COVID-19 Exposes Ugly Truth: Rules Don't Apply If You're Famous

In a global pandemic, there's celebrities, and then there's the rest of us.

Let's face it – celebrities are some of the most annoying people on earth right now.

Even Nicole Kidman, our Nicole, has managed to piss everyone off. The actress – who flew into Sydney from the United States earlier this week – dodged Australia's strict quarantine requirements that require travellers from overseas to hunker down in a government-approved hotel for two weeks.

While the government was covering these costs to begin with, travellers are now being told to foot the bill, which would've set Nicole, husband Keith Urban and their kids back around $7k. 

But look, they're not plebs. They're not going to stay in a hotel, alright? That's disgusting. Instead, the fam got permission from the NSW government to kick back in their $6.5 million luxury property in the Southern Highlands. Which sounds totally normal and fair, given that exemptions are only considered "where there are strong medical, health or compassionate grounds".   

Dannii Minogue also swung an exemption a couple of weeks ago. The Queensland government let the singer quarantine at her home on the Gold Coast on her return from the US. Again, fair enough! The woman is on The Masked Singer! She's not some stupid scientist or whatever it is non-celebrities do.

Most of us, meanwhile, are just trying to survive this cursed pandemic with our mental and physical health intact. Many of us are stuck in non-ideal living situations, whether it's a crowded sharehouse, tiny apartment… maybe even the 'rents place. We're unemployed, underemployed, and if we're lucky, working from our scabby coffee tables. Some of us are risking our lives trying to get through this thing.

While the rest of us have shelved our travel plans for the foreseeable future, Prince Harry (is it just Harry now? Haz? Hazza?) and Meghan Markle moved countries back in March, the Kardashians and their Friesian horses have been on several family trips round the US despite a strict 'shelter at home' order in California and YouTubers are throwing massive house parties every other weekend. 

As the pandemic rages on, it's never been more obvious that celebrities live in a completely different world. They're insulated from the pandemic in ways that normal people aren't. 

I mean, it makes sense. In the same way that COVID-19 has exposed inequalities all around the world – it's exposing the grotesque privilege and irrelevance of the super-wealthy; how they're coddled and protected from having to deal with the real impacts of this pandemic.

To paraphrase Amanda Hess in The New York Times – the planet is in crisis, but celebrities are thriving. 

I'll be honest. Before the pandemic, celebrities weren't that annoying to me. I mean yeah, they still floated about on another planet, but I didn't feel personally affronted by it. Their strange lives offered intrigue and escape.

But now is not the time for otherworldliness. If we're 'all in this together', then it's time for celebs to head back to planet earth. 

No exemptions. 

Written by Reena Gupta, a Melbourne-based writer at MTV Australia. Follow her at @purpletank.

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