Celebrities reactions to the coronavirus pandemic are becoming increasingly deranged

We’re looking at you, Vanessa Hudgens.

by Roisin Lanigan
18 March 2020, 11:42am

The times we’re living in are incredibly strange, and so it makes sense that they’re forcing us to act in incredibly strange ways. You might not think you’re the kind of person to hoard £300 worth of loo rolls under the stairs, but during a global pandemic, even though you know in your heart of hearts that COVID-19 is not. a. shitting. disease, you own more stock than the Charmin bears. The one silver lining in all of the horribleness is that celebrities are not immune from the temptation to go weird.

Take Vanessa Hudgens, for example. Having stayed well away from Twitter cancellation in the normal day-to-day world, she promptly fucked up her status as a beloved Disney sweetheart within days while under isolation, posting a bizarre rant for which she was forced to apologise. In an Instagram live video, posted after she recorded a TikTok duet with wholesome and as-yet-uncancelled Ashley Tisdale, featuring a huge glass of red wine, Vanessa ranted: “Umm, yeah, ‘til July sounds like a bunch of bullshit.”

“I’m sorry but like, it’s a virus,” the actress continued, screaming out into the ether of other quarantined souls, many of which are worried about their own health or that of their loved ones. “I get it, like, I respect it, but at the same time I’m like, even if everybody gets it, like yea, people are going to die, which is terrible but like, inevitable?” After the comments were rightfully branded heartless Vanessa made the classic notes-app grovelling apology, saying the experience had been a “huge wake up call”.

Did any one of us realistically have “Gabrielle from High School Musical advocates eugenics” on our 2020 bingo cards? No! Coronavirus is making the celebrities nuts!

My theory is that the extreme pressure of worldwide panic and the threat of months of self-isolation is taking the worst parts of our personalities and dialling them up to eleven. Suddenly, all our quirks and tics are laid bare for our housemates or partners or families -- the people we’re staring down the barrel of 12 weeks of near-constant contact with. For celebrities, those huge platforms means that their worst aspects -- namely, their complete lack of relatability and connection with the normal world -- are laid out not just for their nearest and dearest but for their global audiences too.

Case in point: Jared Leto. Does weird shit at the best of times! And so his response to coronavirus (a delayed response, it should be noted) made sense! Jared Leto, man who carried his own severed head to the Met Gala and literally nobody cared because it was the most normal thing he’s ever done, announced yesterday that he only just discovered there was a global pandemic. Why? Oh, because he was on a 12-day retreat in the middle of the desert and nobody was allowed their phone.

“Wow,” Jared began on Twitter. “12 days ago I began a silent meditation in the desert. We were totally isolated. No phone, no communication. etc. We had no idea what was happening outside the facility. Walked out yesterday into a very different world. One that’s been changed forever. Mind blowing -- to say the least. I’m getting messages from friends and family all around the globe and catching up on what’s going on.” He ended the message in stereotypically Jared Leto fashion by sending positivity to all. The WHO are yet to confirm if positive vibes are an effective treatment for the disease, which has infected up to 200,000 people around the world.

There’s something really eerie though, about being out of contact for nearly two weeks and missing the entire planet change around you. Missing terms like “social distancing” and “self-isolation” suddenly entering our cultural lexicon. It calls to mind that iconic scene of Cillian Murphy waking up from a coma at the beginning of quarantine-viewing-classic 28 Days Later only to find London completely abandoned after a zombie apocalypse has taken over the world. If that gives you the spooks (same) then spare a thought for the contestants on the current season of German Big Brother. Yes, put your disbelief that the Big Brother franchise is still going aside and listen to this: those aspiring reality TV stars have no idea about coronavirus.

Or at least, they didn’t until last night. In what’s being called an “ethical nightmare” contestants were told about the pandemic on live television -- resulting in tears and panic about relatives with co-morbidities. One housemate is a carer in the outside world. When the Big Brother contestants entered the house, where phones and contact with the outside world is completely banned, the virus was contained to Wuhan, where the spread was relatively low. Although a doctor was on hand after the housemates were screened a news report bringing them up to date on the pandemic, it’s still pretty unnerving watching.

But look, things aren’t all bad. It’s not all crazy out there in the world of the rich and beautiful. We can always rely on relatable king, Self Rogen, for a normal and measured response to the crisis. He’s at home, really high, and doesn’t know what a jellicle is. Honestly, same.

Seth Rogen
Jared Leto
vanessa hudgens
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