The debate over whether celebrities should use their platforms to address important political issues has reached a boiling point in the wake of the divisive election of Donald Trump. Many stars spoke out against the candidate in the year of campaigning leading up to the election and continue to do so now that he's in office. Taylor Swift is not one of them. The pop star has remained completely silent on politics in the midst of such a contentious election and its aftermath, save for two inoffensive tweets: a photo of herself at the polling booth on Election Day, and a diplomatic message of support for the people marching in the Women's Marches in January (in which she did not participate). And while she's been panned before for her inaction, this latest critique of the singer is perhaps the loudest and clearest we've heard from a fellow celebrity.
In a new interview with Vogue, actress Lola Kirke (sister of Girls star Jemima Kirke) opened up about her staunch belief that public figures have a responsibility to speak up about politics. "I mean, in this fucking day and age, yeah, I do [think that]. For me, it’s really important to elevate voices and causes that don’t get as much attention with whatever attention I get." She added, though, "I totally understand why some people won’t do that; I definitely think that there are certain celebrities who really could offer more help to grassroots movements with their power — and don’t."
When the interviewer suggests those "certain celebrities" are people with a huge platform, Kirke responds, "Yeah, like Taylor fucking Swift, who may as well have voted for Trump, as far as I’m concerned, by not doing anything."
It's interesting to hear Kirke blast Swift, as her sister Jemima co-stars on Girls with Lena Dunham, who has strongly defended Swift's decision to stay quiet — despite Dunham's tendencies to vocalise her political views. "When I was lesser known, I was like, 'Who could not share their opinion?' Then I found out that when you talk about politics, people straight up tweet you the floor plan of your house and say they're coming to your house," she told Rolling Stone in February. "You have to fucking watch it because people are nuts."
Kirke wasn't just targeting Swift specifically, though. The 27-year-old also criticised our distracting celebrity culture in general, explaining how she sees the massive fame of powerful people like Swift as an untapped tool in shining light on political issues. "I think it’s a vapid culture, but we can do something profound with these outlets and platforms. You can imbue everything you’re doing with meaning," she said.
The Mistress America star elaborated on the issues she thinks deserve more attention, including the "pretty insane" upheaval surrounding reproductive rights and the environment. "Basically, human rights at large are in jeopardy, and as somebody that is part of celebrity culture, I would rather not be an agent in detracting from that attention. I would rather not be part of the smokescreen that makes everybody think, 'Eh, it’s fine,' because it’s not fine." Well, I don't think anyone's confused on where Kirke stands.