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Blockout 2024: Influencer’s Marie Antoinette video inspires ‘digital guillotine’

An influencer who interviewed Met Gala attendees was the catalyst for Blockout2024.

An influencer who interviewed Met Gala attendees was the catalyst for Blockout2024. Photo: TikTok

Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Kylie Jenner, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce are among the mega celebrities in the crosshairs of a movement to block and de-platform the rich and famous on social media.

The movement, known as #Blockout24, began at the Met Gala earlier in May, when an influencer lip-synced a quote usually attributed to Marie Antoinette and celebrities took to the red carpet while Israel expanded its operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The opulence and elitism of the Met Gala has been critiqued over the years and was once again compared to Suzanne Collins’ dystopian series The Hunger Games, when juxtaposed with the events in Gaza.

Ironically, the series was inspired by Collins’ experience flicking through TV channels and seeing the Iraq War contrasted with various reality shows.

Meanwhile, influencer Haley Kalil, known as Haleyy Baylee on social media, was doing interviews with attendees.

Wearing a floral dress and a matching head piece, she uploaded a video to TikTok of her lip-syncing the phrase “Let them eat cake”.

The audio is from Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film, Marie Antoinette, and the line is commonly attributed to the real-life royal before the French Revolution.

Haleyy Baylee Met Gala 'Let them eat cake'

Source: TikTok/The Slow Factory

The day before the Met Gala, the head of the United Nations World Food Program, Cindy McCain, said that northern Gaza had entered “full-blown famine” after nearly seven months of war.

Kalil said in an apology video the choice of audio didn’t have a deeper meaning, it was simply trending on TikTok.

But at that point, Blockout 2024 was already under way.

Blockout 2024

In another throwback to Marie Antoinette, we are seeing a new kind of guillotine – the digital guillotine.

The idea behind Blockout 2024 is simple: Block celebrities and influencers on social media so they cannot earn ad revenue.

The revelation that everyday people could cut the rich and famous off financially resonated with many on TikTok and people were specifically de-platforming celebrities who have remained silent on Palestine and/or expressed support for Israel.

Displaced Palestinians pack their belongings before leaving an unsafe area in Rafah on May 15,

Tens of thousands of civilians are displaced and now Rafah, is deemed “unsafe”. Photo: Getty

“The point [of the blockout] is they’ve been IGNORING the genocide in Palestine and the tone deaf ‘let them eat cake’ video was the last straw,” one person said on X.

“We’re fed up of supporting [people] with so money and influence who do absolutely nothing with it. We are the reason they’re rich.”

The Kardashians, Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Justin Bieber are among those who have been blocked en masse since the movement started.

Some have been defiant, saying celebrities should not be expected to speak about current issues.

But the blockout has put pressure on others to use their enormous platforms to bring attention to Palestine.

Singer Lizzo, who attended the Met Gala this year, has since made several videos not only about Palestine but also Sudan and the Congo and shared several fundraisers she has donated to.

The fact some celebrities remained silent for months while thousands of people died, were injured or became displaced is not lost on people online.

Many have suggested people with influence are only speaking out now to save face.

Lizzo Gaza Go Fund Me

Source: TikTok/@Lizzo

Operation Olive Branch and Pass the Hat

The Blockout is happening alongside major protests at college and university campuses all over the world, while people are sharing fundraisers for people and families in Gaza.

In her video, Lizzo specifically called out Operation Olive Branch, a grassroots collective amplifying Palestinian voices and helping people find individuals and families to raise money for.

In recent weeks, an initiative started by Erin Hattamer, a comedian with a large following on TikTok called “Pass the Hat” has also taken off.

#PasstheHat project

Source: TikTok/@erinhattamer

People can sign up to “adopt” a Palestinian family to raise money for them.

Hattamer and some of her followers reached out directly to influencers over the past few weeks, trying to get them to use their platforms.

Since the blockout, several influencers have picked up the hat and adopted a family to raise money for.

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