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Lorraine Kelly lashes out on The Last Leg6 min read

Lorraine Kelly has criticised celebrities who have broken Covid-19 rules whilst hosting The Last Leg. Her comments were aimed towards Rita Ora and Kay Burley after they both hosted birthday parties during lockdown.

During guest host duties on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, Lorraine Kelly reprimanded celebrities who have broken official government lockdown rules in a parody of the Queen’s speech: “To all of us who sacrificed so much this year, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2021. Unless, of course, you are a celebrity who broke the rules of lockdown. In that case, you can go f*** yourself.”

The 61-year old host is no stranger to speaking her mind. She does so regularly on her morning ITV talk show, Lorraine, where she has been praised for her comments.

The comment comes after the recent breaking of rules from Sky News presenter Kay Burley and Rita Ora. Burley was seen celebrating her 60th birthday and similarly, Ora was spotted partying to commemorate her own 30th birthday. The pair have both issued apologies about their behaviour with Burley tweeting:

Ora’s birthday news escalated quickly and worsened once it was revealed the singer was supposed to be isolating as she had recently visited Egypt “to perform at a corporate event for a private company”.

Guests at Ora’s birthday party in Notting Hill included the likes of Cara and Poppy Delevingne. In response to her actions, Ora posted an Instagram story apology: “Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK.

“I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk. This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgment. Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.

“I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe. Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.”

Rule makers vs rule breakers

Kelly’s comments on The Last Leg are fairly representative of the mood simmering not only in British society, but in the majority of societies where celebrity culture is prominent. At the beginning of the pandemic, the general public was frequently reminded of the fight and sacrifice we must all make to defeat this virus.

UK’s Prime Minister emphasised this point on 23 March 2020: “In this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted. Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together […] And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”

So, what changed?

At what point did the general public have to strictly obey government guidelines, but public figures could pick and choose which parts they wanted to listen to? Well, perhaps always.

Ora and Burley are examples of a wider issue which is buried under privilege, power, money and a sense of entitlement. What 2020 has taught us is that being a celebrity brings a sense of detachment with reality. Although the apologies from Burley and Ora may be genuine, it feels as they’re more of an apology for getting caught rather than regretting their actions.

Ora did promise to donate the money from her performance in Egypt to charity, but to what extent does this protect the people who may have caught the virus from her party or the staff who were exposed to a high volume of guests?

As for Burley, the Sky presenter has been reiterating the government’s rules since March, so not knowing or understanding the rules is clearly not a defence for her behaviour. It comes down to a complete lack of care and feeling like she’s above the rules.

A global pandemic

British celebrities are not the only culprits, with the Kardashians also being in the headlines. They travelled abroad for Kim Kardashian West’s birthday and later celebrated Kendall Jenner’s birthday, painting social media with their photos and videos.

These actions from celebrities remind working-class people that the unifying message from several governments across the world at the beginning of the year was not applicable to all.

A £10,000 fine is no threat to people with disposable incomes and birthdays seem to make people feel like they are special enough to be exempt from the rules.

However, why have we had to sacrifice big moments in our lives whilst celebrities continue their lives as usual?  Each and every one of us has sacrificed a birthday party, a wedding, a loved one’s funeral, an A-Level exam, a university place or the birth of a new baby – so why are celebrities exempt from this?

However, it would be unfair to paint each celebrity with the same brush. Marcus Rashford has been a pioneer in this pandemic for fighting against child hunger and ensuring children receive free school meals across school holidays or lockdown.

James McAvoy donated £275,000 to a crowd-funding campaign to help source and buy protective equipment for NHS staff. Also, Taylor Swift sent money to fans who were struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.

However, with power comes responsibility, especially in a time of crisis. Indeed, wealthier people in society should make a significant contribution to help lessen people’s hardship.

Gage Skidmore/flickr, James McAvoy, actor, has donated money to help source and distribute PPE for NHS workers.

A very Covid Christmas

Kelly’s comments may shock or cause controversy, but it’s probably kinder than what many others would say.

As Christmas comes closer and the chances of a normal festive season have diminished, it is important to be kind and considerate of one another. We as a society need to lead by example and continue to protect our communities – especially the NHS and our frontline workers.

If we cannot rely on our own government to condemn Dominic Cummings or news presenters to take the news seriously, how can we expect any kind of solidarity or unified response during this pandemic?

Nicolas J Leclercq/Unsplash

We must ignore these actions and be better. For ourselves, our friends, families, our elderly, our vulnerable, for every NHS or frontline worker, and for anybody who has lost a loved one this year. We must hope for a better, happier and healthier 2021.

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