Indonesian netizens call on Insta-celeb Anya Geraldine to speak up against racism, prompting discourse on social justice activism

Screenshot of a tweet by Eva Jaya Putri AKA @peceleve, in which she called out Insta-celeb Anya Geraldine for not using her platform to speak up on current human rights issues.
Screenshot of a tweet by Eva Jaya Putri AKA @peceleve, in which she called out Insta-celeb Anya Geraldine for not using her platform to speak up on current human rights issues.

One of Indonesia’s major internet celebrities is under a not-so-flattering spotlight recently, after netizens called her out for not using her platform to speak up on current human rights issues. The call-out has also prompted a larger discourse on whether famous people should weigh in on every pressing issue or continue posting their selfies as usual.

The whole thing started on Saturday, when Twitter user Eva Jaya Putri AKA @peceleve quote-retweeted selfies posted by Insta-celeb/entrepreneur Anya Geraldine.

“You have such a big platform, why don’t you use that to speak up for once instead of breaking your back for Twitter,” @peceleve, full name Eva Jaya Putri, wrote.

According to Urban Dictionary, “breaking your back” is a slang phrase meaning “when someone is really good at sex and leaves you sore the next day” — though it could be interpreted as posting “thirst traps” or sexy photograph intended for others to express their attraction in this context.

Eva, an Indonesian-Austrian who first rose to fame last year for reportedly dating Indonesian actor Jefri Nichol, currently has over 42 thousand followers on Twitter. It appears that Eva wanted to push Anya to speak to her millions of followers across social media platforms on the Black Lives Matter movement as well as how it relates to the anti-racism movement in Indonesia that is led by Papuan activists in the country. 

At the time of writing, Eva’s tweet, which has been retweeted more than 2,500 times and received over 7,200 likes, has been met with mixed responses from netizens. Not everyone agreed with Eva, for example, who has also been called out since for being silent on ongoing issues in Indonesia, such as the oppression of Papuans and the controversial Omnibus Law. 

“Scrolled through @peceleve’s timeline up until six months ago (not more than that because I didn’t have time for that) I didn’t find any of her tweets or retweets on social or political issues. No talks about the Omnibus Law, the case of Aice factory, the violence in Nduga, the burning of the transwoman, Ravio Patra, COVID-19 handling.”

“You shouldn’t have to push others like this, I understand that you care about humanitarian and current issues. But you can’t force people to do the same thing as you on their social media. She has her own way to spread kindness, you also have your own way to spread kindness. Don’t scold those who don’t speak up on social media.”

Celebrities such as comedian/writer Ernest Prakasa also weighed in on the matter.

“I think we can’t force other people to be critical on social media, no matter how big the influence they have. It’s a career choice, like it or not, we are obligated to respect it.”

Others have also tweeted screenshots of Eva’s recent tweet, in which she pleaded others to mind their own business.

Anya herself has responded to the call-out by retweeting Ernest’s aforementioned tweet, as well as quote-retweeting stand-up comedian Uus, who wrote, “Talking about the living rights of black people but ordering others to form opinions as if others don’t have the right to be silent. You really are shitty, for real.”

“Listen to Bang Uus ya, smart girl,” Anya said, agreeing with Uus’ tweet.

Protests have erupted across the United States, as people took to the streets denouncing police brutality against black people following the senseless murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25. Though the protests have mostly started out peacefully, a huge number of crowds have been met with excessive force by the police, with looting also reported on a number of locations, leading to the arrests of many. 

Floyd, a black American man, was handcuffed and lying face down while Derek Chauvin, a white American police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, killing the former. The incident, filmed by a bystander, ignited the protests across America, and eventually led to the firing of Chauvin and three other officers who were at the scene. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd’s death is the most recent example of police brutality and racism in the US, which drew parallels here in Indonesia to how Papuans have long been victims of racism in the country. 

With celebrities across America and around the world showing their solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement and denouncing racism through social media, some Indonesian netizens appear to be demanding the same from the archipelago’s own celebrities and influencers.

However, bearing in mind that not everyone is as informed on all that is going on in the world, how far should one use their platform to be critical lest they appear unwise? Let us know in the comments.

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