OPINION – Celebrities should provide concrete aid not symbolic gestures

While people are coping as best they can during the coronavirus pandemic, it seems some celebrities are more concerned about themselves than those around them. 

Thanks to the wealth and status they have accumulated over the years, it appears that celebrities such as a number of NBA players, Idris Elba and Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson receive coronavirus testing sooner than others with less fame.

Some celebrities are also complaining about the virus in distasteful ways, with Ellen DeGeneres jokingly comparing her quarantine to being in jail. Others’ efforts to encourage the general population come off as useless and shallow, like Gal Gadot’s celebrity cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Because of these practices, many have criticized these celebrities for being self-centered and inconsiderate of those beneath them.

The problem is not so much that celebrities are getting tested first or that they are complaining, but more that these celebrities are not using their platform to help others get proper testing.

Making sure that we are healthy is important, and celebrities should be allowed to exercise that right. But if celebrities are only going to check themselves and then not do anything to help others get checked, it comes off as rather selfish, especially when they have it much better off than others. 

Cardi B, famous for her music career, vocalized her concern about American citizens and how long it can take for them to get tested for the virus.

“The general public, people that work regular jobs, people that get regular paychecks, the middle class, the poor,” she said in an Instagram video. “They’re not getting treated like celebrities.”

Because of how celebrities are being prioritized in receiving coronavirus testing, some celebrities are doing the opposite and putting others first. For example, the Golden State Warriors of the NBA have refrained from testing due to how limited coronavirus tests are. Bob Myers, the manager of the team, stated that he wants to make sure the elderly get treatment sooner than they do, as they are more vulnerable to the virus.

“We’ve been told that testing’s in short supply. We’re treating ourselves like people, which is what we are,” Myers stated. “We’re not better than anybody. We’re not worse. We’re just a basketball team, like any company.”

Letting others get testing first is not the only way celebrities have helped the public, as some have donated money to the unemployed. Ryan Reynolds, actor and owner of Aviation Gin, will donate 30% of his company’s profit to out-of-work bartenders. And Guy Fieri, star of multiple Food Network shows, will donate $500 to restaurant workers who have lost their jobs from the virus.

The world has conditioned people to think every man must fend for himself, but everyone should be better than that. While the coronavirus has caused social distancing at least 6 feet apart from one other, it is important that people stay together in times like these to help one another, especially helping those who need it the most.

 As Matthew 20:16 states, “So the last will be first, and the first last.”

The best way to beat the coronavirus is to do it together. If celebrities helped those who are less fortunate (instead of just singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”), they would not only be helping people in need, but also earn goodwill from the general public. 

Kudos to Bob Myers, Ryan Reynolds and Guy Fieri for making sacrifices to benefit others. Let’s see what other celebs can do to follow suit. 

Asher Notheis is an Opinion writer. Follow him on Twitter @AsherNotheis

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