Celebrity and Influencer Boycott Sparks Debate (2024)

Earlier this month, online campaigns arose calling for social media users to block celebrities who have not spoken out about the war in Gaza on their platforms. These calls intensified after several celebrities and influencers attended the Met Gala on May 6—the same day Israel launched an attack on Rafah, the city where many Palestinians fled after the decimation of northern Gaza. On TikTok and Instagram, users called out celebrities and influencers for attending the high-profile event as the war continues—and called on their followers to block stars who they perceive as staying silent on the war.

Called the “Blockout” or “digital guillotine,” the online campaigns took off quickly after an influencer, Haley Kalil, drew backlash after posting a video on May 6 showing off her Met Gala look and lip-syncing to a sound from the 2008 film Marie Antoinette, in which the titular character, played by Kirsten Dunst says, “Let them eat cake." The real-life Antoinette is said to have responded with that phrase after learning peasants in 18th century France were going hungry and had no more bread, though many historians have questioned whether she really said it.

Kalil’s video was criticized immediately, and compared to The Hunger Games. She later apologized and deleted the TikTok, clarifying that she didn’t attend the event and was a pre-Met Gala host for E! News. Kalil also drew ire after saying she doesn’t speak on Gaza because she is “not informed enough to talk about it in a meaningful and educational way.”

In response, the TikTok account @ladyfromtheoutside began a “digital guillotine” or “digitine” movement. “It’s time to block all the celebrities, influencers, and wealthy socialites who are not using their resources to help those in dire need,” she says in her video. “We gave them their platforms. It’s time to take it back, take our views away, our likes, our comments, our money.”

Another account, @Blockout2024, popped up in May and encouraged followers to start blocking celebrities with the aim of disrupting their revenue streams by not engaging with their content. Separate accounts with similar names have also launched on TikTok.

Brooke Erin Duffy, a communications professor at Cornell University, says that a movement like Blockout 2024 shows how large swaths of creators can work in tandem to affect a public figure’s visibility. “While consumer-led boycotts are by no means unprecedented, this latest iteration showcases the power of creators to redistribute—or even weaponize—​platforms' metric systems,” she says.

Read More: As a Potential TikTok Ban Looms, Creators Worry About More Than Just Their Bottom Lines

But just as quickly as it drew praise, the calls to block influencers and celebrities drew criticism, sparking a larger conversation about nuance in online activism. Critics say that just asking people to block celebrities and other highly-followed figures is not a coherent strategy and that it’s becoming a bullying tactic, pulling away focus from the crisis in Gaza.

Creators and celebrities aren't the only subject of discussions of boycotting creative work. Last week, a user on X circulated a color-coded Google Spreadsheet of authors, listing each one’s stance on the war, and who to support and not support. The list inspired similarly divisive reactions, with some accusing the creator of the list of antisemitism and likening it to McCarthyism. Others have acknowledged the well-meaning intention behind the effort, but fear it might have the opposite effect.

why bother putting your effort into actually helping Palestinians when you could just make a spreadsheet of authors who *may* be Zionists that won’t actually help anyone at all

— Rachel ❤️‍🔥 (@icequeensansa) May 10, 2024

“Amid such a profoundly divisive war, it’s no small wonder that celebrities are experiencing backlash for what they have said—or for their conspicuous silence,” Duffy says. “Creators are acutely aware of the impact of visibility—and conversely invisibility—on a person's status and income. Efforts to render a public figure less visible are akin to reputational warfare.”

Blocking campaigns take off on TikTok

@Blockout2024 uploads new videos each day of three celebrities they are blocking and encourages their followers to do the same. They also encourage their followers to share their own personalized blocklists using the hashtag #Blockout2024. Many of these lists include major celebrities like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Zendaya, and more.

Figures with millions of followers “have the opportunity to create important change in our world,” says the person behind the @Blockout2024 account via Instagram DMs, who asked to remain anonymous. They started the Blockout 2024 movement after seeing videos of the Met Gala being compared to The Hunger Games.


#stitch with @SarahF You can also block artists on Spotify as well as news outlets

♬ original sound - blockout2024

“I stitched that video and explained how I block celebrities that aren’t using their platforms for good, so that I’m not contributing to their ad revenue,” they say. “It ended up going viral which showed me that this could really work on a larger scale. So I decided to try and push the movement even further.”


