It's no secret that nearly everyone is struggling in some way during the coronavirus pandemic. For many people, including celebrities, this hasn't been their finest hour. Take Vicki Gunvalson, for example. The "Real Housewives of Orange County" OG is taking heat after calling for the governor of California to open beauty services in the state amid the pandemic. "Vicki wants to 'WHOOP IT UP' while people are dying. Nice," one critic tweeted. The reality TV star defended herself, responding to several critics, "You think we should stay closed forever?" While she had some supporters, social media largely piled on and disagreed with her — often times with colorful language. "Notice her first concerns were opening hair and nail salons???" one person wrote. "Girl needs to get her priorities straight." Click through to see what other celebrities have had a problematic pandemic.
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On April 21, "Real Housewives of Orange County" star Kelly Dodd issued an apology after calling Covid-19 "God's way of thinning the herd" in a since-deleted Instagram post. "I want to give a public apology. When I wrote this is God's way of thinning the herd, that's not what I meant. What I meant was, do these pandemic's happen because it's God's way? I'm not God. I'm not insensitive," she said from her backyard on her Instagram Story. "I feel bad for all the families who have lost loved ones. And I do think we should all stay home and protect everybody. That's not what I meant, and I want to apologize to anyone who got offended. Ok, I'm sorry." She issued a separate apology calling her comments "so ridiculous and so stupid."
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Florida officials accused "Shark Tank" star Daymond John of trying to price gouge them in a deal that would have sent highly-coveted N95 masks to front-line health care workers.The Miami Herald reports Daymond told officials he had access to the masks and could sell them at $7 each. The masks, which are made by 3M, typically sell for less than $2 each. Desperate for supplies, the state agreed to the deal, but it eventually fell through. "This was not somebody off the street, this was Daymond John," a spokesperson for Florida's Department of Emergency Management said. "He came to me and said, 'I've been in the clothing business. I have connections with factories in China.'" 3M is investigating the situation and others like it. Lawsuits for alleged price gouging and fraud could follow.
Andie MacDowell deleted her Twitter account on April 21 after facing backlash over photos showing her and her daughters sneaking into a closed Los Angeles park amid the pandemic. Social media shredded the actress over the photos, which showed the women crawling under a closed fence. "Apparently rules don't apply to them," one Twitter user said, echoing the sentiment of many fans. Officials said they will not penalize the "Groundhog Day" star.
Ok, ok, we know that Tom Brady signed a $50 million contract with the Tompa… er, Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of the pandemic. Hardly a problem. However, he felt some backlash after he was sighted (but not cited for) working out in a public park in Tampa. (All parks are closed to the public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.) Granted, no one was hurt because of the G.O.A.T.'s outdoor workout, but many felt it was a case of rich people living by a different set of rules.. ie. if the fitness fanatic weren't Tom Brady, a citation seems more likely. Given his contract, Tom could have afforded the ticket.
Josh Brolin was forced to apologize for not respecting social distancing. In mid-April, the "Avengers" star posted a photo to Instagram after a visit with his father, James Brolin, and stepmother Barbra Streisand. The picture has since been deleted. "My father lives next door to us, and we had a plan to go see them and not be near them and that plan was broken and that's our responsibility," he said in a video on April 17. "I think it was irresponsible." He noted the backlash he faced after the photo and agreed with it. "You know, it's hard to be honest sometimes," he said. "It's hard to be honest and say, 'Maybe I screwed up' and I knew that that was in the air, not because of the responses, but the responses brought me back to my own truth and it's humbling as hell, man, because I know there's some people out there that [have] no masks, no gloves, no interest in it." Josh said he's being responsible, noting, "Even if we go overboard and are too protective, at least we're doing it for a reason." He thanked the backlash for "the reset."
Dr. Phil spent days getting viscously roasted on social media and on network TV (we see you, John Oliver) after comparing Covid-19 deaths to auto accidents, pool drownings and smoking-related illnesses, as if those three are highly-contagious like the virus. While on Fox News, the TV doc said, "The fact of the matter is we have 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 from swimming pools and we don't shut the country down for that, and yet we are doing it for this, and the fallout is going to last for years because people's lives are going to be destroyed." Phil later said he "misspoke" when it came to some of his drowning statistics and said he "probably used bad examples" to make his point.
During the pandemic, hand sanitizer is one of the most sought-after items out there. Enter former "Real Housewives of Orange County" stars Heather Dubrow and her husband, Terry. The couple hawked 6-ounce bottles of their self-branded hand sanitizer on home-shopping channel ShopHQ for $28.95. That's nearly $5 an ounce. Within moments the couple was accused of price gouging. Heather defended themselves, saying they've donated thousands to a local food bank. Terry, a plastic surgeon who stars on "Botched," said the product is expensive because the ingredients are hard to find and because it's doctor-grade sanitizer.
Dr. Drew Pinsky was forced to apologize in April after downplaying the severity of the coronavirus for months. Through much of February and March 2020, he went on multiple cable news outlets to call it a "press-induced panic" and equated it to the flu. As the number of cases and death toll increased, Dr. Drew realized he was wrong. "My early comments about equating coronavirus with influenza were wrong. They were incorrect," he said in a social media video. "I was part of a chorus that was saying that, and we were wrong. And I want to apologize for that. I wish I had gotten it right, but I got it wrong."
