Amitabh Bachchan can learn a thing or two from Jurgen Klopp on responsible celebrity behaviour.
Contrast actor Amitabh Bachchan’s ill-informed tweet (now deleted) on flies spreading SARS CoV-2 with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s reply to a reporter asking for his take on the coronavirus pandemic. Bachchan may plead the noblest intentions—in a country that still sees a high level of sanitation-related diseases, efforts to encourage hygiene and cleanliness, even voluntary ones by celebrities, can never be enough.
But, if it comes wrapped in misinformation in the midst of a crisis, it can prove completely counterproductive. Health ministry officials had to rush to clear up the resulting mess. But, why talk of Bachchan alone when a prominent ruling-party leader confidently opines that SARS CoV 2 wouldn’t be able to affect India because it was “home to 33 crore gods and goddesses”? Klopp, on the other hand, chastened the reporter with “I don’t understand how on a very serious thing, opinion of a football manager is important…It’s not about what famous people say.”
Celebrities do serve an important role in amplifying messages of public interest and social good. But, they have to be conscious of what to lend their voice to, especially at a time when ill-considered opinions/‘fact’ relays can prove dangerous. Not only that, they should be aware that their public behaviour sets the example for the masses—Yogi Adityanath particpating in a religious function where social distancing was not observed after the lockdown call comes to mind. With great visibility, comes great responsibility.