It opens with her, in a purple sweater and silver necklace, speaking into the camera.
“Hey, guys. Day six in self-quarantine, and I gotta say that these past few days got me feeling a bit philosophical. You know, this virus has infected the entire world,” Gadot says. “Everyone. Doesn’t matter who are you, where you’re from. We’re all in this together.”
She goes on to explain that, inspired by a clip of an Italian man playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” on a trumpet from his balcony, she put together her own video. It’s full of her celebrity friends singing the ballad, in full, a cappella.
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We are in this together, we will get through it together. Let’s imagine together. Sing with us ❤ All love to you, from me and my dear friends. #WeAreOne ....... #KristenWiig #JamieDornan @labrinth @james_marsden @sarahkatesilverman @eddiebenjamin @jimmyfallon @natalieportman @zoeisabellakravitz @siamusic @reallyndacarter @amyadams @leslieodomjr @pascalispunk @chrisodowd @hotpatooties #WillFerrell @markruffalo @norahjones @ashleybenson @kaiagerber @caradelevingne @anniemumolo @princesstagramslam
There’s James Marsden, Zoe Kravitz, Amy Adams, Mark Ruffalo and so many more, all looking cozy. Behind many of these celebrities are their cavernous homes, natural light flooding in through enormous windows. There are some outliers, such as Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon and Natalie Portman, who are walking around outside near what appear to be idyllic forests. The abundance of nice clothing is only rivaled by the amount of off-pitch singing. No makeup is out of place. Nearly every house you can glimpse in the video is bigger, nicer and more well-decorated than yours. If this is what self-quarantine looks like, sign us up!
Other celebrities who didn’t appear in the video took to the comments section to praise their peers. “So beautiful all of you,” wrote January Jones, noting that she hopes Will Ferrell keeps his crazy hairdo. “This is so beautiful,” chimed in Jessica Chastain.
The response from the non-famous struck a very different chord.
“I guess the sentiment is nice, but every single one of these people are so out of touch with reality that it’s cringeworthy to for them to say ‘we’re all in this together,’ ” commented one Instagram user. “No not really, us common folk are struggling just to get tested. Meanwhile, y’all are getting quarantined in your million dollar mansions.”
Another user took a blunter approach, writing, “How is this supposed to help lmao just open y’all damn purses.”
Things weren’t much better on Twitter.
“Hey celebs, we don’t want to be sung to,” tweeted film writer Casey Cipriani. “We want you to use a million or two of your money and order ventilators, masks, and gloves from the manufacturers then donate them to a hospital. Or pay for the salaries of an entire staff at a bar, restaurant, or daycare.” She then added the hashtag “imagine.”
“No politician can unify people in the way that the ‘Imagine’ video seems to have united every single person against it,” joked comedian and writer Josh Gondelman.
So why the vitriol? It’s not just because the song contains the line “imagine there’s no possessions” in a time when people desperately need basic living essentials. There’s certainly a gargantuan difference between being stuck in a mansion and being stuck in a poorly lit, one-bedroom basement apartment, something to which this reporter can attest. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
We know that rich celebrities have better access to coronavirus testing kits. They likely have access to better health-care options than most Americans. It’s not a stretch to say most of them can likely take a few years off work without too dire of consequences. That’s not the case in a country in which “four in 10 adults say they couldn’t produce $400 in an emergency without sliding into debt or selling something,” as The Washington Post reported in December 2018.
As a result, the video feels a bit tone deaf. That isn’t to say culture consumers want their celebrities to remain silent during times of crisis. Contrast that video with one made by “World War Z” author Max Brooks and his father, Mel Brooks.
In it, Max urges people to stay in their homes if possible and to wash their hands thoroughly. “If I get the coronavirus, I’ll probably be okay,” he says “But if I give it to him, he could give it to Carl Reiner, who could give it to Dick Van Dyke, and before I know it, I’ve wiped out a whole generation of comedic legends. When it comes to coronavirus, I have to think about who I can infect, and so should you.”
Unlike Gadot’s video, the Brooks one doesn’t pretend that the lives of Famous People are the same as the rest of ours. The joke hinges on the fact that they’re not. Plus, the point of the video is to spread important information, not just an attempt to make us feel better.
Celebrities have long felt the need to act as social ambassadors in times of crisis — to varying degrees of success. The ones who come out looking best generally are those who remain calm, don’t pander to their audience and use their power to tangibly help, such as by raising or donating money and helping raise awareness.
Doing something “daring” might endear you to some people while angering others. Who can forget the controversy sparked by Kanye West exclaiming “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” next to a shocked Mike Myers during a live telethon drumming up relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina?
But really the key to being a good Famous Person during a crisis is to keep in mind that normal people living normal lives do not have the same resources as you do and probably won’t be uplifted by a whole bunch of you flaunting it while doing Instagram karaoke.