Met Gala Faces a Third Year of Protests

Anti-Israel agitators gathered near the Met Gala | Image by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Anti-Israel agitators gathered near the Met Gala | Image by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Once a year, the top celebrities arrive at the Met Gala adorned in ostentatiously ornate attire to glide down the red carpet, enveloped by flashing lights of paparazzi taking photos to soon be circulated online by millions.

Many associate the night with A-listers gathering at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to show off their elaborate looks. However, a less glamorous side of the tradition is the string of protests that have aimed to shut it down these past three years.

Monday night, anti-Israel agitators gathered near the Met Gala with the goal of disrupting the event.

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets, trampling down barricades outside of the gala and outnumbering New York Police Department officers who attempted to ward them off.

Protesters, many of whom were students at nearby colleges, held signs reading “No Met Gala While Bombs Drop in Gaza” and “No Celebration Without Liberation” while running through the streets, chanting and playing drums, as reported by The New York Times.

Over two dozen anti-Israel agitators were arrested just one block away from the event, NYPD told The Hollywood Reporter.

With recent anti-Israel demonstrations overtaking college campuses nationwide, many expected protesters to make a statement at the Met Gala. This wasn’t the first year that protesters brought chaos to the New York streets just a few blocks away from the iconic fashion event.

Last year’s Met Gala was memorable for some because Jared Leto showed up in an enormous white catsuit. But others might remember the event for the assemblage of climate activists blocking celebrities’ vehicles from arriving at the venue.

The protesters’ stated cause was the harmful effects that the fashion industry has on the environment. The textile industry alone is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to United Nations Climate Change. It is also behind roughly 20% of clean water pollution worldwide, per the European Parliament.

Climate activists sat in a line in the middle of an intersection, blocking off traffic and holding a banner that read, “The 1% are killing the climate,” per the Los Angeles Times.

Most notably, the agitators temporarily blocked Paris Hilton’s car from arriving at the event as they shouted cries such as “Tax the rich!” At least one protester was arrested at the event.

The 2021 Met Gala didn’t go off without a hitch either. After the 2020 gathering was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grand ball returned in 2021 with the theme “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” a tribute to American fashion.

A large crowd of Black Lives Matter demonstrators rallied outside of the Met, calling for the NYPD to be defunded.

A flyer obtained by Daily Mail read that the protest was organized by an “autonomous group of NYC abolitionists who believe that policing does not protect and serve communities.”

“The NYPD has a total financial allocation of $11 billion per year. This money goes towards racist policing that destroys Black and brown communities while people who are struggling do not get the resources they need,” read the flyer. “CARE, not COPS, is the answer.”

Agitators clashed with NYPD as they chanted, “Fire them all,” climbing telephone poles and jumping barricades put in place to keep civilians off of the street. Multiple arrests were made.

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