At least this started as a good deed. Reese Witherspoon's nice gesture was epically botched. In early April, Reese's fashion line, Draper James, announced it was giving 250 dresses away to teachers as a thank you gesture for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.The giveaway was too popular and it overwhelmed the company (not in a good way.) Nearly a million teachers vied for a free dress, meaning only 1 in every 4,000 educators scored a dress. Those who didn't win were given a 25 percent off discount code. Teachers were infuriated and voiced their displeasure on social media. A company spokeswoman for the fashion line said, "We were really overwhelmed. It was way more volume than the company had ever seen. We expected the single digit thousands."
This one is heavy. In April, fans started turning on Michael Buble after they claim he exhibited abusive behavior toward his wife, Luisana, during an Instagram Live video. In the video, the crooner seems to elbow Luisana after she talks over him. After she quickly apologizes, Michael grabs her arm and pulls her in close. Many fans felt that this, too, was an aggressive act. Luisana defended her husband and denied that he was abusive or aggressive in their marriage. "It's incredible how some people are!! While we are in the middle of a pandemic, and living our lives under quarantine, angst, fear, loneliness, and uncertainty of all kinds!" she wrote in Spanish on Instagram on April 13. "I want you all to know that I have no doubts about who my husband is and that I would chose him again a thousand times over!" In a separate video statement, one in which Michael sat next her, she added, "It's very important that we pay attention to these problems that have been mentioned and that I am lucky not to suffer. But it is important to pay attention to be able to help women that are going through it."
Ellen DeGeneres began the quarantine period well, passing the time by posting funny videos of her speaking to celebrities. On April 13, her goodwill was somewhat erased after making a joke about quarantining while broadcasting an "at home" version of her daytime show. "One thing that I've learned from being in quarantine is that people — this is like being in jail, is what it is," she said. "It's mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay." Twitter wasn't having it, pointing to the increasing number of inmates testing positive for Covid-19. Other pointed out that Ellen's "jail" is a 8,188-square-foot mansion in ultra-ritzy Montecito, California, that she paid $27 million for. It sits on 8.24 acres of land. Not a bad place for "lock up."
Bill O'Reilly is no stranger to controversy, and he didn't care that his comments about the coronavirus death toll
might do sound "callous." While on Sean Hannity's radio show, he spoke of the United States making "little steps" amid the pandemic. However, he then added, "Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don't want to sound callous about that." Hannity told his former Fox News colleague to expect criticism for the comment. "Well, I don't care," Bill said.
Dr. Oz went on Fox News on April 16 to advocate for opening the country back up, but his comments weren't exactly the stuff of sympathy … or empathy. The "Dr. Oz Show" star said that reopening schools was "a very appetizing opportunity," saying that it would result in "only 2 to 3 percent" more deaths. It would help the country get its "mojo back." Afterward, as social media shredded him, the celebrity health expert said he "misspoke." "I've realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention," he said on Twitter. "I misspoke." He continued to say he wants children back in school, but only in a safe manner. "We know for many kids, school is a place of security, nutrition and learning that is missing right now," he said. "These are issues that we are all wrestling with. And I will continue looking for solutions to beat this virus." While this was happening, people were continuing to comment on Twitter while using the hashtag #DrOzisadisgrace.
Ah, to be quarantined in a mansion… and ah, to be tone deaf. On April 10, Kendall Jenner joined Justin and Hailey Bieber on Instagram Live to dish on their social distancing. Kendall spoke about how her house, which she reportedly bought for $8.5 million and had renovated, was her "favorite place on the planet." Justin's response: "How blessed are we? A lot of people obviously in this time have a crappy situation. They look at us and obviously we worked hard for where we're at so we can't feel bad for the things that we have but I think us taking that time to acknowledge that there are people who are crippling is important. We send our love and support to them." Fans shredded the trio for their comments, particularly Justin. "i'm sure all the newly unemployed are grateful to know justin bieber thought about them being poor," one Twitter user said. Another said, "Thank god they're 'acknowledging' us. SO GRATEFUL. Suddenly my debts are wiped clear and im no longer unemployed."
At least she tried. In March, as most states were starting stay-at-home orders and recommendations, Gal Gadot attempted to bring people together by enlisting a slew of celebrity friends to sing John Lennon's classic song "Imagine." It was cringeworthy… not to mention that many of the A-list celebrities involved in the karaoke session had escaped to their vacation homes, something that most the country can't relate to. The Internet was not kind to the video and immediately mocked it. One of the sticking points is the song's lyric: "Imagine there's no heaven." That's probably not what people want to hear while the coronavirus death toll skyrockets.
The booze got the best of Martha Stewart while she quarantined in her home. On April 9, the legendary lifestyle guru stumbled across an Instagram video by The Best Little Hen House In Texas. The caption simply spoke about baby chickens growing up fast. Martha replied, "M as me sure you feed and wAter them daily And keep the heat lss as no BK in s as Nd when you can finally come back to nyc who is going to care for them??" Huh? Like, huh? Martha later added, "What a mess I have been drinking." (Granted, many people loved her more for her all-too-relatable drunken faux pas.) On April 14, Martha tried to explain what happened. "Confession: yes I had two glasses of wine with my detainees – a very very good wine – when I composed a voice activated IG response to my friend Douglas Friedman," she tweeted. "Obviously I did not check it!!!"
Gwyneth Paltrow always seems to make news with her often-criticized Goop brand. In mid-March while many were just beginning to understand the gravity of the pandemic, Goop flaunted a fashion ensemble, posting a selfie of the "Iron Man" actress modeling a tan skirt and white sneakers. The price tag on the outfit: $450 for the skirt and $425 sneakers. Fans said the post was tone deaf and irresponsible, particularly considering the global crisis and growing unemployment numbers. Goop quietly removed the post.