Why Guy Sebastian Backflipped On Supporting A Vax Campaign
There’s been a lot of talk about Guy Sebastian this week.
The singer and coach on The Voice has been trending on Twitter because he doubled down on his decision to distance himself from a campaign promoting Australians to get vaccinated against COVID.
And now people are calling him out for it.
Vax The Nation is a campaign that basically encourages Aussies to get vaccinated so that Australia’s entertainment industry can open back up again.
Australia’s music community has been one of the many industries badly hurt by the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
In fact, the pandemic is estimated to have cost the performing arts around $345 million dollars in financial losses.
Guy Sebastian And The Vax Campaign
Vax The Nation was launched earlier this week by a newly established group called the Live Industry Venues & Entertainment Alliance.
Its website offers direct links to vaccination portals for every state and territory across Australia.
Festival organisers, major Australian record labels, and ticketing agencies are all involved in the campaign, as well as more than 200 acts including big names like Flume, Paul Kelly, Hilltop Hoods, and Amy Shark.
Guy Sebastian was one of those acts too.
A video about Vax The Nation was posted to his Instagram. But just hours later, Sebastian had deleted it.
He later posted a video explaining why he’d taken the campaign video down, and claimed it had been posted to his page without his direct involvement.
“I would never, ever tell people what to do when it comes to their personal health choices. I’m very sensitive of it,” Sebastian said. “So I just want to say, I’m really sorry. It was not a post that communicated with love or compassion, which is what I feel is needed when addressing things like vaccinations”.
People were quick to criticise Sebastian for fence-sitting.
Rapper Urthboy tweeted about the efforts artists are making to encourage people to get vaccinated, and suggested Sebastian was just thinking about his bank balance.
Some artists are expending a huge amount of their cultural capital challenging audiences to get vaxxed. So much respect. And then there's guy sebastian, one of our most successful artists, who sounds like he agrees with the science but is terrified of losing his anti-vax $
— Urthboy (@urthboy) September 6, 2021
And Ray Hadley went head-to-head with Sebastian live on the radio.
“Grow a set, Guy. You’re better than that,” said Hadley.
Other people have called Sebastian out for being a hypocrite in saying that he’d never tell people what to do with their health choices. And pointed out that Sebastian and his wife are both brand ambassadors for a kids vitamin brand.
Sebastian has responded to all of the backlash trying to explain himself.
He replied to Urthboy on Twitter saying that he feels empathy not for anti-vaxxers, but for those “facing extreme pressure on their decisions.”
But some people speaking for the chronically ill community have completely distanced themselves from the singer.
Guy Sebastian using chronically ill/disabled/immuno-compromised people as his excuse for pandering to his anti-vaxx fanbase has me seeing red with fury. speaking for chronically ill community – we don’t want you using us as a factually incorrect shield Guy, fuck off
— chloe sargeant (@chlosarge) September 7, 2021
Sebastian also downplayed any potential role he might have in stemming the tide of vaccine hesitancy, writing that that’s a job for doctors.
But others have pointed out that celebrities with big platforms like Sebastian can use those platforms for good, like trying to stop the spread of vaccine misinformation.
Vax The Nation clarified on social media that it is not a political campaign tied to any government, saying that it just exists so that our friends and family might be able to gather together again, and to get back to the magic of live events.