Earlier this week, I posted about Jennifer Aniston’s cover interview for the September 2021 issue of InStyle. As I said at the time, at this point in her career, after all the gossip that’s been written about her for almost 30 years, Jen knows when to give up a soundbite, and when not to. So there’s really no celebrity-style tea that’s being served in this piece. Which is why the pull-quote that’s made the most headlines is what she said about vaccines, specifically anti-vaxxers. Basically she told them to sit down.
And, as you can imagine, they’re trying to come for her.
Before we get into her response though, once again I want to go back to what I have so appreciated about Jennifer Aniston over the last year – which is what I noted back in October 2020, ahead of the US election, about her sharing on Instagram that she was voting for the Biden-Harris ticket, clearly in support of Black Lives Matter and racial equality, reproductive rights, 2SLGBTQ+ rights, action on climate change, and health care. As a longtime favourite of the MiniVan Majority, taking a firm position on these issues, which are HUMAN RIGHTS issues, can alienate the Karens on Facebook. So while, sure, she’s wealthy and powerful and the stakes aren’t necessarily as critical for her now, it’s still important that she, an influential, white cis woman is using her platform to stand up for important causes and, perhaps just as significantly, opening up her platform to the kind of backlash that people of colour and less privileged people experience for doing the same. This is what I meant when I wrote nine months ago that:
“…many BIPOC celebrities, including Amanda Seales, have been [encouraging] their famous white counterparts [to turn] on the comments. Amanda, back in May, posted a video that was directed at Justin Timberlake who had posted in support of Black Lives Matter but who turned off the comments. “It’s time for y’all to see who’s been following you”, she said. Opponents of her message argue that the comments can be so toxic, it’s damaging for our mental health and we shouldn’t force someone to have to be exposed to this kind of trauma. I don’t disagree with this. It doesn’t mean we can’t talk about her argument though – which is that when a white celebrity posts a pro-BLM message but avoids the comments, they don’t have to confront the reality of who some of their followers are and what they believe. They don’t have to check their ratio. And by not engaging with that ratio, they aren’t getting a true appreciation of the harassment and hate that Black celebrities have to face on a minute-by-minute basis.”
Jennifer Aniston is turning on her comments, she’s reading them, she’s taking on that ratio, and in her engagement with them, she’s doing the work of trying to educate them.
“We have to care about more than just ourselves here.”
That’s Jennifer Aniston taking it to her ratio and calling some of her followers selfish. And at a time when she’s supposed to be promoting the second season of The Morning Show on Apple and also a side of the Friends reunion special which is still a big draw for HBO Max. This is how she’s using her capital.
So, if you don’t have pre-existing conditions, GET YOUR SHOTS!