#stitch with @SarahF You can also block artists on Spotify as well as news outlets

♬ original sound - blockout2024

Critics of the Blockout movement have instead amplified work by content creators that draw attention to the war, like Erin Hattamer, a comedian who pivoted her content to focus on helping people in Gaza, and the organizers of Operation Olive Branch.

In a video posted on May 9, Hattamer said she was getting overwhelmed with messages from families asking to support their GoFundMes to help get people out of Gaza and felt she couldn’t do an effective job on her own, so she started the “Pass The Hat” project, where creators with any size follower count can fill out a form and be assigned to amplify a family’s fundraise. Operation Olive Branch is a similar initiative where creators can adopt a family to help fundraise money to help them get out of Gaza.

Why Blockout2024 is drawing criticism

The hashtag #Blockout2024 has been used over 29,000 times on TikTok. As the hashtag becomes more popular, criticism over the movement has grown too. Kate Lindsay, author of the internet culture Substack newsletter Embedded argued in a May 13 post that it calls for a “perfect celebrity activist” that doesn’t actually exist.

“This movement not only fails to effectively target the people it should, but it also discourages and alienates public figures who are doing their small part,” she wrote.


if u wanna argue w me i cant express how little i care abt what you have to say

♬ original sound - Aryel

One TikToker, @Donidarkowitz, said the blocking campaigns are “losing the plot.”

“There are too many people taking glee in finding celebrities to block for innocuous a-s reasons,” she said. You’ll never hear me say that celebrities shouldn’t do more because they have more at their disposal, but this is not that. This moved so far from the original point in record f-cking time.”


@Drew Afualo does not need my help. But after the DOZENS of videos I saw yesterday taking the focus away from what we should be focusing on and seeing her comment section, it needed to be said. REEVALUATE AND FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT. Follow @Erin Hattamer and @Operation Olive Branch and find something PRODUCTIVE to do! #foryou #foryoupage #digitine #celebrity #response

♬ original sound - Taj

Some block lists have included celebrities who have made public statements or gestures on the war in Gaza: Jenna Ortega, who shared support in a statement on X in March; Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, who wore a ceasefire pin to the Academy Awards; and Ariana Grande, who recently signed an open letter urging for a ceasefire.

a 🧵 of celebrities that have shown support towards Palestine 🍉 🇵🇸

(just to spread awareness for those who chose to speak out) pic.twitter.com/s2dDTKDsMx

— AJAX ! 🍉 (@irlreynolds) May 12, 2024

Lizzo, another celebrity who frequently appears on these lists, recently uploaded a video sharing two GoFundMe campaigns for aid to a family in Palestine, a fundraiser for Sudan, and a resource to an organization helping the people of Congo. The comments section, however, called her action “performative."

“Still blocking, 100 days too late to pretend,” one commenter wrote. “Girl you have more than enough money to just give this family what they need," another comment read. "Coulda and shoulda been doing this months ago. We see through your performance."

Read More: TikTok Vows to Fight Its Ban. Here’s How the Battle May Play Out

The creator @BasicallyBetsy2.0 argued in a video that while the cause has good intentions, the conceit needs some work.

“Just because someone doesn’t speak up for a specific cause doesn’t mean they need to be thrown out completely because they could be speaking up for another cause,” Betsy said. “And just because someone isn’t speaking out publicly on their platform doesn’t mean they aren’t actively at protests.”


Alos the fact people are platforming that yt man who hasnt even stated his beliefs clearly is a big issue!!! i have other opinions related to this but lets start here #blockout2024

♬ original sound - Betsy💙

The creator of the @Blockout 2024 account says he agrees with the criticisms of the movement but thinks its message stands. “Overall, this movement is waking people up to the fact that we have the power to make change, which is really important,” they say. “I think that’s one of the most positive outcomes so far.”

Celebrity and Influencer Boycott Sparks Debate (2024)


What is the celebrity boycott 2024? ›

Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian are losing thousands of Instagram followers for their stance – or lack of – on the Israel-Gaza war.

Why are celebrities getting blocked? ›

A TikTok movement is calling for followers to block famous people over their stances on the Israel-Hamas war. It began at the Met Gala.

What is the celebrity ban in Palestine? ›

The Blockout 2024 is an online movement where social media users are carrying out a digital boycott of famous celebrities ranging from Hollywood actors to social media influencers for their silence on Israel's war on Gaza, or in some cases, their purported support for the war.

