Social media footage of star-studded Super Bowl LV events over the weekend almost makes it look like the pandemic is over.
In one instance, 50 Cent, Diplo, DJ Steve Aoki, Migos and Tory Lanez all performed at a series of pre-event concerts, co-sponsored by Barstool Sports and a Miami nightclub, E11EVEN, between Thursday and Saturday. TMZ showed the crowd on the first night, mingling without masks and, of course, the performers didn't always have them either.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 is still very much raging. As of Monday, more than 464,000 people have died of the virus and more than 27 million cases have been diagnosed in the United States alone.
People on social media were quick to comment on the contradiction.
One of them was Rick Kriseman, who happens to be the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, where 50 Cent (real name: Curtis Jackson) also threw a party inside a hangar at the Albert Whitted Airport on Friday.
"This isn't how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl," Kriseman said. "It's not safe or smart. It's stupid." He vowed to investigate the party and said, "it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent."
This isn't how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It's not safe or smart. It's stupid. We're going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent. @TMZhttps://t.co/Vrvg8fTdBB
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) February 6, 2021
The rapper joined Diplo — aka Thomas Pentz — at the WTR Pool and Grill in Tampa on Saturday. TMZ reported that roughly 2,000 people attended the latter, which also caught attention from officials.
A spokesman for the Tampa Police Department said in a statement to TMZ, "Scenes from WTR last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing."
Florida reported 5,737 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, according to the state department of health, including 873 new cases from Tampa Bay.
Reps for Jackson, Aoki and Diplo did not immediately respond to Yahoo Entertainment's request for comment. WTR Pool and Grill also did not respond. An organizer of the Aoki concert at WTR insisted to Tampa, Fla., news station WTVT that COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of the virus, from the taking of temperatures to the administration of rapid tests, were in place.
Lanez was part of a celebrity football game in which several alums from ABC's Bachelor franchise competed — without masks, according to the sponsor's official Instagram account. Peter Weber, Jason Tartick and Blake Horstmann were all spotted. Celebrity Sweat, the organizer of the event, announced on social media that participants were screened for COVID-19 and their temperatures were checked.
People watching from home had plenty to say about the star-studded crowds they saw in photos.
Might be way off, but I feel like a better way to honor health care workers would be to not allow maskless events during the Super Bowl... https://t.co/9JYCJZszbA
— Caroline Allen (@ByCallen) February 8, 2021
This is officially the wildest I’ve ever seen Ybor. EVER. 1:40am. pic.twitter.com/7LTC9NvEfE
— Luis Santana (@LuisSantana) February 7, 2021
All these maskless, high profile celebrities having the time of their life at Super Bowl super spreaders as if 450,000+ people haven’t died from a highly contagious, deadly, AIRBORNE virus and like Florida is some kind of free pass from pandemic reality sickens me. Disgraceful.
— Whitney Meyer (@itswhitneymeyer) February 8, 2021
Imagine being The Bachelor and blocking someone thinking that the video of them partying in Tampa 2 nights ago would just disappear??? #TheBachelor #Bachelor Matt James and Tyler Cameron go away pic.twitter.com/bZ8XLy8Tz5
— princess di stan account (@Steeeeviee) February 8, 2021
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