#Blockout2024: Why are A-list celebrities being blocked on social media?

Digital activism at its best.

Harper's Bazaar India

What would the answer be if we asked you how many celebrities are on your ‘following’ list on Instagram? Ten? Twenty? Maybe more? There is nothing wrong with living vicariously through celebrities as they go on the most lavish holidays, doll up in couture outfits, visit the fine-dine restaurants, and attend prestigious events—basically, their world is our moodboard. Undeniably, they are some of the most influential people of our generation. However, with this kind of following comes (an unsaid) duty and a sense of responsibility to start dialogues and spread awareness about socio-economic issues ailing people around the world. A case in point, the ongoing Israel-Gaza war. 

While there have been instances of a group of members from the entertainment industry coming together to support Gaza—they signed an open letter urging President Biden to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and donned a red pin at the Oscars red carpet this year—there are many A-list celebrities, who are not using their platforms to address the genocide that is currently underway. This has left a lot of netizens extremely agitated. With millions of followers who watch their content religiously, these celebrities have the unique advantage of making a real change in the world, but their turning a blind eye has everyone enraged. 

In protest, they are calling for these celebrities to be blocked and muted on social media platforms such as Instagram, X, and TikTok. This campaign has been termed Blockout 2024 and was triggered by the Met Gala that happened early this month. Let’s look deeper, shall we?

What is Blockout 2024 and why is it happening? 

The Blockout 2024 is an online movement started by netizens around the globe where they boycott numerous A-list celebrities and influencers for maintaining a diplomatic silence about the horrors of the Israel-Gaza war. This campaign calls for these celebrities (and their businesses) to be reported, blocked, or muted on social media. The aim is to impact these celebrities’ and influencers’ earnings from digital advertisements and overall post engagement.    

In a video posted on TikTok by the account called ‘blockout2024’, the user explained this movement’s aim. They said, “When you have millions of followers that look at your content every single day, you have an opportunity to make a very important change in our world. And to actively not do that…and selfishly promote your own products is kind of shallow.


A post shared by Met Gala (@metgalaofficial_)

In another video, they said, “We have full control over the incomes of news outlets, celebrities, and artists. They make money off our hate, they make money off our praise. They do not make money when we block them and forget their names.”

Some of the names rumoured to be blocked are—Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Robert Downey Jr, Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas, Virat Kohli, Justin and Hailey Bieber, Zendaya, and Nicole Kidman among others.  

How is the Met Gala involved?

After the Met Gala, netizens started pointing out how these celebrities strutting up and down the coveted carpet were yet to take a stand about the ongoing war. Not to mention, the Met Gala coincided with the Israeli forces seizing the Rafah Crossing, displacing thousands of Palestinians.  

Another reason the Met Gala received as much backlash as it did was TikTok influencer Haley Kalil’s now-deleted video in which she is lip-syncing the words ‘let them eat cake’ outside the Met Gala. These infamous words are generally attributed to Marie Antoinette (the queen of France during the French Revolution) and have an underlying meaning that the elite are ignorant about the lives of the common citizens. 

After Kalil deleted this tone-deaf video, she posted an apology saying that she wasn’t informed or educated enough about the subject to talk about it. Which, as you can imagine, only made matters worse. 

Is blocking a celebrity a good way of digital protest?  

We know what you’re wondering—does blocking a celebrity with millions of followers make a difference? Isn’t unfollowing them better? You see, people online believe that merely unfollowing these celebrities and influencers is not a good enough method of protest. Social media’s algorithm-based formula will inadvertently show you their content on your explore pages.  


A post shared by Met Gala (@metgalaofficial_)

On the other hand, when numerous people block and report their page, the social media algorithm deprioritizes the content and curbs its reach. This affects the brand deals they bag and the celebrity or influencer’s earnings from social media. 

While these celebrities don’t have the power to stop the war, a statement from them calling for a cease-fire or even just acknowledging the horrors going on will reach millions of people. It will start conversations and raise awareness. It will get people talking about things that matter. Too much to ask?

Feature image credits: Getty 

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