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Let Celebrities Talk About Politics

Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, addresses the Climate Change Summit, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, addresses the Climate Change Summit, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

AP

Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, addresses the Climate Change Summit, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

AP

AP

Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, addresses the Climate Change Summit, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

By now, you’ve probably heard all about the Pepsi commercial debacle. It was tone-deaf, tacky, and pretty insulting to anyone, regardless of your stance on current events. Kendall Jenner, as the face of the commercial, has found herself at the center of the unfolding drama; some are appalled at her agreeing to shoot on such a watered down, pandering version of recent events, rather than taking a real stand. I’m split down the middle on how I feel about the hate she’s receiving. Pepsi probably threw down quite a bit of cash for her to do that ad, and she’s only 21 years old, so I’m a little sympathetic.

But, on the other hand, I really loved watching the drama and the memes unfold all over social media, and we can all agree that the commercial really WAS pretty stupid for her to agree to. Most of the Kardashians/Jenners are notoriously silent on politics, so it made sense that Kendall agreed to shoot a commercial that is only quasi-political.

Regardless of Kendall herself, the whole fiasco really brings to light the problem the American celebrity is facing, and what it can mean for America. Because of the rise of social media, celebrities are more and more often taking sides on political issues; in my opinion, as they very well should. We’ve all got a right to free speech, and if Chrissy Teigen wants to roast Fox News on Twitter, it’s her right. (By the way, if you’re not already following her, you definitely should be.) But, you can’t help but wonder what it means for the consumer. But when the beliefs they hold make their way into what they’re “selling” itself, that’s when it gets interesting.

I, personally, am all for celebrities getting political, but I know others disagree. In my eyes, it’s a great way to get younger people involved. The United States has had some of the lowest voter turnouts ever in recent years and it’s due in part and it’s due in part because it seems like the younger generations just don’t care.
But celebrities, in their unique position of popularity, can at least spark in interest for people who may have not considered the issues before. For example, Leonardo DiCaprio is notorious for his passion for fighting climate change. While climate change isn’t the most inflammatory of issues, his reach as a celebrity has an undeniable influence on his fans, who may in turn be inspired to further support his movement as they may not have otherwise.

Regardless of your stance on the issues themselves, it’s important to remember that celebrities are entitled to their beliefs, and many are much more willing to take a real stand than Kendall Jenner. But, it’s only when people take a real stand and push for their beliefs that things will change, and that’s something we can all agree on.

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