On Wednesday night, Twenty One Pilots frontman Tyler Joseph tweeted about how it felt good to dust off his “platforms.” The statement itself looked like a response to his fans who have asked him to speak up on the Black Lives Matter movement—and social justice issues in general.
However, what Joseph said did not sit well with some; the tweet made it seem like the singer was supposedly mocking those who were asking for help.
A few hours after the initial tweet came out, Joseph hopped on Twitter again. Instead of directly responding to the criticisms made towards his tweet, he talked about a cause known to be near and dear to his heart: mental health. He stated that “it’s something that can sneak up on you, then eventually you check in on it and realize it’s in really bad shape.”
In his following tweets, Joseph also stated that he respects those who are fighting for different causes right now, and that we never know what someone else is going through.
The singer explained that he used this moment to “double down” on his platforms tweet, calling the moment “fantastic.” However, many still wanted him to touch on his original tweet, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Tyler Joseph’s Apology
Following his tweets on mental health awareness, Joseph returned to Twitter with an apology to anyone he may have offended.
“my tweet wasn’t suppose to be about human rights. so in case you are wondering where i stand: Black Lives Matter. i just wanted to take a moment to raise awareness about something else that has meant a lot to me for a long time. but now I see there is no room for that right now.”
In addition, he attached a link with resources on ways others can help, and said he was truly sorry if his words hurt anyone.
Celebrities and Social Justice Issues: Should They Speak Up?
The criticisms and backlash Tyler Joseph received posed an interesting question: do celebrities need or have to speak out when it comes to social justice issues?
Some Say Yes
Twitter user @blvvmlater pointed out that with the kind of following that Joseph has with Twenty One Pilots, “it’s his DUTY as a public figure to speak up and advocate for social issues like this.”
Additionally, they stated that by celebrities staying silent, it shows ignorance and proves how privileged they are.
User @adhdadora also explained that “a celebrity making one tweet can be more impactful than entire threads by non-verified people with 5000 or less followers, so why shouldn’t we expect action from the people who stand more of a chance at making a difference?”
Others Say No
Twitter user @justoneofmcs stated that “saying that he has NEVER, not even once, talked about it is not accurate” and he may have done something in regards to the movement in private.
Furthermore, @cheeto_man1 believes that there is hypocrisy behind the way some feel about Joseph not speaking up in regards to “bullying” an idol into speaking; they also stated that silence means an infinite amount of things, not just compliance.
If you search the topic on Twitter, the debate goes on and on, but I understand both sides of the argument.
Celebrities and famous individuals serve as role models, whether it’s for young children, teenagers or adults; it is a normal feeling to want them to speak up on what is going on in the world. On the other hand, if they have not said anything immediately, does that mean they will not act upon it at all?
With all that said, I do believe that celebrities are more capable of using their large platforms for good and to make change because of how many people they are able to reach.
What do you think?