Celebs who are getting slammed on social media during the protests

On May 25, 2020, video footage of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, went viral — prompting swift response from the Black Lives Matter movement. With people taking to social media and the streets to call for justice, protests against police brutality have swept the nation, and many have called on celebrities to speak out. 

Many stars have risen to the occasion by using their voices and platforms to spread awareness, call for change, donate money to support the protesters, or join in the protests themselves. Halsey, for example, attended a protest where many of her friends were tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets and asked her followers to donate to bail fund organizations. Similarly, Chrissy Teigen “committed” to donating $200,000 to bail out protesters. Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel called out President Trump’s response to the protests. And model Emily Ratajkowski? She marched with a call to “#defundthepolice.”

But since celebrities, as the old saying goes, are just like us, several have made mistakes when speaking out against injustice or even sparked major controversy. Here are some celebs who have gotten slammed on social media during the protests.

Shameik Moore was slammed over his controversial tweets

The Get Down and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse star Shameik Moore got off on the wrong foot when the George Floyd protests first began by suggesting on Instagram Live that Rosa Parks could have simply … taken a black-owned taxi. Lots to unpack there. However, the actor then fired off a series of controversial tweets, one of which asked, “In the MOMENT.. when we are experiencing racism.. can we the black community find ways to avoid being killed? Or hunted.” He added, among other things, “We need to learn how to deal with police… and or racism… because THIS is the part of the scenario we have failed to fix.”

One of Moore’s critics was writer Roxane Gay, who tweeted, “You need to go read several books because this is not your lane and you are embarrassing yourself.” Similarly, writer Jamil Smith called for Moore to educate himself on the issues, writing, “You have no idea what you’re talking about. At the very least, I would encourage you to further educate yourself about urban poverty and the history of systemic racism and police violence in America before spreading more supremacist talking points to your considerable audience.”

After getting dragged into the spider-verse and back in his comments, Moore apologized in another Instagram Live, saying (via Essence), “My heart is in a place of growth. I want us to grow.”

Stephanie Pratt got dragged after her comments about looters

Reality TV personality and former The Hills star Stephanie Pratt stepped directly on a social media landmine when her first response to the May 2020 Black Lives Matter protests was about looters. But we’re not just talking a general “looting is bad” take, we’re talking about taking to Twitter with a call to arms as demonstrators marched through her native Southern California. 

“Shoot the looters — using this tragedy as their excuse to rob and burn all of our towns down,” the 34-year-old wrote in a now-deleted tweet (via the New York Daily News). “Anyone else sobbing watching their town being burned down?” Per Too Fab, Pratt added, “Where the f**k is the national guard — Santa Monica is burning!!!!!”

In swift social media backlash, people not only called her comments dangerous — “Why would you tweet something so stupid? … You’re [inciting] more violence,” actress-model Meagan Tandy wrote — but also called out her apparent hypocrisy over “looting.” According to Page Six, Pratt was arrested in Oahu, Hawaii back in 2006 for shoplifting $1,300 worth of merchandise from a Neiman Marcus store, and was ultimately charged with second-degree theft. One user even posted Pratt’s mugshot. Tip: If you’re going to accuse people of looting, maybe don’t have a shoplifting charge to your name?

Jake Paul was accused of looting a Scottsdale mall

During the Scottsdale, Ariz. protests of George Floyd’s death, the Fashion Square Mall was looted. Caught on camera at this location? Infamous YouTube guy Jake Paul. According to BuzzFeed, in a series of now-deleted Instagram videos posted by his videographer, Andrew Blue, Paul could be seen walking through the mall with a bunch of men stealing merchandise and destroying property.

While Paul posted his own videos about his run-ins with the police presence during the protests, other Scottsdale residents took to Twitter to call him out. “I am so f**king angry abt scottsdale fashion square being looted,” one user tweeted. “It was not part of BLM phx metro (black-led + protesting downtown). jake paul + his other rich white friends are capitalizing off of this for attention + notoriety while doing nothing to support the actual movement.”

Following the backlash, Blue released a statement on his Instagram Stories, claiming (via BuzzFeed), “Nobody with us was looting,” and shortly afterward, Paul released a statement of his own. “I do not condone violence, looting, or breaking the law,” he wrote in part. “However, I understand the anger and frustration that led to the destruction we witnessed and while it’s not the answer, it’s important that people see it and collectively figure out how to move forward in a healthy way.”

Social media users did not want to see Madonna's son dance

What can we say about Madonna? The Queen of Pop, a musical icon, and notoriously famous for doing just a bit too much. A month after claiming she tested positive for coronavirus antibodies and saying she couldn’t wait to go outside and “breathe in the COVID-19 air,” the “Like a Prayer” posted a video of her adopted son, David, dancing in their kitchen in response to the Black Lives Matter protests.

