“Fed up that these people aren’t taking a stand”… What is the “Block out” movement?

“Fed up that these people aren’t taking a stand”… What is the “Block out” movement?
“Fed up that these people aren’t taking a stand”… What is the “Block out” movement?

Hundreds and hundreds of fewer subscribers in the blink of an eye. Since this weekend, celebrity and influencer accounts have suffered enormous losses in the face of the “Block out” movement born on American social networks. In France, the phenomenon follows on TikTok where Internet users are calling for the massive blocking of celebrities who are not very involved, particularly on the situation in Palestine or the Congo.

“We are fed up with the fact that these people are not taking a stand so as not to make a wave,” summarizes Margaux Sauvage on her TikTok account, who has decided to block 200 celebrities and brands. “Today what we want on social networks is something much more authentic and above all it is real people who are close to their community and who understand the importance of having a community behind it,” for its part, advocates the Beyond Inès account.

To understand the scale of the movement today, we must return to its genesis. On May 6, on the green and white carpet of the Met Gala, model Haley Kalik dressed in a gigantic crown of flowers matching a floral dress used a viral sound on TikTok, “Let them eat cake” [ « Laissez les manger du gâteau »]. If it is difficult not to see here the historical reference “Let them eat brioche”, which legend attributes to Marie-Antoinette during the French Revolution, the phrase takes on even more weight while at the same time, Thousands of kilometers away, several bombings hit Rafah, a town in the south of Gaza, which has since been evacuated.

Haley Kalik defends herself, but the movement is underway

As soon as the American model’s chaotic exit, on social networks, Internet users called for the “digital guillotine”. “Now is the time to block celebrities who are not using their resources to help those in need. We gave them a platform, it’s time to take it back,” called one of them. And the sentence should begin with…Haley Kalik.

Faced with this digital court, the model deleted the problematic content while justifying having been invited as a hostess and not as a guest to the event deemed elitist. “The choice of this sound had no deeper meaning. I would never have intentionally chosen it to highlight wealth inequality. I’m a normal person.”

Too late, the digital guillotine is already engaged and it is sharp. In the United States, a list of names to attack is shared, modified, extended. Among them, the influencer Kim Kardashian, the actor Dwayne Johnson and the singers Selena Gomez and Lana Del Rey. According to the Hype Auditor site, which measures the influencer’s audience, Kim Kardashian, for example, has lost more than 826,000 subscribers this last month, Dwayne Johnson almost 400,000 and up to a million for Selena Gomez.

In France, other names are circulating such as the influencers Tibo InShape and Léna Situations, the comedian Jamel Debbouze or the host Cyril Hanouna. Brands are also mentioned such as McDonald’s or Coke. The movement having arrived later, its impact is currently not quantifiable in France.

But why block when you can simply unsubscribe? For many followers, the action is more effective in removing content from the Instagram feed with a major drop in account statistics.

“We can no longer close our eyes”

Since the launch of the movement in France, a “Block out 2024” account has even emerged on Instagram and publishes daily personalities considered too shy about their commitment. Activists on social networks also took part in the movement, like Sid, followed by just under 10,000 subscribers.

Taking the example of rapper Macklemore who recently released a song in support of Palestine and whose profits will be donated to UNRWA, Sid wonders about the small number of celebrities who get involved. “We can no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that there are so many possibilities to be a better person and use our privileges wisely,” she emphasizes, speaking to 20 minutes.

But what should we say to a model like Hailey Kalik who says she is not “informed enough” to take a stand? “When an influencer sells a cosmetic product by explaining how revolutionary it is and using very scientific terms, they have often not gone to check if it was true in the pharmacy. That didn’t stop him from selling the product,” says Sid, who insists that she will not ask celebrities to position themselves and say “you have to vote right or left”.

But for her, a videographer like Squeezie, followed by 18 million subscribers on YouTube, has significant leverage. “A tenth of the French population subscribes to him. You can’t help but say with this status, as the European elections approach: “Young people, adults, don’t forget to go and vote”. You can’t have this role as a model and not take on the disadvantages. »

In recent days, some people seem to be reacting, like Léna Situations who published two prize pools in favor of Palestine on these stories. “Opportunism is not humanism or activism,” reacted directly to an Internet user on X. Activist Sid is more nuanced. “We have to put pressure on these people to talk, I agree with that. But once they have spoken, you must not then come and harass them.”

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