One fascinating side-effect of the Black Lives Matter protests and Antifa riots over the past week has been an awakening of true-believers in the political Left voicing their displeasure with the posturing "performative activism" amongst white, privileged liberal elites.
This anger over token signs of support is best exemplified over the outroar aimed at "Harry Potter" actress Emma Watson for her #BlackoutTuesday Instagram posts.
#BlackoutTuesday was an initiative within top social media influencer circles that was designed to draw attention away from the usual, banal celebrity-oriented content and to focus on information that supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
Most participants posted a black square on their social media accounts and replaced their personal profile picture with it. They then added the requisite number of politically woke hashtags and some data supporting the position that police in America are racist.
Watson, ever the enlightened activist for whichever cause is most prominent on any given day, decided to out-do her celebrity pals by posting not one, not two, but three black squares (because she's three-times as woke, don't cha know?) and, to top it off, each square had a perfectly aligned white border so as not to disrupt the esthetic of her previous posts on her highly-trafficked Instagram page.
Watson added extra hashtags to the posts, Blackout Tuesday, The Show Must Be Paused, Amplify Melanated Voices, and Amplify Black voices. The reaction was...not good.
the way emma watson touts herself as an activist and has said nothing but three blank squares on instagram tells you how much of a white feminist she is— dumbass (@cullenswhore) May 30, 2020
That might leave a mark. There was more...
did emma watson rly put a damn border on her blackout tuesday post so it would fit her aesthetic.. fuck that.. and fuck the fact that this is the only time she’s spoken up and it literally contributes NOTHING.. miss me with that white feminist bs— ? (@nicheIe) June 2, 2020
Been feeling uneasy about the deluge of perfomative wokeness on social media for ages now but Emma Watson posting three blackout photos on her Insta instead of one to maintain her grid aesthetic has finally done me in.— Jess Denham (@jess_denham) June 3, 2020
Later in the day, a seemingly chagrined Watson added several more posts decrying racism including a slide featuring the following statement:
“There is so much racism, both in our past and present, that is not acknowledged nor accounted for. White supremacy is one of the systems of hierarchy and dominance, of exploitation and oppression, that is tightly stitched into society. As a white person, I have benefited from this. Whilst we might feel that, as individuals, we’re working hard internally to be anti-racist, we need to work harder externally to actively tackle the structural and institutional racism around us. I’m still learning about the many ways I unconsciously support and uphold a system that is structurally racist. Over the coming days, I’ll be using my bio link and Twitter to share links to resources I’ve found useful for my own researching, learning, listening. I see your anger, sadness and pain. I cannot know what this feels like for you but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to"
Of course, it's all virtue-signaling bunk when you get right down to it. And Hollywood actors will continue to posture and preen for the appropriately "correct" causes as long as it doesn't cramp their party schedule or threaten their next multi-million dollar film deal. But, the backlash is somewhat instructive.
Between the attacks on Watson and media darling Ellen DeGeneres' BLM tweet she was forced to delete (she's not allowed to have an opinion on these things because she's been nice to President George W. Bush, you see) a pattern is emerging. It seems liberal Hollywood types aren't allowed to just give lip-service to the Left's causes and skate by with the same reliable adulation they've gotten in the past.
The radical, activist Left really expects Watson and Degeneres to abandon their privilege and risk their fortunes and reputations for the cause. Expressing your virtue from the safety of your well-coordinated social media account is not going to cut it anymore, they seem to be saying.
And this will pose a real problem for these celebrities who love to make statements in their designer outfits on the stage of the Academy Awards. If they're really supposed to get in the trenches on these things, they might start to really lose their universal appeal with the general audience who don't pay attention to Twitter.
Will they want to risk that? Risk their celebrity? Risk angering wide swaths of the American viewing public? If Americans get angry at them and stop seeing their films or watching their television talk shows, then who's going to pay for all that privilege they don't want to give up?
When they turn on Emma Watson and Ellen DeGeneres, you know things in Hollywood just got serious.