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Actress Michelle Yeoh and other Malaysian public figures are facing backlash for their perceived silence on the conflict in Gaza and their connection to brands associated with Israel. A list called the “Malaysian celebrity and influencers block list” was shared on Facebook, naming around 30 individuals including Yeoh, Anna Jobling, and Neelofa. This movement, known as “Blockout 2024”, encourages social media users to boycott these celebrities by blocking their accounts on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter).

Participants in this movement argue that these celebrities have not spoken out enough against Israel’s actions in Gaza during its war with Hamas. By blocking their accounts, users are preventing themselves from seeing any content produced by these figures, which can impact their views, engagement, and ultimately their income. The number of people interacting with their content is directly tied to how much money they earn.

Michelle Yeoh, who received the Presidential Medal of Honour from US President Joe Biden on May 3, has not publicly commented extensively on the war in Gaza. However, she did speak to the Associated Press on Mar 10, expressing concern about protests calling for a Gaza ceasefire during the Oscars ceremony. The award she received from President Biden is typically given to individuals who have contributed significantly to the security and civilian life of the United States.

The blockout movement is a form of protest against public figures who are seen as being complicit in or supporting Israel’s actions in Gaza. By targeting celebrities and influencers, participants hope to pressure them into speaking out against the conflict. The boycott involves not only blocking the accounts of these individuals but also avoiding any content they produce on social media, such as posts, photos, videos, and collaborations with sponsors.

The decision to include Michelle Yeoh on the block list has sparked conversations about the responsibility of public figures to address social issues and conflicts. While some argue that celebrities should use their platforms to speak out against injustice, others believe that individuals have the right to remain silent on political matters. The blockout movement highlights the power of social media in shaping public opinion and holding public figures accountable for their actions and statements. Ultimately, the impact of this movement on the reputations and livelihoods of those included on the block list remains to be seen.

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