Ever since Captain Charles Boycott entered history during the Irish “Land War,” a landlord who evicted his tenants after they demanded a rent reduction, resulting in workers refusing to work his fields, completely isolating him, boycotts have been a form of organized isolation. Throughout history, boycotts have been nonviolent protests, a type of consumer activism meant to change the state of things. They are triggered by the desire of correcting a wrong, which is why they are often short-lasting and attack using moral and ethical force.
Most celebrities are simply too busy to notice the wrongs were are faced with each day throughout the world. But every once in a while, celebrities themselves are involved in scandals, they are offended by certain brands they wear, movies they watch, or unfair trials. That is when they realize that fame involves a great amount of responsibly. Some of them would do anything on their power to fight for what they believe in. In so many cases, it takes someone with influence and public credibility to change things.
Any celebrity’s boycott symbolizes change. It may not come immediately after, but by raising awareness, the doors are finally opened wide for the whole world to see what’s behind them. The following list puts together the 10 biggest celebrity boycotts of all time, from attacks that proved successful, to others that are still ongoing. Some boycott fashion designers due to their unscrupulous approach toward their customers, others are outraged by the unfair sentence of a trial, while others are simply offended by an interview.
10. Danny Glover against Hugo Boss
During the 2010 Oscars, Danny Glover decided to give fashion advice to his fellow celebrity colleagues. That is, he told them what not to wear. In 2010, Hugo Boss fashion house announced that it would close its Ohio branch, letting 400 people go. As a response to this decision, Danny Glover boycotted Hugo Boss at the Oscar Ceremony. He urged celebrities to wear anything but Hugo Boss clothing. The boycott proved successful and, in 2012, Hugo Boss renewed their contract with Ohio.
9. Jim Carrey against Kick Ass 2
It’s one thing when critics give bad reviews to a movie, but when the lead actor himself has a guilty conscience, people begin having second thoughts. Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, celebrity actor Jim Carrey condemned his role in Kick Ass 2.
Jim Carrey posted a bad review of Kick Ass 2 on Twitter, stating that, after the Sandy Hook shooting incident, he realized that movie violence may be the main reason behind violence among children. He publicly apologized for the movie and showed his intentions of not promoting it. However, Jim Carrey was contractually obligated to show up on the red carpet on the movie premier on August 16, 2013.
8. Martin Sheen against Zero Dark Thirty
When it was released in 2012, Zero Dark Thirty, a war movie, made many viewers uncomfortable. Among them were celebrity actors Martin Sheen, Ed Asner, and David Clennon. They claimed that the movie promoted torture as a successful approach in tracking down Osama Bin Laden‘s whereabouts. The three joined hands and boycotted Zero Dark Thirty at the 2013 Oscars. They urged voters to do the same. As a result, Zero Dark Thirty only won one of the five categories it was nominated for.
7. Ryan Murphy against Newsweek
Ryan Murphy, the creator of the famous TV series Glee, decided to boycott Newsweek magazine after they published an article ridiculing gay actors playing straight roles, in which Jonathan Groff was called the “theater queen” of the television show. In response to the article, Ryan Murphy wrote an open letter that referred to the article as “damaging, needlessly cruel and mind-blowingly bigoted.” This was a bad review for the magazine in 2010 . Ryan also encouraged fans not to read Newsweek until the magazine apologizes publicly. Newsweek had no choice but to comply.
6. Kanye West against Louis Vuitton
Kanye West has always declared his disappointment toward the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. But in the autumn of 2013, after the head of Louis Vuitton refused to meet with him to discuss his ideas, Kanye urged everybody in New York to stop buying and wearing Louis Vuitton until after the rapper and the head of the company meet up. Meanwhile, the rapper announced a partnership with Adidas. Kanye’s boycott against Louis Vuitton came after Sharon Osbourne, an animal lover and animal rights activist, was outraged when Louis Vuitton introduced a foxtail handbag, and encouraged her fans to boycott the brand.
5. Pink against Instagram
Outraged by the decision, she decided to boycott Instagram and closed her account. She wasn’t the only celebrity that did not take the news too well. Olivia Wilde stopped posting pictures and Mia Farrow turned their back on Instagram, too. Pink has 12 million followers on Instagram and she said goodbye to them all.
4. Sophia Bush against Urban Outfitters
Abercrombie & Fitch gained notoriety after declaring that they support slim figures and do not produce clothes over size 10. But they are not the only retailer to adopt this approach. In 2010, Sophia Bush was offended by one of Urban Outfitters’ T-shirts that read “Eat Less.” She declared that this was insensitive toward costumers and decided not to shop in any of their stores anymore.
What’s even worse, she encouraged thousands of female supporters to follow her. The boycott resulted in the brand pulling the T-shirt from their stores. However, the dispute lasted well over a few months, as Sophia Bush continued to slam the brand, writing public letters asking them to apologize and change their approach.
3. Jay Z against Cristal
In 2006, Frederic Rouzaud, the managing director of the company producing Cristal, an exclusive champagne brand, declared in an interview that publicity bough on by the rap community was somewhat detrimental to the brand. He claimed this this in a roundabout way, saying “what can we do?”, but it was enough to convince rapper Jay Z to pull out the expensive champagne brand from his 40/40 lounge chain. Jay Z also declared that he will not be drinking it anymore. This was a great loss both for the rapper and the company, as the bottles sold for $450 to $600. Jay Z used his energy and time to promote various alcohol brands such as D’ussé which costs $45 for a 750-ml bottle and a much more expensive alcohol, Ace of Spade champagne. These two stand among the many brands that this king of rap has taken under his wing.
2. Miley Cyrus against Abercrombie & Fitch
In 2005, 24 teenage girls boycotted Abercrombie & Fitch, offended by the retailer’s T-shirts reading “Who needs brains when you have these?” and “ I had a nightmare I was a brunette.” In June 2013, the retailer entered the spotlights once more, as the target of another boycott started by Miley Cyrus after the company’s chef executive declared that they only cater for the slim.
Kirstie Alley, who struggled with weigh loss, banned her two children from shopping or wearing their clothes. Miley Cyrus declared that she will burn all her Abercrombie & Fitch clothes because “they are stinking up my place”. Ellen DeGeneres ridiculed the brand in a commentary titled “Fitch, please”, that counts over 3 million YouTube views. Despite all efforts, the once-bankrupt chain still hasn’t managed to clear its name and is heading down a steep slope as many celebrities continue to join the boycott and to attack the brand.
1. Stevie Wonder against the state of Florida
In July 2013, the sentence for the George Zimmerman trial in Florida finally came out. Zimmerman was acquitted for the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old. Immediately after the verdict was made public, Stevie Wonder decided to boycott the state of Florida. It seems that the musician will not be concerting in Florida anytime soon. He declared that “until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again.”
Other musicians are following his footsteps, such as Madonna, Rhianna, Kanye West, Rod Stewart, Usher , Jay Z, Alicia Keys, and many more. The celebrities are boycotting Florida in the hope of abolishing the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law that let Zimmerman get away with murder. Florida is one of 22 American states that currently allows the use of deadly force in self-defense.
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