What is the celebrity block 2024? ›

Blockout 2024 (stylized as the hashtag #Blockout2024), variously referred to as Operation Blockout or Celebrity Block Party, is an online movement to block the social media accounts of celebrities and organizations, related to their silence over or support toward Israel in the war in Gaza.

Why are people blocking celebrities on TikTok? ›

TikTok users cited the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, wealth inequality and the climate crisis as worthy causes that celebrities could be drawing attention to, and began creating and sharing block lists of celebrities perceived to be silent.

What celebrities are losing followers due to Palestine? ›

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Adam Sandler are losing hundreds of thousands of followers on social media—and it could be due to their perceived silence or inaction regarding the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Is blocking celebrities really working? ›

If you simply unfollow a celebrity, the algorithm still might suggest a sponsored post of a brand they work with; blocking prevents such posts from appearing on your feed. The trend seems to be working, at least in terms of drawing attention to itself.

What celebrities have been blocked? ›

Selena Gomez, Zendaya, Drake, Justin Bieber and the Kardashian family are among the many targets. Even longtime fans of stars like Taylor Swift have announced their decisions to block the same celebrities they once followed and admired.

What celebrities are being blocked on Instagram? ›

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.

What music is banned in Israel? ›

Though Wagner died six years before Hitler was even born, he was Hitler's favorite composer and his music was used as a backdrop to a lot of Nazi events. That and Wagner's stated anti-Semitism are the main reasons that Israel has informally banned Wagner's music from its concert stages and radio waves since the 1930s.

Why does Google support Israel? ›

Known as Project Nimbus, the joint contract between Google and Amazon signed in 2021 aims to provide cloud computing infrastructure, artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology services to the Israeli government and its military, which has faced condemnation for its war on Gaza, described by United Nations ...

How many countries is Israel banned from? ›

Countries that do not accept Israeli passports

As of 2023, 28 countries do not recognize Israel's sovereignty. 25 of these are Muslim-majority countries, of which 17 explicitly do not process Israeli passport holders, and a further six of those 17 do not admit entry to non-Israelis with any sort of ties to Israel.

What is a celebrity blackout list? ›

The 'blackout list' is a social media boycott of sorts. Social media users have been pointing out celebrities and calling them out for not taking a stand against the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The 'blackout' is an attempt to force celebrities into taking a stand.

Which celebrities are on the Block list? ›

  • James Charles. -30.2K. Tiktok Instagram.
  • Tyra Banks. +2.8K. Tiktok Instagram.
  • Taylor Swift. -17.8K. Tiktok Instagram.
  • Drew Barrymore. +6.6K. Tiktok Instagram.
  • Khloe Kardashian. -195.0K. Tiktok Instagram.
  • Jeffree Star. -10.2K. Tiktok Instagram.
  • Kylie Jenner. -54.3K. Tiktok Instagram.
  • Doja Cat. -13.3K. Tiktok Instagram.

What is the block celebrities trend? ›

Blockparty, or Blockout, is a movement on TikTok to block celebrities, and in some cases media organizations and other groups, on social media to deny them attention, online engagement, and ad revenue partly in an effort to compel those celebs to speak about what's happening in Gaza.

What is the celebrity block list? ›

Over the past week, online activists have been creating “block lists” of celebrities deemed to be deserving of being blocked or unfollowed, with the aim of hitting their follower counts en-masse.

What is the Blockout2024 movement? ›

The idea is simple: you block notable celebrities who have either not said anything about Gaza or those who have attempted a 'both sides' approach to the issue. Instead of debating what a celebrity has said or hasn't, you remove them from your online ecosystem entirely.

How many followers lost blockout in 2024? ›

According to Blockout2024.org, “celebrities such as Kim Kardashian already lost more than 3 million followers overnight.” The website cites Beyoncé as having lost 186,000 followers, Billie Eilish as having lost 137,000, and Selena Gomez as having lost 164,000, despite Gomez having also signed the ceasefire petition.

What sports are being removed from the Olympics 2024? ›

With breaking, sport climbing, skateboarding, and surfing all earning roster spots in the 2024 Paris Games, their promotion sadly means that multiple sports are getting the boot. Come July, three sports will be absent from the City of Light, including karate, softball and the heavy hitter, baseball.


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