Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and others who attended Monday night’s Met Gala are being roundly criticized on social media for their messages promoting equal rights and representing the working class while the gala’s staff, servers, and non-celebrity attendees appeared to abide by government COVID-19 recommendations that many invitees of the $35,000-per-seat event seemed to ignore.

The Met Gala required invitees to be vaccinated and “The Metropolitan Museum of Art requires all visitors age 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in accordance [with] New York’s mandate requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities amid the pandemic. The same applies to this year’s Met Gala,” USA Today reported. Notably, rap artist Nicki Minaj skipped this year’s event because she refused to abide by the vaccine mandate.

Both the city of New York and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommend masking up, even if individuals are vaccinated, in order to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

New York City’s COVID-19 information portal states that masks are “strongly recommen[ded]” “when you are with people in an indoor setting that is not your home” and “if unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others” elsewhere:

  • People that have no symptoms can still spread COVID-19.
  • A face covering is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
  • A state order requires everyone over age 2 who can medically tolerate a face covering to wear one when outside their home if unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.
  • We strongly recommend wearing a face covering as much as possible when you are with other people in an indoor setting that is not your home, even if 6 feet of distance can be maintained.
  • Continue to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others even when wearing a face covering.
  • The CDC’s portal recommends that “[i]n areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.”

    New York City is clearly marked as an area of high community transmission on the CDC’s own map.

    While Met Gala invitees may have made personal decisions regarding both NYC’s and the CDC’s recommendations (some guests did wear masks), photographs showing invitees who spoke of “taxing the rich” and “equal rights for women” in front of lines of masked staff made for an intriguing tableau, several commenters on social media noted.

    Journalist Glenn Greenwald compared the Met Gala to former President Barack Obama’s celebrity-packed birthday bash.

    Others took guests to task for speaking out about wearing a mask and even making a point of masking in other settings only to ditch the mask at the Met.

    Rep. Maloney, wearing the “Equal Rights for Women” dress, said on Twitter that her gown was a political and a fashion statement, and pointed to what she deemed oppressive behavior “across the country.”

    “Across the country, women’s rights are under attack,” Maloney tweeted. “I have long used fashion as a force 4 change. As the Met Costume Institute reopens w/ their inaugural exhibit celebrating American designers, I am calling 4 the certification of the ERA so women can be equal once and for all.”

    Ocasio-Cortez, already under fire for attending the highly exclusive Gala — “Vogue” legend Anna Wintour hand-selects those who receive an invite — in a dress that had the slogan “Tax the Rich” emblazoned across the back, claimed in an interview to be representing the “working class” at the event.

    “We really started having a conversation about what it means to be a working-class woman of color at the Met,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “We can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall.”

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