Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 13, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Screen Are Red Pins Enough? Pro-Palestinian Protests at the Oscars

Are Red Pins Enough? Pro-Palestinian Protests at the Oscars

Katie Matthews addresses the pins celebrities wore to the Oscars in support of a call for ceasefire in Gaza, and questions if it was enough.
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A group of artist and advocates and artists that oppose the Israel- Hamas war, wore red pins to the Oscars last week. This was through the Artists4Ceasefire campaign. Supporters included Mark Ruffalo, Billie Eilish and Ramy Youssef. The pins were symbolic of a call for immediate and permanent ceasefire and to show support for those suffering in Palestine.

In an interview with Variety, Ramy Youssef said ‘to be surrounded by so many artists who are willing to lend their voices, the list is growing. A lot of people are going to be wearing these pins tonight. There’s a lot of talking heads on the news, this is a space for talking hearts.’ 

‘There’s a lot of talking heads on the news, this is a space for talking hearts.’ 

There’s no denying there is a genuine care for the current war in Gaza in this interview. There’s also a certain plasticity to the how celebrities have addressed the war. Support is acceptable because it portrays them in a positive and caring light. This often means their actions lose impact.

Protesters outside of the Oscars held signs including ‘no awards for genocide.’ They shut down traffic outside the theatre, delaying red carpet arrivals. When activism hinders the pace of an event like the Oscars, suddenly celebrities aren’t so worried about making a difference. The striking contrast between the elegance of the Oscar nominees with their tags of support, against those on the streets outside reflects a divide in class too. Those in a position of power often forget they can speak out.

The striking contrast between the elegance of the Oscar nominees with their tags of support, against those on the streets outside reflects a divide in class too.

This feels like a statement in itself, that in a time of hashtag activism, protesting is only acceptable when contained and controllable. It’s a symbol of support, rather than a piece of physical, loud activism. Celebrities will jump on a cause when it suits their personal branding. As soon as it stops them from making it to the red carpet, the deaths in Gaza lose all significance in comparison to an interview with the star of Chicken Shop Dates

So, no, red pins aren’t enough, but they are a start. Celebrities like Ruffalo and Eillish care, that’s clear. My argument is merely that their activism wasn’t loud enough. It didn’t make in onto most news outlets becasue the media was too busy analysing thier clothes. There’s always more opportunity to celebrities to speak up, and when they do, it makes a huge difference.

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