Politics at the Met Gala

Anna Hoffmann, Writer

The Met Gala is the epitome of opulence, indulgence, and frill.  A singular table checks out at six figures. One ticket for entry is $35,000.  Of course, It wouldn’t be the event that it is without the accessories and costumes. For example, Jared Leto’s head replica, carried around like Yorick’s skull in Hamlet, was about $11,386. Perhaps, this influenced the shock people had when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, revealed the back of her pearl white dress: the leftist phrase, “Tax the Rich,” splashed across the back in a cherry red. 

AOC at the Met Gala in her “Tax the Rich” dress.

Attendees of the Met Gala were celebrities, billionaires, influencers, and politicians. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were in attendance at the most recent Met Gala. Because the political attendees did not pay for their clothing or tickets and the Met Gala is a charity event, these politicians, technically, did not violate any ethical codes according to the New York City code and the house of Representatives rules. It can be argued that AOC made a positive impact, Google analytics show that Goggle searches for the phrase, “Tax the Rich” has significantly increased. It can also be argued that by attending the Met Gala, an event exclusively attended by wealthy people, AOC may have ruffled the feathers of the upper classes. AOC explained that she wanted to include “all classes” in the taxation conversation. Lastly, “Taxing the Rich” is something that AOC consistently advocates for in congress. Her dress properly reflected that. 

However, the argument that it is inappropriate for politicians to attend events such as the Met Gala can be made. It is a cultural event attended by, first and foremost, celebrities and billionaires. The Met Gala was not AOC’s debut in celebrity culture. In late August of 2020, AOC collaborated with Vogue in a beauty tutorial video presenting over three million people with a “Guide to Her Signature Red Lip.” Should constituents be able to group policymakers with celebrities and billionaires? Politicians propose, support, and create laws. Politicians serve their constituents. Politicians run our country. But what happens when they blur the lines between the worlds of politics and celebrity culture?