing to stop others from dying. Yet somehow capitalizing on her fans was more important than that. Holding a small gathering for the sole purpose of power-tripping over your fans while desperately trying to seem relevant again is one thing. However, it’s the least offensive event referenced in this article.

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Rita Ora attending her birthday party in west London

Continuing on the extreme disconnect from people in the music industry, Rita Ora (she/her) follows as yet another influencer who lacks empathy as photographs come out showing her celebrating her 30th birthday party with a group of about 30 people with no masks in a single restaurant. Occurring in west London, many people were very upset because that was in direct violation of guidelines set by the area to prevent people from spreading Covid. She was caught doing this and started getting called out by everyone from Twitter to law enforcement. She decided to post an apology on Instagram for her “small gathering” and continues to state that it was a spur of moment decision and that she feels “particularly embarrassed knowing first hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to keep us all safe.” Even though she had the decency to write a lazy apology, it turns out that right before her party she came back from a trip to Egypt, meaning that according to the government should have been self-isolating instead of throwing a party. After this information was released, she again had to apologize. It’s hilarious to note how celebrities don’t even get traction for talent anymore but just controversies. Sadly, it somehow gets worse. When police found her in the party with 30 people, they launched an investigation and found out that she bribed the restaurant owner nearly $7,000 into letting her host the party. Reportedly, they boarded up windows and shut off security cameras in order to not get caught. This time, however, Rita Ora had no apologies to say. Yes, this event was terrible, but the fact that she tried to hide it and got caught in 3 controversies surrounding the same event makes it worse. Celebrities have always been awarded the benefit of the doubt or were placed on some higher pedestal because of their fame, but now the whole world has to deal with the same violations, and all around us we see stars fall victim to their lack of responsibility and care. It shouldn’t matter how much you love someone’s music, how beautiful they are, how famous they are, how “iconic” they are. It will never be enough to excuse your decisions to endanger others and use your fame and money to get away with it. Even though celebrities are held to the same standards and regulations as the rest of us, breaking the law is not illegal for them, it’s just inconvenient. 


“Tik Tokers”

Left: Larray and Emma Chamberlain Right: James Charles and Charli D’amelio

Before continuing, keep in mind that these people are adults. It’s hard to face this fact with their kindergarten sense of humor and responsibility, but most are in their 20’s and are legally allowed to vote (which is scary to fathom). Think about what they really are. Unhinged adults with no capacity for empathy and no care for human life. The Hype House. If you don’t know what this is, lucky you. It’s basically a mansion filled with teens or older with no responsibility or talent raking in millions of views from children for just waving their arms in front of their phone. Celebrities at least have the decency to know that what they are doing is wrong, these Tik Tok stars don’t even try to hide it; if anything, they flaunt it around. The Hype House, along with many internet star hubs, throws massive “influencer” parties. In this instance, the Tik Tok/YouTuber star “Larray” (he/him) turned 22 and hosted a party at the Hype House mansion. The inside was decked out with balloons and decorations, clearly planned and paid for to to host the event. Because of Larray’s apparent big follower count, many other influencers joined the party like Emma Chamberlain (she/her), James Charles (he/him), Nikita Dragun (she/her), Tana Mongeau (she/her) (who will be featured a plethora of times coming up), and many others. Larray offered a weak apology stating “I understand 100% where ur coming from & it was a dumb thing to do. I will do better.” Which is one of the many ways celebrities avoid saying “sorry”. This idea that “I got caught time to possibly think about changing” is a slap in the face to those who didn’t even get a chance to have that decision because they have died or had loved ones die from Covid-19. They never were given the chance to either take it seriously or not. It starts off as a matter of life and death. Finally deciding to change after being publically forced into doing so is disgusting. James Charles followed with an even weaker apology in the middle of “A Day in The Life with James Carles” video where he quickly states with white font over a black background that he “decided to cut the party footage from the video” continuing by stating that he has been wearing a mask and had been tested negative multiple times before attending the party which seems pointless because there still can be others that give you and others the virus anyways. He apologized that it was a stupid mistake and that “people’s safety and keeping Covid-19 contained is FAR more important than celebrating a friend’s birthday party. Which again, it doesn’t matter considering he did do just that. The “it was a dumb decision” is tiring. They didn’t make this mistake because they were dumb, they just don’t care and have a complete lack of empathy. It’s not surprising to know that this is not the only party like this. Tana Mongeau and Erika Costell (she/her) decided to go to a party hosted by Jake Paul (he/him) in which they posted a video saying “Listen.. We don’t ******* care. Sorry” further showing her complete lack of respect and responsibility during this global pandemic. I don’t think the public needed a verbal confirmation of their complete incompetence in the suffering world around them. Tana posted a… well I don’t even think it’s an apology because she did address what she did, but stated that she would apologize for real later. People like this are turning Los Angeles into a Covid-19 hotspot, or lack of a better word, already have. Giving these “influencers” the platform to influence their fans into thinking that this pandemic isn’t that big of a deal will leave thousands more dead and millions more in the hospital. Elijah Daniel (he/him) tweets stating “a lot of influencers have been testing positive for Covid-19 after the influencer parties, like a LOT. And they aren’t saying anything & arent warning people they came in contact with after” which is not surprising.

