Photo by: Dennis Van Tine / STAR MAX / IPx 2021 5/11/21 Gal Gadot says Joss Whedon threatened her career … [+]
Dennis Van Tine / STAR MAX / IPx
Gal Gadot, dubbed “Israel’s Greatest Superstar” and “Israel’s Most Successful Actress”, rose to fame after being crowned Miss Israel in 2004. She later starred in the Fast & Furious franchise before taking on the role of superhero Wonder Women in the DC Extended Universe film series.
Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018. She recently spoke about violence against women, describing it as “a terrible epidemic that must be eradicated”. Gadot has also delved into her allegedly abusive relationship with Hollywood director Josh Whedon, who, according to the actress, “threatened her career.”
However, on Wednesday, Gadot was trending on social media, not because of anything she said on the subject or recent film roles. Rather, Gadot’s comments on Twitter about violence in Jerusalem sparked a violent backlash.
It started Wednesday morning when she posted a message from her personal account (@GalGadot) calling for an end to the violence.
Instead, a firestorm developed.
The response to the tweet was quick and without an hour there were more than 41,000 replies – many were quite hostile, calling for Gadot to be replaced in the next Wonder Woman film, while also being referred to as a “Zionist”.
Other responses attempted to draw attention to Gadot’s service with the Israel Defense Force (IDF) from 2005 to 2007.
“Remembrance Gal Gadot spent two years with the IDF, where she not only witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Palestine first hand, but also actively supported it. How can you work to stop the vicious cycle of terror when you are on the front lines and Enable #FreePalestine? “Wrote user @thetaeprint.
National military service is mandatory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18, including most Israeli women – facts some of Gadot’s critics have failed to address.
Still others attacked them for only mentioning Israel in their tweet and not addressing the Palestinians who had been killed in recent days.
Not all of the answers were against the actress, however, and it is clear that she remains very popular in Israel and abroad. The Twitter account Israel War Room (@IsraelWarRoom) praised her words: “Gal Gadot speaks for all of us who want peace, not war. #IsraelUnderAttack”
Social media meets an opinion
Gadot is unlikely to expect such a loud response, but this is hardly the first time a celebrity has attempted to make a comment that should probably be considered comforting only to blow it up instead.
“Social media gives everyone a quick and easy way to share their opinion – including celebrities,” said futurist and brand strategist Scott Steinberg.
“Since social media is what it is, any divided opinion can be refuted and criticized. Many prominent comments – especially from high profile figures like Gadot – quickly become a lightning rod for controversy,” added Steinberg. “In this case, she’s decided to weigh up the issue, which is clearly a hot-button issue. By default, others have quickly tuned in, criticized, and pushed her and others’ buttons.”
Celebrities, especially those with such huge followers, have a voice that is reinforced simply by the responses even on social media. In that case, Gadot’s post might not even have drawn as much attention if it hadn’t been for the response. The irony is that those who disagreed with it might actually have helped spread the message further than if they had simply ignored it.
In that regard, social media could reinforce an opinion – like Gadot’s comments on violence – more than others because of its celebrity status.
Should celebrities deliberate on serious matters?
The other half of this question is whether Gadot, or really a celebrity, is actually an authority on these debates.
“Any time a celebrity deals with a trending topic, it can generate immense public attention or outcry and potentially create much-needed awareness about a topic,” Steinberg said.
While it draws attention to a subject, its opinion may not be the most thought-out, Steinberg suggested. “The question that we also have to ask ourselves when celebrities weigh themselves down is: How informed is their opinion, how many thoughts have been put into the mail and how can they influence the conversation constructively?”