Should Gwyneth Paltrow wear a mask, should Ashton Kutcher order pizza? The TV star set up a Zoom call with US Covid chief Anthony Fauci so her celeb friends could protect themselves
Taking the virus to task … Dr Anthony Fauci and Kim Kardashian West. Composite: EPA/AFP/Getty – The Guardian
Name: Kim Kardashian West, public health activist.
Occupation: Being Kim Kardashian West.
Can you enlighten those of us who have no idea what that might entail? I’m not going to play this game with you.
Fine, I know who she is. But I missed her elevation to health activist. When did that happen? At the start of the pandemic, it has been revealed.
What did she do? She convened a high-profile Zoom panel to spread accurate and reliable information about Covid-19.
And where did she get this reliable information? From Dr Anthony Fauci of the White House coronavirus task force.
Really? Yes. Fauci led the Zoom call, answering questions about containing the virus and keeping safe.
I’m very impressed by that. Who else was in this meeting? Gwyneth Paltrow.
Is she a respected immunologist who happens to share a name with the Hollywood actor and wellness crank? No, it’s the same Paltrow.
And who besides her? Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and the rapper 2 Chainz.
But they’re all… celebrities. All in all, about three dozen of them. “It was a whole bunch of movie stars and some sports figures and they wanted to know about what they could do to stay safe, about wearing masks and avoiding crowds,” said Dr Fauci.
So Kim Kardashian convened a private meeting between her famous mates and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases? Yes, and they all found it really helpful, apparently.
I’ll bet. Why did Fauci agree to such a thing? Because they’re celebrities. “Each of them has enormous numbers of followers on their social media accounts,” he said. “I could say to them, for example: ‘It’s important to wear a mask,’ and they get on their accounts and say: ‘Wear a mask,’ and it goes out to an additional couple of million people.”
In the name of public health, I grudgingly accept his logic. Bloom and Perry did indeed advocate mask-wearing shortly after the call, while Fauci convinced Kutcher that it was OK to order a pizza.
Does Kardashian West have any previous experience in providing pandemic support to the rich and famous? Yes. In a post last month, she announced that she had surprised her “closest inner circle” with a birthday trip to a private island “where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time”.
That’s exactly how I pretend things are normal. Many unkind memes followed.
Do say: “Dr Fauci, how do you disinfect a yacht?”
Don’t say: “But if I wear a mask, how will anyone know who I am?”