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Elijah Daniel tweet stating “a lot of influencers have been testing positive for Covid-19 after the influencer parties, like a LOT. And they aren’t saying anything & arent warning people they came in contact with after…” Left: photo from Larray’s Birthday party. Right: unknown influencer party

There is nothing to lose for them if they get Covid, they have the ability to pay for hospital bills and not worry about losing their job. But they have everything to gain with the number of views and popularity the Hype House and other influencer parties bring. These people are facing no consequences, well besides a certain Tik Tok house and the city government. The Sway house, which is basically the exact same thing as the Hype house but they’re all toxic frat boys that post weird sexual content for their underage fans. The similarities don’t stop there as the Sway House has an obsession with pushing the rules as much as possible, or just blatantly breaking them. Bryce Hall’s (he/him) 21st birthday party has been one of the biggest gatherings mentioned, with a total of 100 people packed into his Hollywood Hills mansion. In videos, people are pressed up against each other making it look like a mosh pit.

Center, up: Bryce Hall Left, right: images from Bryce Hall's 21st birthday party Center, down: tweet stating "Glad I have to be stuck at home because of people like you who aren't taking Covid more seriously."
Center, up: Bryce Hall Left, right: images from Bryce Hall’s 21st birthday party Center, down: tweet stating “Glad I have to be stuck at home because of people like you who aren’t taking Covid more seriously.”

Although it was broken up by police, photos still were able to be shared all over social media. And a lot of these “Sway House frat boys” were in attendance. As part of a sweeping effort to crack down on these major parties, the mayor shut of Bryce Hall’s power at his mansion. However, all Bryce did was make jokes about it. Posting tweets and TikToks making fun of the situations and continuing to get more clout from it. He went on to Jeff Wittek’s (he/him) Youtube channel and further showed how completely unremorseful he is super spreader party, further proving that these consequences don’t affect him. The government realized this and decided to charge him criminally. Both he and Blake Gray (he/him) (another tik toker apparently) got charged for holding these types of parties. The attorney of Los Angeles held a press conference about it, stating “they’re are potential super spreader events for Covid-19. Today given that information, I’m making an announcement about a series of prosecutions tied to party houses.” He faced up to a year in jail, as well as $2,000 (which is you ask me was $200,000 cheaper than it should have been to cover the cost of police officers ignoring actual pressing issues instead of breaking up a party, or the amount of paperwork to create the charges in the first place). It’s nice to know that some celebrities actually are condemning these people, like Ariana Grande (she/her), where in a video directly calls these influencers stating “did we really need to go to ****** Saddle Ranch that badly, that we couldn’t have waited for the deathly pandemic to pass? Like we all really needed to put on our cowgirl boots and ride a mechanical bull that bad. We all needed that Instagram post that badly?” Bryce Hall, however, actually had the nerve to retaliate and attack Grande and paint himself as the victim stating during his interview by Hollywood Raw Podcast “She’s not wrong, but like unnecessary. Unnecessary to call out a specific group, especially when there’s other people doing it, because she knew that TikTokers have a high audience. She knew a lot of people would agree, because there’s a lot of people that hate Tiktokers, especially…. It was obviously like a marketing move and good for her, but she’s not wrong.” Which first off, is the weirdest statement. He acknowledges that she is not wrong, but he continues to invalidate what she is saying. He has the audacity to say that her calling him out was “unnecessary” when it was unnecessary for him to throw those massive parties. Bryce seems to be really confused as to why people hate Tik Tokers so much, and this is the reason why. He’s putting the blame and pointing fingers onto others instead of owning up to his mistakes. He really seems to like boosting his confidence in the idea that Ariana Grande, the biggest pop singer in the world right now, would need clout from a Tik Toker. The morality of putting people in danger, and taking the risk of not only getting Covid and spreading it but facing criminal charges just to spread the virus is absurd. Sadly, no actions can be done from stopping what has already been done as Covid was most definitely spread throughout the party attendees and there is no way to track each person down. These Tik Tokers demographic and fans are children, children are going to listen to someone they admire, not someone like Dr. Fauci. The ideology being spread around that Covid isn’t real or that it is not a big deal is further being promoted by these influencer’s actions. 



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@nelkboys instagram story during their merch drop.

