Social media users across platforms have created a digital movement to block celebrities who have been silent on social issues, including the Israel-Gaza war.

Operation blockout, also known as the “digital guillotine”, has gained momentum in the past week, after the Met Gala took place in New York City with a host of A-list names in attendance.

The abundance seen on the red carpet has been highlighted by many social media users, comparing it to the devastation in Gaza, particularly in light of the military offensive on Rafah, which began on Monday.

“There’s a massive #Blockout2024 taking place where we block every celebrity that hasn’t spoken up about Palestine or called for a ceasefire. It’s a global movement,” Bahraini poet Karim Wafa-Al Hussaini wrote on X.

“They live off of our attention. If they don’t have any, they cease to exert their influence.”

Using the hashtags #celebrityblocklist, #letthemeatcake and #blockout, online users are listing the names of celebrities who attended the Met Gala, or have a large following and cultural influence, who haven’t spoken out about the events in Gaza, suggesting that they should be blocked online, which will have an impact on their digital influence and revenue.

“I made a Google Doc of every celebrity that attended the Met Gala, and now I’m going through and writing if they’ve been silent, or if they’ve been using their platform to speak up about the genocide in Gaza,” said anonymous TikTok user @silentcelebs8 in a video, which showed a long list of celebrity names.

Some of the celebrities names have the word “silent” next to them written in red.

“Some of these celebrities have not been completely silent,” the user added. “Zendaya did make a post back in October on her story supporting Palestine, but has been silent since. So I went ahead and put ‘silent’.”

Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and Beyonce are also among those who have been mentioned by the movement by various users.

The rational behind blocking celebrities on social media platforms is to affect their influence online and by extension their reach and advertising revenue. The online movement also aims to create more awareness on the topic and to push for more pressure on global action for a ceasefire.

As reported by NPR, a number of celebrities have lost followers since the start of the online movement. Swift has lost about 300,000 followers on TikTok in the past week and 50,000 on Instagram; at the time of writing she has 33.3 million and 283 million followers on the two accounts, respectively.

TikTok influencer Haley Kalil is also under fire, accused of tone-deaf behaviour. Kalil was hired by E! News as a pre-gala host, interviewing celebrities ahead of the event. In a video posted to, and since deleted from, her TikTok, Kalil is seen outside of the Met Gala, dressed in an intricate gown and lip syncing the words, “Let them eat cake.”

The expression is attributed to Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France before the French Revolution. Although it’s not documented that she used the phrase, it’s something she allegedly said in response to being told that peasants had no bread to eat.

The online backlash prompted Kalil to apologise for her choice of sound clip and for not doing her “due diligence”.

She says she chose the audio because it was currently trending, with no “deeper meaning”, saying: “I never would’ve chosen a sound on purpose to highlight wealth disparity or elitism. I never even thought it would be taken in that way because I wasn’t elite enough to even be invited to the Met Gala.”

Updated: May 12, 2024, 11:02 AM

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