I don’t remember who said it and where I saw it, but whoever
it was is a prophet. Scrolling my Twitter feed just a few days ago, I glanced
at one that said something to the effect of, “It’s going to be interesting to
see all these Hollywood stars with access to their social media accounts
without their handlers around.” And just days later, it appears as though the
coronavirus has claimed its first victim:
What happened? Well, it seems Vanessa Hudgens, star of the
obnoxious and nearly intolerable Disney trilogy known as High School Musical,
got a little stir crazy in her massive, walled-in, mansion residence, and
decided to pick up her phone. Big mistake.
“Um, yeah, till July sounds like a bunch of bulls**t…I’m sorry, but like, it’s a virus, I get it, like, I respect it, but at the same time, even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible, but like, inevitable. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now.”
If only Hudgens had embraced those last seven words before
speaking the rest, things would have been much, much better. But she didn’t,
and to make matters worse, she got back on her social media accounts the next
day to try to stop the public opinion flogging she was justly receiving. Her
approach at contrition? Blame us for not understanding her.
“Hey guys, so yesterday I did an Instagram Live and I realize today that some of my comments are being taken out of context,” Hudgens said. “It’s a crazy time. It’s a crazy, crazy time and I am at home and in lock down and that’s what I hope you guys are doing too, in full quarantine and staying safe and staying, um, yeah, I don’t take this situation lightly by any means. I am home. So, stay inside y’all.”
No, what would ever possess any of us to believe that you
were taking this “situation lightly by any means,” Vanessa? Perhaps the fact
that you found the thought of staying isolated until summer profane? That even
though average Americans can fit their entire home into the square footage of
one of your walk-in closets, you feel as though this quarantine to save others’
lives is just too restrictive? Or maybe it’s that there is no other context in
which one could take your words than the meaning you conveyed perfectly in all
their, “Old people are gonna die in the end, anyway” glory.
I will admit my biggest frustration with these pathetic
remarks have less to do with the fact that a Hollywood starlet is insensitive
to the concerns of others outside her bubble, and more to do with the absurd
defense they are getting from some quarters.
“She didn’t have her handlers,” “Her publicist would have
never allowed this if he’d have known,” “She walked the comments back,” are all
sorry justifications being offered by plenty of folks who, for one reason or
another, feel badly for the multimillionaire actress.
But here’s the truth: you shouldn’t need handlers not to be
indifferent to the suffering of others. You shouldn’t have to have a publicist
by your side to keep people from seeing what’s really in your heart. That we
would humor this reasoning that suggests the glitterati need handlers to show
basic humanity is as good of evidence as you’ll ever need to understand why
Hollywood is the way Hollywood is.
Be better, Vanessa.