The reason why all these Youtubers are traveling and collaborating with others is for one simple reason, views. Only views. Thankfully, Youtube channels are still thriving while following restrictions. However, the YouTubers that realize that they can not rely on just themselves for interesting connect rely on breaking the law in order to get views. The NELK boys are yet another influencer house, and a lot like Lana Del Rey seem to still need to capitalize on their fans even during a deadly pandemic; however, this event was worse. They did a live merch drop in front of a Jersey Shore house, where reportedly 1,000 people attend. None were wearing masks, so police had to break it up. Even with arrests being made, the NELK boys, and if you can see this ongoing trend, effortlessly escaped law enforcement and moved onto their next meet-up… and the one after that. This is possibly even worse than the influencer parties because not only are these people complete strangers and they have no capability to track anyone who attended these gatherings, but they are knowingly endangering fans. It gets even worse, if you can imagine, as the NELK boys decided to stage a protest to open public gyms. This was hosted by SteveWillDoIt (he/him), who is one of the NELK Boys members, and he posted it on his youtube channel. Now there are multiple levels to this, not only are they protesting in an insanely stupid and dangerous manner, but they fashioned it as a parody of a Black Lives Matter protest, saying phrases like “Lat Lives Matter” and “Gym Lives Matter”. And what is a controversial YouTuber event without mentioning Jake Paul, who filled his “Fresh Out of London” music video showcasing a maskless crowd. Surprisingly enough, Jake Paul actually did not have clearance for hosting a crowd like this. To make matters worse, as previously mentioned, Jake was hosting multiple of these influencer parties which involved his entire friend group. It isn’t shocking to hear that his friend Tanner Fox (he/him) tested positive for Covid-19. Jake Paul’s response to this news was anything but not surprising as Fox asks Jake if he’s worried about it, and he responds with “not really”, and another voice in the background stating “we don’t care.” Jake Paul began to spread Covid-19 conspiracy theories to his impressionable young audience. He got confronted by The Daily Beast about his decision to hold these parties, he continues to address the mass amount of people losing their jobs, businesses going bankrupt, but then continues to say that “Covid cases are at less than 1 percent, and I think the disease is a hoax.” When the interviewer responded with the fact that Covid killed about 260,000 people in 2020, Jake responds with “Ugh. Yeah, and so has the flu.” The Verge brought this problem to attention, and Jake Paul insisted that he has been misquoted, stating that it is terrible that someone with this amount of power can just change what he said to fit their narrative. However, the small problem is that The Daily Beast interview was audio recorded, so everything he said was true and not misquoted. Shortly after he was seen at a yacht party passing around a hookah. These people who couldn’t care less about the virus, that doesn’t both the public, we don’t care if they get Covid. We do care however about the fact how it’s impacting others who don’t get to make that decision, who spread it to loved ones and strangers without even knowing. They are choosing to be stupid, there are choosing to believe that Covid isn’t real because they haven’t seen the full effects of it and do not consider themselves responsible for any actions they make as they decide to blame someone else or a higher power. Spreading this information gets people killed. Laughing off getting Covid, as people get killed is a privilege that many do not have. KNH states that “4 In 10 Americans Know Someone Who Was Hospitalized Or Died From Covid. The Pew Research Center conducted the poll in August. The proportion of Hispanics who knew someone (46%) more than doubled since the April/May survey.” Sadly, there are still way too many YouTubers violating Covid restrictions, like the Vlog Squad (except for David Dobrik) and even a licensed medical doctor who religiously posted Covid-19 educational videos, was captured in photos on a yacht party in Miami, which was and still is in a state of emergency. Their complete lack of responsibility is on full display and they don’t even try to hide it, or when they do it still comes out.

These celebrities complete lack of responsibility and sympathy affect their fans, as the average person has been negatively impacted by this virus. Sadly, these people won’t lose. They won’t lose their status. They won’t lose their money. They won’t lose their loved ones. They won’t lose their own lives. The inability to think of anyone but themselves is impossible as their whole career surrounds the idea of their social presence and popularity. This pandemic has really outed celebrities and social media stars true colors, selfish and egotistical. As the average person gets held accountable for these actions while these celebrities are given a slap on the wrist or even given more popularity as they care more about themselves then the dying world around them. Their ability to do certain actions and not be held accountable for them is disgusting. It’s crazy to think that if the rules have been followed the pandemic would most definitely have been over by now. However celebrities and people that have nothing to lose still turn a blind eye to the facts but get upset when their party gets shut down or they get “cancelled”. If they followed the rules like the rest of the world then they could party all they want soon after. Instead, we’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Americans struggling with Covid-19. Thankfully, a vaccine is the only way that this pandemic can be stopped because these influencers inability to stop partying and even the average person’s struggle to not attend large social gatherings is killing people. These actions are killing people. This pandemic really shows the complete divide between the working class and the wealthy and the unbalance of justice between the two. Attending a party and sharing a drafted tweet about how it was “stupid choice and it won’t happen again” is a privilege. When a loved one dies of Covid, they don’t have the ability to be stupid and ignore it. 2020 and 2021 so far has shown selfishness and the inability of sympathy amongst the human race as people die, while others celebrate their privilege.