Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez Spark Controversy by Attending Gaza Fundraiser
After a record-breaking year for Taylor Swift, the pop star attended a Gaza fundraiser with celebrity friend Selena Gomez earlier last month. The event was hosted by Ramy Youssef on his tour “Ramy Youssef: More Feelings.” While the comedian traveled to several major cities like D.C. and Philadelphia during the stand-up tour, Swift’s and Gomez’s presence at his Brooklyn show stirred public controversy as tensions continue to rise in the Middle East.
Partway through his tour, Youssef announced on Instagram that “100 percent of the proceeds for the remainder of the ramy youssef: more feelings standup tour will be donated to ANERA providing humanitarian relief to the people of Gaza.” At the end of the post, Youssef included the link to a letter addressed to President Biden asking that he and Congress “call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost.” Youssef was joined by other big-name artists like Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, and Florence Pugh.
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), an “anti-Israel nonprofit” according to the National Post, “provides humanitarian assistance and sustainable development” to people in Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan. Meanwhile, Swift’s anonymous bodyguard, “made the choice to leave the United States to join the IDF reserves as he saw the deadly attacks by Hamas on Israeli citizens.”
“Don’t be on the wrong side of history,” the pop star’s former bodyguard told Israeli journalist Eran Swisa. “Don’t stand on the sidelines and say nothing. … Stand with Israel, stand with humanity.”
Swift fans shared their frustration with the singer for not speaking up about the brutal attack on October 7, especially since her own bodyguard was putting his life on the line for Israeli people. “As an American Swiftie I am disappointed she hasn’t spoken out about this and stand with Israel. Good for him,” one fan commented on Swisa’s TikTok post.
Swift’s decision to attend the Gaza fundraiser appears to be her statement.
Not only did Swift’s presence at the Brooklyn Academy of Music prompt pushback, but Gomez was accused of attending with her friend as a personal PR stunt. While several artists spoke up after the attack, Gomez’s social media stayed relatively quiet. After receiving severe backlash from the media and fans for her silence, Gomez took to her Instagram story on October 30 claiming that she has “been taking a break from social media because my heart breaks to see all of the horror, hate, violence, and terror that’s going on in the world.” She ended her statement with a clarification: “I wish I could change the world. But a post won’t.”
Her response was unsatisfactory to her 429 million Instagram followers, as many called for a unified boycott of her brand, Rare Beauty. The CEO of her company, Scott Friedman, has also been under fire “for his rumored support of Israel.”
The media has accused Gomez of only attending Youssef’s fundraiser to boost her own self-image and repair damages by using her “Person of the Year” best friend to do it.
“Anytime ANYTHING happens w selena guess what? shes out to dinner with taylor!” one X user posted.
Both Swift and Gomez continue to navigate the response from their fan bases after making an appearance at the comedy show. While their profession may be in the entertainment business, it appears that their followers continue to look to them for political validation.