Who do most people turn to for advice during elections? Politicians? Economists? Friends? Celebrities? Over the past two months of the US presidential campaign, the great and good of Beverly Hills have made a concerted effort to sway public opinion. Actors, singers and even reality-TV stars have released videos and statements urging the American public to understand ‘how important this election is’.
First, there was Lena Dunham, Hillary Clinton’s professional cheerleader. Dunham has essentially led the youth wing of Clinton’s campaign, appearing in head-to-toe Hillary-branded gear, promoting Clinton online and appearing at her rallies. ‘So once and for all — for everyone who asks me online, for the waitress who took me aside after serving me an omelette and said, “I’m so confused about what to do in this election” — here’s why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton’, she told Time magazine. Thank God for Lena Dunham. Without her, what would become of all the service staff who can’t understand the election?
Pop singer Katy Perry also joined the Clinton camp. In a video for Rock the Vote, an organisation that encourages young people to vote, Perry assured viewers that ‘it’s okay, you can look like shit and still vote’. Apparently, 18-year-olds need to be told that they don’t have to treat the polling station like a catwalk. To hammer the point home, Perry proceeded to strip off and tell the camera ‘you can even vote naked’. To trailer the video, Perry tweeted: ‘Tomorrow, I use my body as clickbait to help change the world.’ A stirring political message.
But perhaps the most obsequious celebrity appearance of all came from Save The Day, a digital production company seeking to promote voting. It put out a video titled ‘IMPORTANT’, which featured a ‘shit ton of celebrities, telling you how important it is to register’. Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle and a host of other big names tell the camera: ‘You only ever get this many famous people together when it’s an issue that truly matters to all of us: a disease, or an ecological crisis, or a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society. Do the math, do we really want to give nuclear weapons to a man who’s signature move is firing things? We can end this nightmare before it begins.’ Nowhere is Trump or Clinton’s name mentioned, but the message is clear – there is a right way and a wrong way to vote.
Many other celebrities have come out with political statements. Robert DeNiro called Trump a ‘punk’ who he’d like to punch in the face, and over 100 celebrities have signed an open letter titled ‘Artists Against Trump’. ‘We believe it is our responsibility to use our platforms to bring attention to the dangers of a Trump presidency, and to the real and present threats of his candidacy’, the letter reads. ‘We call upon every American to join us – to stand together on the right side of history.’ These celebrities are aware of how ridiculous it is for them to be preaching to the public on political matters, and yet they continue to do it, in a creepy, self-conscious manner.