Rise of the common people: Is the cult of celebrity over?

Every week, the UK has been applauding the NHS by clapping for them on their doorsteps

The one phrase, other than “flatten the curve” that has been uttered more than any other during this pandemic seems to be “we’re all in this together”. But are we really? While the disease doesn’t care if you’re a family of four living in a two bedroom flat or a rich, young celeb holed up in your mansion with swimming pool and home cinema, it seems the public do. 

On White Wine Question Time, Deborah James from You, Me And The Big C said that she believes the pandemic will change the way we view celebrities.

“I was looking at how we celebrate celebrity a little bit,” she said. “I've noticed a shift in the kind of people that are on TV shows, the kind of people that we're listening to… And it's actually, it's the general public and that's who we should be listening to.” 

Host Kate Thornton agreed with her guest, saying she hopes that now we’ve all recognised who the real heroes are.

She said: “I hope that that one of the biggest lessons that comes out of this is that we learn to truly value, recognise and more importantly, reward the men and women that have kept this country going whilst we've been sat at home.

“And that's our key workers – people that are barely scraping a minimum wage – who have kept the lights on in Great Britain.”

Since the virus swept the globe, bored celebrities have been posting on social media to their legions of fans, but they seem to be facing ever increasing backlash from the previously adoring public.

Take Wonder Woman star, Gal Gadot, who decided to get her celeb friends together to sing a version of John Lennon’s Imagine. The response from her followers was probably not what she expected, with people accusing her of being out of touch with what was happening.

One fan stated that her attempt to prove we’re all the same was “an insult to the people of the world truly suffering”, while another accused her of being totally “self-aware”.

While there’s no doubt that celebrities can use their power to promote social distancing and to raise funds, it seems the public have simply had enough of them. 

Pharrell Williams got shot down when he tweeted asking for donations for health workers, with the Twitter hemisphere shouting that he should probably put his hand into his estimated $150 million wealth.

Victoria Beckham has faced criticism for initially going to the Government to pay her furloughed staff

Victoria Beckham was lambasted for using Government money to furlough her staff, when she has a personal wealth of £360 million and various celebrities have come under scorn (we’re looking at you, Gemma Collins) for seemingly thinking that lockdown laws don’t apply to them. 

Lauren Mahon, Deborah’s fellow guest on the show, said celebrities lack the realness that people are craving right now.

“People want people with substance and people they can relate to,” she said. “And I think that what this is showing.”

While we may not be finding solace in celebrities touting the ‘all in this together’ line, Lauren says that the major positive of the pandemic has been in local communities coming together.

“One thing, I'm really glad of is this community aspect,” she told Kate. “It's been a real positive thing for me. It's been so nice - that connection. Even though we're so far apart, we're all together.”

Lauren Mahon and Deborah James share their worries about how the pandemic has made cancer the forgotten C on this week’s episode of White Wine Question Time. Donate to SU2C here. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify