Celebrities and Companies Alike Respond to Trump’s Policies
by Ege Yalcindag on Friday, February 10th, 2017
On January 27, 2017 — the 7th day of President Donald Trump’s presidency — Trump signed an executive order banning refugees and all travelers from seven prominently Muslim countries from entering the US. The order, intending to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists,” has incited outrage and horror across the country, causing many celebrities and domestic companies to respond to the ban through social media.
According to an article in Business Insider, Hollywood felt the impact of the ban personally when the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose movie The Salesman is nominated for the best foreign film Oscar, announced that he would not be able to attend the award ceremony with the ban in place. Meanwhile, social media erupted with celebrities’ tweets and speeches slamming Trump and the ban, apologizing to Muslim friends, sharing immigrant stories, spreading word about protests, and asking followers to support the American Civil Liberties Union. Rihanna called the news of the order “devastating,” lamenting that “America is being ruined right before our eyes!” Ashley Tisdale quoted lyrics from the Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love”: “But if you only have love for your own race, then you only leave space to discriminate. And to discriminate only generates hate.” Ellen Degeneres tweeted, “For me, America is great because of all the people who came here. Not in spite of them. #NoBan.” George Takei, known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, pointed out a revealing trend, “The 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt & [United Arab Emirates] – not the 7 nations in the immigration ban. These all do have Trump properties though.” Others, such as Alyssa Milano, shared photos with Muslim friends with the hashtag #RefugeesWelcome.
Soon after Trump’s signing of the ban, major US companies got involved, and the country’s reactions were divided as ever. Another article from the Business Insider reported that the Starbucks CEO vowed to hire 10,000 refugees over a period of five years, sparking an outcry among many pro-Trump twitter accounts who in turn promised to #BoycottStarbucks. One person asked, “Why don’t you hire the vets instead of refugees who might really ruin your business? #BoycottStarbucks,” despite Starbucks’ establishing a similar program for veterans in 2013. Others responded to #BoycottStarbucks with #DrinkStarbucks, saying “When you’re [tweeting] #BoycottStarbucks & supporting #MuslimBan remember that the inventor of your phone is a son of a refugee #DrinkStarbucks.”
In a similar motion to Starbucks’ hiring refugees, the CEO of Airbnb offered free housing to anyone impacted by the ban, including refugees and detainees. A CNN article revealed that when Uber services seemingly took advantage of the NYTWA’s (New York Taxi Workers Alliance) strike to protest the ban, thousands of users deleted the app, promising to never use it again. In an effort to make amends, the Uber CEO offered financial compensation and legal support for drivers affected by the ban and outwardly criticized the ban, calling it “unjust.” Kellogg, the company producing Eggo waffles and popular cereals such as Fruit Loops, decided to pull ads from The Official Breitbart Store, saying, according to an article on Fortune, “the far-right news site’s values conflict with its own.” In New York City, the Museum of Modern Art has reinstalled work by artists from Muslim nations in several exhibits to protest the ban.
According to The New York Times, Trump’s chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, told the media in an interview to “keep its mouth shut.” Based on the protests and promises that covered the nation’s news channels, it doesn’t look like media will comply with that suggestion anytime soon.
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