Hollywood is joining the fight against Ebola. Celebrities like David Beckham, Whoopi Goldberg, and Forest Whitaker are using their star power to teach fans about the dangers of Ebola, as well as to encourage people to support campaigns against the deadly disease. These celebrity pleas are proving to be effective, as social media campaigns like #CrushEbolaNow and #ShakeOffEbola are becoming hotter and hotter on Facebook and Twitter by the minute. Footloose star Kevin Bacon, who got involved with the dance-inspired #ShakeOffEbola, explained his role in the campaign, and why dance is an integral part of the battle against Ebola.
“It was specifically about trying to raise money for another care facility in Sierra Leone, and it was an idea based on the fact that West Africa has a long history of dance. It’s obviously something we have to take as seriously as possible.”
Most of these celebs are joining the fight through the Ebola Survival Fund, a UNICEF-supported organization that aims to “complement the efforts of the larger-scale programs being implemented by international organizations.” Here are a few stars, including U.K.’s former prime minister Tony Blair, speaking out against the deadly virus.
Most fans found the celebrities’ involvement with the cause a huge step into making anti-Ebola efforts more effective. With stars standing behind to offer support to the cause, awareness of the disease and the ongoing battle against it becomes more widespread across the country. However, not everyone is excited to see Hollywood dipping its toes into the waters.
Some think that the reason U.S.-based celebrities are getting more active with the fight is because Ebola cases have already been spotted within the United States borders. Just a few weeks ago, Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who “brought” Ebola into the U.S., passed away. Health workers who may have directly contacted Duncan are currently being inspected, while one Dallas nurse has already been confirmed to have the disease.
According to Matt Belloni, executive editor of the The Hollywood Reporter, celebrities are a bit too late to the cause.
“I think there was some of the ‘not in my backyard’ feeling going on when this was happening in another country. Now that it’s happening here, people are interested.”
Despite criticism, celebrity PSAs are proving themselves effective in boosting the morale of those brave enough to fight the Ebola war on the battlefield. Idris Elba, who spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative last month, emphasized on the importance of raising awareness in giving support to people who actually have to do the hard, medical work.
“Yes, raising attention is important, but also, on the ground there are people that are working hard at treatment centers, and they lose morale when the cameras get turned away.”
[Image is YouTube screenshot of Ebola Survival Fund video]