It’s been a few days since the tragic bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, and people (obviously) can’t stop talking about. Since it happened, 22 people have been confirmed dead, and many more are injured. Although some of the deaths were parents waiting for their kids, many of them were also children and young people, some who were attending their very first concert. The whole event has been devastating and heart-wrenching, even for those of us who weren’t there. People have been talking about the victims, how to help families and those who are injured, and their thoughts on terrorism. Unfortunately, some people are also taking the time to criticize Ariana for how she responded to the bombing, and it’s really upsetting to see.
Right after the bombing happened, sympathy for Ariana (and of course everyone else at the concert) poured in. But this sympathy quickly turned to harsh criticism and comments from some people online. A time like this is a reminder of how social media can be both a blessing and a curse – it helped bring some missing people together, but it’s also a platform for anyone to voice their ignorant opinions on how Ariana should be acting. A lot of these people believe that she’s not doing enough, or maybe worse, that she’s undeserving of the sympathy she’s been receiving.
What has Ariana done since the bombing? After a short silence, she tweeted this heartbreaking message:
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
Shortly afterwards, she announced that she would be suspending her world tour from that point forward. Her team tweeted out this message:
— Team Ariana (@TeamAriana) May 24, 2017
And although Ari hasn’t made any other public statements, sources close to her have discussed how she’s been. One source told People that her main focus is how she can help the victims, and there have been reports that she offered to pay for the funerals of victims, although that has not been confirmed by her or her team.
This response so far is, in my opinion, hitting the right mark. Let’s not forget that Ariana was a part of this tragedy also. She was there, she saw things, no matter how much she might have been protected. Ariana (wrongly) feels the weight of responsibility that young fans of her died seeing her perform. She is a pop star who is very dedicated to her fans, and I’m sure this has been an incredibly traumatic, devastating experience for her. I don’t blame her for not speaking more, staying out of the public eye, and taking a step back. Unfortunately, others are – for some people, she hasn’t done enough. One Twitter user proclaimed that Ariana should be visiting her victims in the hospital:
The lack of empathy in this tweet caused an uproar with Ari fans, many of whom confronted this Twitter user for her comments, which she continues to stand by. And as bad as that is, it almost doesn’t compare to what far right conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos said on his Facebook page when he criticized Ariana for being “pro-Isam” just hours after the attack.
In fact, a lot of conservatives or those with far right views are attacking Ariana – not just for her response, but also because of her past. They seem to be infuriated that Ariana is one of the celebrities who has been open about her pro-open boarders stance, as well as her comment from years ago where she said she “hates America” after the infamous donut-licking incident. So infuriated, in fact, that they can’t put aside the difference in opinion to feel even the slightest bit of empathy for someone who just suffered through anyone’s worst nightmare. It’s as if saying anything negative about America justifies an attack like this one. Just look at this graphic I saw on my own Facebook Newsfeed, posted by someone I went to high school with:
Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on Ariana Grande, but can we at least agree that statements like these are going a little too far? Ariana isn’t responsible for getting her victims through this tragedy – she is also a victim, even if she is a privileged celebrity. On top of that, you have no idea what she’s been doing on her own time that hasn’t been publicized. Calling Ariana names and bashing her because her political opinion is different than yours is ignorant and unfair, and shows a total lack of empathy that is honestly disgusting.
It’s a shame that after something like this, people can’t come together in a better way, although the only good thing I can say is that these Internet trolls are not in the majority. This is one of those times where you might want to bite your tongue and think about the bigger picture – no one deserves this, not even someone you dislike.
What do you think about the criticism directed at Ariana? Do you think she should be doing more? Share in the comments.