By: Aliya Koshalieva
Back in the day, people scrutinized what celebrities did and said whenever they made public appearances, but they never knew what happened behind the scenes. If another famous person passed away, the world would never know how other celebrities felt unless the paparazzi caught them grieving or they released a public statement. Now, in a digital world where social media seemingly rules the world, people suddenly expect celebrities to post a beautifully worded post that tugs on the public’s heartstrings the second the news breaks.
In Aug. 2020, when Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away, all social media platforms were flooded with people posting tributes to him. Elizabeth Olsen, famous for her portrayal of Wanda Maximoff in the MCU, didn’t post and her comment section looked like the trenches of a war. People expect celebrities to make a post immediately, completely ignoring the fact that everyone mourns differently. Seeing people bashing her when she was obviously grieving made me realize that people would rather have a performative post than have them go through a heartfelt grieving process. People suspect the backlash she received from this made her delete her Instagram, but she said the whole social media thing made her “uncomfortable” as she was “trying to create a character version of [herself] and put it out in the world.”
With Matthew Perry’s untimely passing, people once again sent hate to the Friends cast for not posting immediately, but they also invaded the privacy of the Perry family. All of their most recent posts were flooded full of comments demanding a post for Perry. Under Courtney Cox’s social media accounts, especially Instagram and Twitter, users were demanding a post from her, going as far as spamming her comments sections for some post about her grief. Other Friends cast members experienced the same. Even though they’re celebrities and their lives are on display, we should still give them space in these dire moments.
Although I’m ashamed to admit this, I ran to the comment sections of Friends cast members, refreshing, hoping to see a post about Perry. However, I realized celebrities are not required to post immediately after, as they need space, just like everyone else. Imagine the stress these celebrities feel when their friend passes away. Now imagine how much harder it would be to drive when people are spamming your comment section, demanding a performative post about their death.
Yes, being a celebrity means more of your life is public. Having social media gives you the choice of having your life even more publicized, but the key word here is choice. Celebrities do not owe the world a post or public statement whenever another celebrity dies, even if they were best friends. Everyone deserves to have their own space and privacy, especially concerning personal matters. Regardless of the situation, everyone should be free to choose the amount of privacy they want.
(Sources: Buzzfeed, E News)