COVID-19 was bound to be a frustrating experience, at best, for everyone. There’s just no good way to go about life in the middle of a pandemic, even one that is largely under control.
But the coronavirus crisis isn’t even remotely under control in the United States, and watching people continue to go about life pretending everything is fine, all while exacerbating the spread of the virus throughout the country, has been wretched to observe for those of us who are actually trying to be responsible and stay home, wear masks, and social distance.
As such, photos of people hanging out in groups without adhering to proper pandemic guidelines have become highly scrutinized on social media. A number of these events have demonstrably led to an increase in COVID-19 cases, and people have become more comfortable with calling out friends, acquaintances, and even strangers seen skirting guidelines for a little bit of normalcy.
This was quite possibly the thought process actor Daniel Newman had when he shared a photo of himself with a parade of friends squished together, maskless, for a photo, captioned “Summer fun! (*private island all tested negative multiple times wear a mask*)”
Newman was one of the early high-profile people to come down with COVID-19, and has made a point to repeatedly warn his followers to take precautions to avoid catching or spreading the virus. The double standard shown here didn’t sit well with some folks.
There was also a fair amount of discussion of the privilege one has to have to be able to head out to a private island with a massive group of friends during a pandemic, and, in some people’s opinion, flaunt that ability while still making a point to tell others to stay home to keep their loved ones’ safe—particularly when that privilege looks pretty white.
There were also questions as to whether or not the “private island” part of Newman’s claim had any legitimacy, or if he was just saying that to not catch flack for flouting safety guidelines.
But the most pervasive response to Newman’s now-deleted tweet has been to turn the whole thing into a meme, sharing recognizable photos from movies and TV shows—often ones where things have gone terribly, terribly wrong—with the same glib caption.
If there is one thing this pandemic has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, it’s that rich people truly are not in the same boat as the rest of us. But maybe they could at least learn to keep that to themselves until we’re safely able to leave our shoebox apartments and hang out with our friends again.
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