“Brutal murder travels around the world my son David Dances to honor and pay tribute to George and His Family and all Acts of Racism and Discrimination that happen on a daily basis in America,” Madonna captioned the clip of her son doing a performative dance to Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us.” She added the hashtag, “#JusticeforGeorgeFloyd,” but several Twitter users felt Madge’s son should have danced like no one was watching … only literally.

“Nobody asked Madonna to weigh in today. Not a soul. Unforced errors among public figures have been rampant this month,” April Reign, the creator of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, wrote. Meanwhile, Jensen Karp, who hosts the No-Sports Report podcast, tweeted: “I’m nervous that Madonna’s son is gonna stop dancing and racism will come back.”

Lana Del Rey caused controversy while at a protest

There’s no simple way to say this: Lana Del Rey might want to take a social media hiatus. Less than two weeks after facing backlash for publicly dragging non-white artists to hit back at her own critics, the Norman F**king Rockwell singer found herself at the center of controversy again. 

While attending a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles, Del Rey shared footage that reportedly featured people looting with her 16.5 million Instagram followers, per Billboard, but opted not to blur the protesters’ faces to protect their identities from authorities. She eventually deleted the posts after intense backlash from her peers, presumably due to the thousands of arrests that have been made since the nationwide protests first began.

“@LanaDelRey please remove your instagram post it’s dangerous as f**k and a very poor choice of moments to post,” singer Kehlani wrote in a now-deleted tweet (via Billboard). “By all means protest, but DO NOT endanger people with your very massive platform. oh and turn your f**kin comments on man.” Singer Tinashe also jumped in to criticize Del Rey, tweeting (via Billboard), “Why the f**k are you posting people looting stores on your page literally WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM.”

Shekinah Jo Anderson shed tears over a Gucci store

When the Black Lives Matter protests made it to Atlanta, some in the city descended upon Lennox Square Mall in the upscale Buckhead district and started looting — specifically, the Gucci store. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star Shekinah Jo Anderson then hopped on Instagram Live (NSFW) to cry over … the Gucci store. “Y’all angry, y’all mad, y’all selfish,” Anderson said through tears, adding, “Gucci ain’t did s**t to y’all!”

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez, who didn’t see a problem with looting due to 40 million people in the U.S. being unemployed, caught wind of Anderson’s comments and called her out. “WITH ALL THE THINGS GOING ON …. IM SEEING THIS LADY CRYING OVER THE GUCCI STORE BEING BROKEN INTO ?!!?? THE F**KING GUCCI STORE SHORTY ??!?!??” he tweeted.

Lanez then asked Anderson to join his Instagram Live to discuss her remarks. When Anderson attempted to defend herself, Lanez asked if she had “marched with the people yet” (via Bossip). She then admitted that she hadn’t, but added, “I don’t think we’re gonna get anywhere by stealing these people’s s**t.” In response Lanez fired back with, “Me and you have money and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.”

Heidi Klum didn't read the room with this controversial post

No matter how well-intentioned a celebrity’s message might be, sometimes it can backfire. Model and television host Heidi Klum found that out the hard way when she posted an ill-conceived tweet in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Klum, who has three children with ex-husband Seal, posted an image of her hands with that of her kids and added the caption, “United in diversity #AllLivesMatter,” in a now-deleted tweet.

Black and white hands joining in unison should be a powerful image, but when other celebrities are speaking out and aligning with the Black Lives Matter movement, using the #AllLivesMatter hashtag probably isn’t the best move … and Twitter felt the same. “If only you took the amount of time used to create your Halloween costumes, to actually realize why the hashtag is #BlackLivesMatter you would be in a better position than you’re in now,” one person wrote, adding, “Your post is rather ignorant in tone.”

Meanwhile, other social media users jumped in with sharper critiques. “This is why I write about how biracial & interracial … relationships and families aren’t ‘the cure’ for racism,” one person tweeted, adding in part, “Because white women like Heidi treat their Black kids like props to promote a known white supremacist response to #BlackLivesMatter.”

David Guetta faced social media backlash after posting a cringe mix

Oh, David Guetta. Where do we even start? During a live-streamed fundraising event for coronavirus relief efforts, the 52-year-old French DJ decided his response would be to drop an EDM beat on Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech to “shout out” George Floyd’s family (via the New York Post). Yes, you read that right. 

“The world is going through difficult times and America, too, actually,” Guetta said before he kicked off the cringe. “Last night, I knew we were going to do this and I made a special record … in honor of George Floyd. I really hope we can see more unity and more peace when already things are so difficult.”

As expected, Guetta’s tribute did not go over well in the Twittersphere. “There’ve been a lot of crimes committed against my ppl this weekend, but David Guetta putting a drop behind MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ speech is up there,” Rolling Stone staff writer Charles Holmes tweeted. Meanwhile, journalist Áine McMahon wrote, “Yes David Guetta, I’m sure that’s exactly what George Floyd would have wanted… an EDM banger sampling Martin Luther King.” Canadian journalist Sean Craig added, “It’s lazy and easy to joke that something feels like it was scripted by Sacha Baron Cohen but also.” Big yikes.

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