Culture

Lady Gaga, Kristen Stewart Stans Are Turning Oscar Campaign Toxic

Oscar season is right here — and so is all of its hyper-competitiveness, messiness, and downright pettiness.

The weird tales of Hollywood heavyweights campaigning for the business’s highest honor is nothing new. Remember when disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein was rumored to have run smear campaigns against Best Picture winners A Beautiful Mind and The Hurt Locker? Or when the NAACP ran an odd protest against 10-time Oscar nominee The Color Purple because of “stereotypical” depictions of Black males? Or when nominee-turned-winner Melissa Leo took her own glam ads within the trades to advertise herself for Best Supporting Actress in The Fighter?

But as the decision for range and inclusion has modified the business following #OscarsSoWhite, there’s been a brand new type of pandering that’s gotten off the hinges. Social media and the rise of stan tradition has now made Oscar season extra insufferable, and even worse for these of colour overlaying it. This season’s extremely monitored Best Actress race between Lady Gaga and Kristen Stewart has become a bitter on-line beef amongst each of their followers that’s now taken a clumsy flip into messy racial justice politics.

How do I do know? Because I used to be one of many Black journalists who was just lately focused by obsessed Gaga followers who needed me to know simply how a lot the Oscar-winning musician “is a hero to many in the African-American community.” (Representatives for Gaga and Stewart didn’t reply to requests for remark)

On November fifteenth, I obtained an e mail from a “House of Chromatica” Protonmail account with the topic line “Lady Gaga Smear Campaign.” I additionally obtained the identical e mail later that day, this time on a gaggle e mail with a number of different journalists and the Black publication The Root. Here’s what that e mail mentioned:

Dear Mr. Owens:

Please bear in mind that there are some critics who’re attempting to smear the movie House of Gucci in addition to Lady Gaga’s efficiency, which many say is without doubt one of the finest ever on display. She is broadly anticipated to win an Oscar for her function as Patrizia Reggiani. This is upsetting the racist and homophobic critics.

Please understand that Lady Gaga is a hero to many within the African-American group, particularly after her tune Angel Down turned a rallying anthem for Black Lives Matter. She’s additionally a hero to many within the LGBTQ+ group and is basically identified for mainstreaming the present homosexual rights motion. This is why they hate her. This is why they need to see her destroyed.

These are the identical journalists which are praising Kristen Stewart […] They are white supremacists who don’t need one of many world’s biggest black and homosexual activists to win. Please take this into consideration and assist us expose these deplorable people.  

Sincerely,

Black Lives Matter LGBTQ+

First, it was clear to me that the author of the e-mail wasn’t Black or part of the bigger racial justice scene, provided that there is no such thing as a Black Lives Matter LGBTQ+ group. The motion has been intersectional — it was co-founded by Black queer ladies — from the very starting. Second, there hasn’t been any large smear marketing campaign in opposition to Gaga. With the exception of some critiques about her Italian dialect all through, there hasn’t been anybody eager to see her “destroyed.”

Kristen Stewart on the ‘Spencer’ premiere in October.

Getty Images

What was clear, nevertheless, was that this e mail was truly a smear marketing campaign in opposition to Stewart — the sender included some baseless allegations Rolling Stone selected to depart out — who’s seen by many as an Oscar frontrunner for her dynamic flip as Princess Diana in Spencer. But the tactic of incorporating racism and focusing on a Black journalist with such data to assault Stewart was significantly fascinating. I discovered it fairly disgusting that stans would racially set off Black journalists over a race that revolves round two white ladies in an business that has solely given one Black girl — Halle Barry — the Best Actress Oscar in 92 years of existence. As somebody who has coated the shortage of range and inclusion in Hollywood, it was insulting to now be put in the course of a fan-generated beef between profitable white actresses in an business that may barely give Black and brown entertainers the identical love. Rather than give a paternalistic lecture to me about how Gaga is “one of the world’s greatest black and gay activists,” such followers would have been higher off simply supporting the movie on their very own social media pages.

Just after I thought the drama was over, it continued.

On November 18th, I obtained an e mail from what seemed to be a Stewart fan with the topic line “Your Letterboxd Reviews Are Shameful” and an attachment of that very viral picture of Gaga for V Magazine in a nasty pretend tan that many argue could possibly be considered as Blackface, alongside with a decade-old image of her at a celebration with white males in Blackface:

Hi, Ernest. I hope that is your precise e mail. I’m very dissatisfied at your evaluations of “House of Gucci” and “Spencer.” You are dissing Jennifer Hudson and calling Kristen Stewart racist simply to uplift Lady Gaga? Remember when she participated in that Blackface slave get together? If you don’t, I’m sending you an image. But please, I believed you have been extra goal.  

They have been claiming that I had posted on Letterboxd, a web-based film evaluation website, a nasty score of Spencer and a glowing considered one of House of Gucci. I’ve not seen Spencer or House of Gucci, and subsequently haven’t written any evaluations for the movies. So after I went to Letterboxd and noticed that there was a pretend account that had used my headshot, bio, and title, whereas giving Spencer a low score and House of Gucci the very best — I reported the account and received it taken down.

I haven’t been the one one who’s obtained related emails. Other tradition writers and movie critics have begun to share screenshots of such fan messages which are propping up Gaga and dismissing any criticism of House of Gucci on-line. One can’t assist however discover that these followers don’t understand that movie criticism and evaluations aren’t the identical as voting for a VMA — it’s not voter generated or could be trolled to victory by the very best bidder. This state of affairs has develop into a mini-drama inside the ongoing protection of this heated Oscars race that’s being fueled by raging social media stans who need Gaga to develop into the following Barbra Streisand.

All of this jogs my memory of that messy social-media beef in 2019 between Glenn Close and Gaga fans when the 2 have been each up for Best Actress for his or her performances in The Wife and A Star Is Born, respectively. During that point, the notorious Gaga Blackface picture resurfaced, whereas others additionally got here at Glenn Close for what some thought-about an overrated efficiency that received her the Golden Globe, SAG, and different honors. But then the Academy Awards occurred and neither of them received in a shock feat for actress Olivia Colman in The Favourite.

Perhaps historical past will repeat itself once more if this spherical of annoying, determined, and now racially insensitive type of Oscar campaigning doesn’t cease. Leave Black journalists out of your obsessive techniques. For those that profess that Gaga is an ally for the trigger, there’s certainly no manner she or her followers would truly imagine that is the best way to assist her efforts. Being focused as a Black journalist to focus my consideration on two predominately white-focused movies — in an business that continues to look previous these from my group — is exhausting. Even worse? Experience mentioned trolling from the obsessed followers of two movies I haven’t even watched, and now received’t even rush to go see.

Back to top button